Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monster Crap Inductee: Night Of The Lepus (1972)

Monster Crap Inductee: Night Of The Lepus

Gee……Ain’t This Movie A Stinker


Well, it is the month of April and the big holiday is Easter. Last month, I did a movie based around Easter in the awesomely bad Critters 2. This April, I have decided to induct a movie that revolves around rabbits…..killer rabbits to be exact.

No…..we will not be talking about the Rabbit of Caerbannog because Monty Python And The Holy Grail is an excellent movie.

You Better Not Be Talking About The One That Got Me

No, I won’t be talking about the rabbit that attacked you…sir because honestly, being attacked by a rabbit is embarrassing. We will instead be talking about the 70s film that was based on the book The Year Of The Angry Rabbit, which was as a fictional story based off of the real situation rabbits running amok in Australia.

But of course, they decided to change a few things from the book. First off the story is now in the United States of America of course….because we can’t have anything happening outside of our country. Also there is the book mocked war, nationalism and capitalism and of course this movie says screw that…..we want just giant killer rabbits. Although to be fair, that isn’t a bad idea because the book Jaws dealt with mob crap and the scientist being an asshole while the movie deals with just the killer shark. Sometimes it is best to deal with the initial threat and not sub-threats because in a book you have all the time in the world to deal with multiple stuff while you can’t do that as movies have time limits.

And it is not like they didn’t try with this movie. They hired Stuart Whitman, who is best known as playing Marshall Jim Crown in Cimarron Strip. They hired Janet Leigh, who is best known for playing Marion Crane in Psycho.

Yep…..She Was The One Killed In The Shower

They hired DeForest Kelley, who played….

Bones McCoy On Star Trek (The Original Series & Movie)

Heck they even hired Rory Calhoun for the film and Rory has two stars in the Hollywood Walk Of Fame (one for television and one for films). So they had the talent to act in this movie. So why did this movie make it to this site? We are about to find out.

We start this movie with a news bulletin instead of the opening credits (par for the course of starting off with something before the opening credits).

Before Your Feature Presentation, We Would Like To Give You Some News

The reporter talks about a population explosion of rabbits. It shows us an old film that talks about how rabbits are basically ruining Australia. Our reporter then asks if man himself has any right to defend himself against an enemy that threatens his life and property. He then asks if so, how? Should we use poison or traps? And if so, what does he do to the rest of the insect and animal life necessary to his existence? Now before I continue this, I have to answer those questions. Yes we defend ourselves against an enemy that threatens our existence. How anyone’s guess, but the right answer is is the best possible method that won’t screw us in the long term. DDT was used to kill bugs that were destroying our crops.

No, Not The Wrestling Maneuver Called A DDT……The Chemical Known As DDT, Although The Idea Of Jake Roberts Hitting DDTs On Every Insect Is Amusing.

However, the DDT also poisoned our own crops and screwed us big time in the long haul to the point where we really have to be careful.

Another example is what Australians did for the rabbit proof fence that would basically kill rabbits that attempted to cross. The problem with that was the fence didn’t only trap and kill rabbits as other animals such as kangaroos got caught in the fence as well. Also the rabbits jumped over the fence or were able to burrow underneath so this failed.

Yeah, That Fence Is Definitely Not One Of Australia’s Proudest Moments.

But back to our movie as now our newscaster basically talks that rabbit problems have now existed in the USA. They talk about how preposterous this must sound that an innocent furry rabbit can cause so much chaos. Now I have to stop again because I will mention how much chaos these little rabbits in reality can cause.

A rabbit on its own is not a problem. However, rabbits are very fertile creatures and tend to fuck a lot. That causes reproduction and rabbits reproduce more than one baby each time. Rabbits also eat a lot and if rabbits don’t have a natural predator to balance the system, they will eat all of your crops in no time. Yeah, one rabbit is not a problem…..a huge pack of rabbits can cause devastation.

God I really need to keep with this movie instead of going off topic. Anyway, after our newscaster asks if this population increase be contained, we get some very good music with rabbits digging holes and we finally get our opening credits.

To Be Fair To This Film, I Talked Longer About This Then The Film Did So My Bad If It Took A While For Me To Do The Opening Credits Bit.

We then go to a field where a guy on horseback when a rabbit comes out and spooks the horse enough to fall down. The rider gets off the horse, but sadly our horse is sadly wounded so our guy here has to shoot the horse dead.

Sorry Mr. Ed, But It’s Off To The Glue Factory For You.

Our horse murderer goes back to his farm and basically tells his son that he had to kill the horse because his leg broke. The farmer then calls for the local college to help him out with his rabbit problem.

