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Night of the Lepus (1972) Movie Review

I Wrote my First Movie Review While Giving Birth to a Camera. It has followed me ever since. Please don't mind the Mess.

Bed bunnies attack!!!

Bed bunnies attack!!!

MPAA Rating

PG

Running Time

88 minutes

Director

William F. Claxton

Writers

Don Holliday (screenplay), Gene R. Kearney (screenplay), Russell Braddon (novel)

“Oh, yes, it's Lepus Night
And the feeling's right
Oh, yes, it's Lepus Night
Oh, what a night (oh, what a night)”

My hands are shaking as I write this review. I am sitting in a puddle of my own urine as I have just witnessed frights few others will ever experience. Night of the Lepus is, by far, the best killer bunny movie I have ever seen. You think you know terror.

Jon Snow, you know nothing.

I suggest you eat nothing before you see this movie, because it will not last in your tummy.

I suggest you drink nothing, because it will also not last in your tummy and you will never ever want to drink any liquids again.

I suggest you put your children to bed, kiss them goodnight, and assure them that everything will be alright. But after seeing this movie, you know it’s all just lies.

If you happen to have bunnies as pets, then keep a wary eye on them. Just in case.

Synopsis

Night of the Lepus hearkens back to a time when movies showed their entire credits before the story began. So while the 45 minutes of opening credits ran, I was watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on another monitor.

The movie (finally) opens with a rather ominous “news bulletin” showing how hordes of bunnies have overrun the Australian Outback. They use “color films” to illustrate rabbits smashing through fences, taking over rural areas, being a bane to farmers everywhere. These rabbits are breeding like rabbits.

This is not an isolated incident. This could happen anywhere with dire consequences to the environment. The viewers have been warned.

Since it’s the 70s, it also looks like the planet was overrun by polyester. Be careful not to stand near any open flames.

The movie opens again with local farmer Cole Hillman (Rory Calhoun) having to put his horse down in the middle of one of his fields. He notices there are many holes in the ground where they shouldn’t be. He knows it’s bunnies that are doing this. Lots and lots of cute little bunnies. But they’re not so cute when they’ve taken all your crops, use your Netflix account, have unprotected relations with your spouse and are generally an overall pest.

The other farmers around the area want to use mass amounts of cyanide to poison the farms. Cole know this will also kill everything other living thing in the area. Thanos would be sad because this is not balanced.

Cole surmises he has about 6-8 weeks before the other farmers will use the cyanide. He thinks there’s another way. He calls his friend Elgin (Star Trek’s Bones, Deforest Kelley – “Dammit Cole. I’m a doctor, not a bunny wrangler!”). Elgin might know some people that can help.

Elgin calls Roy and Gerry Bennett (Stuart Whitman and Janet Leigh). They specialize in getting rid of pests without harming the environment. That seems like a profession you’d only find in the movies. They also have a precocious young daughter named Amanda (Melanie Fullerton). Amanda’s so spunky you just want to throw her off a moving train.

The Bennett clan has been called in to bust some bunnies.

Roy and Gerry meet with some scientists and they have an idea. We’re inclined to think this idea will work because one of the scientists is in a wheelchair. Wheelchair scientists always come up with the best ideas.

See, this doctor's in a wheelchair and I think I had curtains that match Janet Leigh's top,

See, this doctor's in a wheelchair and I think I had curtains that match Janet Leigh's top,

The Bennett’s plan to inject a portion of the bunny population with hormones to interrupt their breeding cycle. This will stop the uptick in bunny breeding long enough to eradicate the remaining numbers. This is a great plan and nothing will go wrong.

Wait. This would have been a great plan and nothing would have gone wrong if Amanda hadn’t been attached with one of the cute white bunnies and switched it with one of the control subject bunnies.

Amanda is a terrible child.

It also wouldn’t have been so bad if Amanda hadn’t lost her bunny so that it got mixed with the bunny populace. Oh well, I’m sure it’s fine and everything is under control.

The next morning, a minor miner is killed in a, um, mine. A family is mutilated beyond belief. How badly were they mutilated? I couldn’t believe how mutilated they were.

The cause of death: Giant Killer Bunnies.

This is going to be a long night.

Again, Amanda is a terrible child.

What Works With Night of the Lepus

  • Bunnies on parade with a body count. When the bunnies are shown, I don’t think it’s too much of a surprise that the special effects are not really up to par as there are times when it looks like the same five bunnies are being shot in slow motion. When there’s supposed to be gore it looks like someone put red paint on a stuffed bunny. It’s part of the movie’s charm that it doesn’t take away from your enjoyment of watching it.
  • For a movie about killer bunnies running rampant, the acting is quite believable. Every actor admirably plays it straight and there’s no winking to the audience.

What Doesn't Work With Night of the Lepus

  • I’m sure she was a great kid, but Melanie Fullerton’s performance as Amanda is grating and annoying. As I watched Lepus, I was hoping against hope that Amanda get pummeled, eaten, or eviscerated by a bunny. It’s not her fault the script gives her nothing to do but be in the way and basically cause the bunnypocalypse.
  • A climax that drags on more than it should. The final 15 minutes shouldn’t feel like an hour.
Bunnies!

Bunnies!

Overall

You want killer bunnies. You got killer bunnies. Night of the Lepus is exactly what you’d expect from a movie called Night of the Lepus. It’s it good? Well, it’s not NOT good. It deserves a viewing before you die. So go to your nearest family-run video store and rent this on VHS. Be sure to return it before the deadline so as not incur late fees.

Buy Night of the Lepus Here!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Comments

Jennifer Jorgenson on May 30, 2019:

Indeed it does!

Noel Penaflor (author) from California on May 30, 2019:

It makes for great entertainment

Jennifer Jorgenson on May 30, 2019:

When Bunnies Attack!

Noel Penaflor (author) from California on May 30, 2019:

I would watch a movie based on that.

Tiffany from Springbrook, AB on May 30, 2019:

This looks so cheesy I must see it..also I am also curious which bunny would win, from the previous comment.

Noel Penaflor (author) from California on May 30, 2019:

A question for the ages

Keith Abt from The Garden State on May 30, 2019:

Great, unintentionally hilarious film. I wonder who would win if one if the "Lepus" rabbits fought the killer bunny from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail?"