He talks to the president of the college Elgin Clark and wants to see if he can help. Elgin tells cowboy (named Cole Hillman) that he is bringing down some of his professors to see if they can deal with the problem. Cole is originally reluctant to work with the professor he has in mind because he did too good of a job getting rid of the coyotes as he hasn’t seen one in a long ass time. And there is your first problem, you had someone get rid of the coyotes (who are a natural predator for rabbits) and now with the rabbits having no threats, they can run roughshod over the place.

Cole basically explains my point that there is a balance to these things which makes me wonder….what were the coyotes doing that made him call this professor to take care of them. Elgin has another idea as he recommends a couple who has moved into town who is trying to decrease the insect population without screwing up the balance. Cole mentions that he has rabbit problems, not bugs so how will these people help. Elgin responds by saying that they won’t kill all the rabbits, just find a way to decrease their numbers.

We then turn to our couple Roy and Gerry Bennett, who are trying to catch bats. Wait….I thought they were trying to deal with bugs, not bats. I should also mention that they decide to catch these bats in the daytime. Bats are nocturnal creatures to exposure to sunlight is extremely bad for them. Our husband also decides to be a douche bag by shaking the cage where he trapped the bats. Our hero….ladies and gentleman, an asshole to Mother Nature.

We then see that he is only trying to get bat sounds as he uses a microphone so he can record bat noise. A car pulls up and it’s Elgin…who tells them about the job he has for them. Before I continue, I should mention that this couple has a daughter named Amanda so you know she will cause some trouble. Roy doesn’t think rabbits are his problem, but Elgin reveals that Cole is trying to avoid using poison, but if the rabbits get to other ranchers, they will bomb the whole place with cyanide. Roy agrees and thus we have our objective. They drive by people shooting at the rabbits and Amanda begins to be an annoyance in not understanding why they are killing the bunnies.

Okay, why are we bringing her along for this trip? We all know that because she likes bunnies, she is going to side with the rabbits and being that she is a little girl, this will be either a traumatic experience for her or she is going to do something to screw this up or both.

I Should Note That The Shots Of Ranchers Driving Away Rabbits Are Stock Footage.

When they talk about the rabbits being all different species, Cole tells him that there was a guy who lived about 10 miles south of the ranch that used to have domestic rabbits. A fire burned his house down and 100 of his rabbits escaped. We find out that basically because of this, the domestic rabbits mated with wild rabbits and created these “mongrels”. Cole says that they have had these problems in other places and asks how they got rid of them.

Roy reveals that they used poison, but it killed a bunch of other animals as well. Roy’s idea is to use hormones that would interrupt their breeding cycle or a disease that would affect only the rabbits. Cole gives the couple 6-8 weeks before he will be forced to use the poison. Roy wants a dozen so he can do experiments.

Amanda immediately strikes up a friendship with Cole’s son, Jackie. At the lab, Amanda immediately becomes an annoyance by wondering what a control group is. Gerry reveals that the control group is basically two different groups (one that are used for the experiment and one are not). Roy decides to use a serum for the one group for the experiment that was given to him by another doctor. They shoot one rabbit with the stuff and put him back into the cage. The girl then decides to switch rabbits so the rabbit that was shot with the serum is in the other group. She asks if she can take home one of the rabbits and the two parents who didn’t see this switch says yes so she chooses the rabbit that got the serum. It hasn’t been 15 minutes and I already want this little girl dead.

While catching more rabbits, Jackie decides for a second to be an ass by taking Amanda’s rabbit and letting it escape. He then apologizes and she accepts. Wow…..that was definitely quick. She also asks Jackie not to tell Amanda’s mom that the rabbit ran away.

Just Barely 15 Minutes And I Want Two People Dead.

Of course, we then reveal that the effects of the serum make the rabbits larger.

And since one of those rabbits is released and they will eat anything…..well, we can already guess what is going to happen. The experiment turns out to be a failure and farmers immediately decide to pour gasoline

Cole’s new plan is to create a fire that will kill our rabbits. We then transition after the fire to Cole and the two scientists to check on a spot where the rabbits first became a menace. Cole reasons since this was the original place, this should be the first place to check if the rabbits have returned. Gerry immediately finds a track and….

Cole doesn’t know what track it is because it is the size of a cow and yet, it is not a cow track. They wonder if it could be a mountain lion, but Cole says they haven’t had any of those around in a long time.

While they are looking at the footprint, Jackie decides to take Amanda to a mine owned by Captain Billy. Captain Billy is not around so Jackie tells Amanda to look in the tunnel while he looks outside some more. Amanda finds Captain Billy….


She doesn’t only find Capt. Billy dead, but she also finds…..

Giant Man Eating Rabbits

She screams and of course, Jackie runs into get her out of the cave. Of course, we don’t see them escaping. We instead transition to Amanda being in bed screaming. Apparently, she passed out due to fright and Jackie was able to help her out of the cave. A doctor comes in and tells Gerry that the girl will be alright. They ask Jackie if he saw anything and he said he saw nothing. You know, we wouldn’t need much dialogue if you actually showed us this instead of telling us what happened. She wakes up screaming daddy and then Roy decides to leave to talk to a colleague of his.

We transition to a truck driving down a lonely road.

The truck for some reason pulls over and the driver checks his cargo. Suddenly the driver hears something and goes to investigate. It turns out that the noise is from the giant rabbits who decide to kill him.

We see the trucker scream and we move on to the next scene.

A police car comes to the pulled over truck and notices a mess behind it. The cop goes to investigate and he then finds the dead body…

The cop immediately calls for backup and a quick scene transition and another cop is already there. The sheriff (who is also there) gets a phone call. It is a person saying they found the body of Captain Billy. The body was found the same as the other body, hacked to pieces.

Another scene change and we go to the morgue where a forensic scientist looks into a microscope with the sheriff and the officer who originally found the truck driver’s body. The scientist talks about the cans and boxes being opened with brute force and not by any weapon of any kind. The sheriff jokes that this must be a vampire and the scientist jokes back at him that the only thing he can think of causing this is a saber-toothed tiger.

We move to a motorcycle cop who has found the bodies of a family of four out picnicking.

It is a man, a woman, and two children….your normal family being murdered by something that is confusing authorities. At the laboratory, a colleague of the Bennetts tells them he has never seen abnormalities like the ones he is looking at. He thinks that these rabbits will become as big and as ferocious as wolves. Roy decides that they need to go back to the site of Amanda’s accounts and look for clues there. They decide not to talk to authorities because if it gets out that these abnormalities exist without knowing what is going on with these murders, there will be bad press. Roy tells Gerry to get Hillman to bring some explosives and poison and meet them at the mine.

They go to the mines and while searching around, Elgin reveals he has found giant holes at the top of the mine. Elgin drops a rock into the whole to see how deep it is and as soon as it lands, he hears noises. He uses his radio to let Roy also hear the noises and tells them to immediately get the dynamite ready because they are going to blow up the cave. Cole and Roy decide to go into the mine as well so they can confirm what is in there. They eventually are able to confirm that it is giant rabbits and take a picture of it.

The rabbits notice the two and the two immediately have to run. Meanwhile on the outside, one of the helpers is attacked by a rabbit that was able to burrow outside.

Gerry hears this and tries to help the guy. She shoots at the rabbit, but the rabbit is able to escape. She then tries to tend to the wounded and terrified victim as she assures him that the rabbit is gone. Cole and Roy escape the mine and a minute later, the mine is blown up.

I Think It Is Fair For Me To Say “And Boom Goes The Dynamite”

Back at the college, Elgin wonders how there could be giant rabbits. They finally decide to release the news to the public and strangely, they are not met with people being pissed off. Roy recommends to Gerry that she and Amanda go somewhere safe and she agrees. She decides that she and Amanda will stay at the lodge in Wooddale. We of end this scene with the couple kissing.

We then transition to the mine as we find out the rabbits were not killed in the mine explosion.

Oh It’s On Now….

The rabbits head to Roy’s ranch and spook the horses. Roy comes out thanks to his dog and has his helpers join him to calm the horses down. This doesn’t work as the horses stampede out of the gate. As the horses decide to get out of this movie as soon as possible….we see the rabbits look over the hill at their handiwork.

Excellent Work, Guys…

The rabbits then immediately attack and kill the horses. One of the helpers (the one who was attacked earlier) decides to get in his truck and get the hell out of dodge. The rabbits chase him back to the farm.

You Won’t Be Escaping This Time

Cole has his wife and son hide in the basement as he goes to make a phone call, but he leaves the brave helper to protect his family. Our coward decides run into the power lines, which screws Cole from being able to call for help. The rabbits then decide to finally finish the job that their comrade failed to do.

Cole shoots at the rabbits and is able to chase the rabbits away. He then decides to join his family and the brave helper in the basement. The rabbits try to get to the cellar, but Cole is able to scare them by firing more guns. The rabbits run away, but not before leaving a mess in the house. Our killer bunnies then decide to attack a local general store and kill the woman attending the store.

The rabbits also decide to kill some guy who was at the general store before the attack, at his home.

Dawn approaches as the brave helper tells Cole what happened to the cowardly helper. Cole tells our still living worker to protect his family while he goes into town and get some help. Roy sends his wife and daughter away as they leave in an El Dorado. Elgin drives up and picks up Roy so they can get to the laboratory to meet the authorities. However, the sheriff already knows about the killer rabbits as that was what the crime lab came back with what killed Captain Billy.

We then go to Roy, who is actually walking to town.

Umm….You Might Not Want To Walk To Town With Killer Rabbits On The Loose

We then head to Gerry and Amanda as the El Dorado gets stuck on their way to Wooddale. Somehow I have a feeling these two are going to be in trouble later on. We then head back to Roy as he notices that the rabbits have attacked the general store and sees the woman dead. He also sees that the rabbits are still in the store.

Roy decides now would not be the time to let the rabbits know he is there as he runs away. He goes to the garage and sees that….

The Guy Who Runs The Place Is Dead As Well

The sheriff, Roy, and Elgin are now in a helicopter to check the mine and see a hole that signifies that the rabbits are still alive. The sheriff calls a dispatcher to get him in touch with the governor and the National Guard. Roy then gets to hitchhike with the help of a priest who is passing by.

The authorities get back and the sheriff tells the pilot to circle the area. They also get word for the governor to use the National Guard however they feel is needed. They then are able to get word from Cole that the rabbits attacked the some parts of town and are headed in the sheriff’s direction. Roy gets worried about his wife and daughter as the National Guard comes in.

Dusk comes and the rabbits leave the general store, garage, and house of the one guy they kill as they continue their attack. The authorities attempt to evacuate the town in hopes of avoiding as much causalities as possible. Roy decides to use the railroad to electrocute the rabbits. The sheriff likes the idea and agrees to wire the railroad so when the rabbits step on it, they will fry.

You know with everything going on, I am surprised the townspeople are actually going with this. In a way, I actually appreciate it because normally a film has these people be arrogant morons who won’t believe anything until it is too late. It is something new that makes what should be unmemorable become memorable in my mind. Anyway, back to the movie. Roy gets word from Wooddale that his wife and daughter have not made it into town.

Anyway, the sheriff uses some of the cars that stayed to help with funneling the rabbits to the portion of the railroad that they are using. With the cars flashing lights and the National Guard, they are able to make a path. Unfortunately, the El Dorado is in the middle of the rabbit’s path so they trap Gerry and Amanda in the area, with Gerry outside trying to hold them off with flares and Amanda in the trailer.

Using the first flare…

Gerry Is Able To Set One Of The Rabbits On Fire

With the El Dorado surrounded, we sadly have to hear more from this annoying daughter. A helicopter shows up with Roy to chase the rabbits away. You know, while I am happy that Gerry is still alive….I am not happy that little girl is still alive. She is the reason for this whole mess and she gets no comeuppance.

The rabbits then make some hamburger meat out of some of the cows in the herd. The rabbits follow the path and this plan works as they are electrocuted.

The electricity, along with guns and flamethrowers, is able to kill the whole lot of rabbits.

We then move to the next day where people are playing flag football. We learn that the coyotes have returned and the rabbit population problem has been taken care of. We also find out that Cole’s boy even saw a deer and a fox. Cole invites Roy and his family over to his ranch for the weekend and Roy accepts. We then go to the weekend where everyone is relaxing as Amanda and Jackie are running into the fields. We close this movie with a shot of a rabbits’ burrow, with some eerie music that does not deserve to be there.

This movie has achieved cult status for its cheesy fun. Funny thing though that they originally attempted to keep the mutant rabbits a secret with the poster art of them film. However, they botched this by giving away promotional rabbit’s feet. I find this funny that they tried to keep the fact that these are mutated rabbits a secret because if you look at the title of the film and look it up, you would know that Lepus means rabbit so keeping that a secret is kind of stupid.

Now onto the aftermath for some of our actors and actresses and I hate to say this, but most of the cast has since been deceased. DeForest Kelley (who played Elgin Clark) died in 1999 and on his death bed, he told Star Trek co-star William Shatner that he wanted to make one more Star Trek movie because he missed making movies. Rory Calhoun (who played Cole Hillman) died 2 months earlier which is eerie seeing two actors in one movie die in the same year. Janet Leigh died in 2006, but one of her daughters is very famous and has even been in a Monster Crap Induction.

Yes…..Her Daughter Is In Fact Jamie Lee Curtis

Now my final thoughts on this movie and if you think I am going to tear this movie to shreds, you will be sadly disappointed. The reason is I….actually like this movie. I remember watching this movie as a kid when it was on Monster Vision and I enjoyed it then. Sure it is not good for me now as it was back then, but I still am thoroughly entertained by this movie. Sure there are two people who I want dead and I don’t get that wish, but when most of the actors are really doing a good job, I am willing to let that go. Sure the effects have not aged well and were probably not the best back then, but it is an enjoyable movie and one that I would actually recommend you watching. Sure the plot may be insane to begin with, but if you do it right with people who give a damn about what they are doing, you may be able to make an entertaining movie. If anyone tells you this is the worst movie they have ever seen, they have not seen too many movies.

Now let’s get to the next inductee. Since it is May, I should remember that my good friends at Deadpit Radio used to do May of the Dead where the topics are normally Romero’s influential “…Of The Dead” films. It is an interesting discussion because even most of the remakes of the films were good and they were all good until a 2008 attempt.

That Will Be My Next Induction

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