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it doesn't get any worse than this, folks - one of the cheesiest, and therefore hilarious, pieces of cinematic disaster ever. About rampaging, man-eating.....rabbits. Yep, hopped-up hares created by science gone wrong threatens the state of Arizona. Reportedly so bad that certain actors tried for years to have this suppressed, this has the production values of a TV Movie Of The Week, unconvincing special effects and close-ups of the bunnies which fail utterly at making them look threatening. Warner Bros. has made this a good transfer in a wink-wink nudge-nudge way of how bad a stinker this was. If you like movies like Plan 9 From Outer Space or Troll 2, this is a must-see!
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I hadn't seen this until recently so I'm free of the nightmares about giant marauding rabbits that I've heard some have, who saw this too young. If you like 70's disaster movies, spoofs, or B-grade horrors this one's for you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Rabbits on the RampageNov. 1 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
Rabbits are destroying a rancher's land. He doesn't want to have to resort to poison so a friend (DeForrest Kelley) brings in a researcher who decides to try hormones. He gets a hold of a "serum" but does not know what the effects will be. Add a little daughter who loves one of the test rabbits and a few unlikely occurrences and a test rabbit winds up in the general population.
All too quickly rabbits the size of wolves (that's what they keep saying in the movie but they are quite a bit larger) begin to overrun the area. The researcher comes up with a way to stem the tide of fur but not before many people die.
I originally saw this many, many years ago on late night TV. This DVD was gorier than I remember and really quite well done even if the writing was weak. One really gets the sense that they rabbits are huge and deadly. Some of the plot weaknesses are worse than others but my personal favorite is that the researcher who created the beasts is not held responsible and is treated as a hero. One of the best giant animal films in terms of the animals really looking like giants. Check it out.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic bad movie!July 5 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
I first saw this movie at a drive-in in the 1970's, as a teenager. It's really not a five star movie in the sense of being a great movie artistically (far from it--), but it's just the thing for its genre - the drive-in movie. If you were seeing it at $5 a carload, even better. You'll enjoy it for its sheer audacity. I can only imagine what the giant rabbits would be like in today's technology - but the unsophisticated effects are part of this movie's appeal - at least for me. Entertaining.
40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Very DisappointedFeb. 9 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
I am very disappointed in this release. They deleted the best WORST parts of the movie. For instance, there was a scene when the rancher was being attacked. He and a guy in a rabbit suit crash through the window. They wrestle around on the floor and bed, basically fist-fighting each other. Then, the large rabbit is back outside next to the toy models again. It was one of the many reasons I couldn't wait to see this movie again on DVD! I can't believe MGM said, "Wait! Before we release this, let's clean up the really bad parts first!" Very disappointed, indeed. Otherwise, it's a 5 star C movie from the 70s. Did I mention, I was very dissapointed???
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Where Is Elmer Fudd When You Need Him?Sept. 3 2010
Gary F. Taylor
- Published on Amazon.com
Loosely based on a 1962 novel THE YEAR OF THE ANGRY RABBIT by Russell Braddon, this very silly movie finds Stuart Whitman and Janet Leigh starring as a couple of zoologists who run afoul of giant killer rabbits in the American southwest. Although described as "a young couple," Whitman and Leigh were in their mid-forties at the time and they don't try to hide it. Whitman phones in his performance; Leigh, who looks like she got hit by a Tammy Wynette truck, doesn't even try. The cast is rounded out by Roy Calhoun as an irate rancher, DeForest Kelley as a unlikely university professor, and two remarkably untalented child actors named Melanie Fullerton and Chris Morell.
The story gets underway when Whitman and Leigh are called upon to figure out how to get rid of an overpopulation of wild rabbits that look supiciously like domesticated rabbits--a problem the script tries to account for by noting a recent and local mass escape of domestic rabbits that have enter the population. Whatever the case, Whitman and Leigh try a few experiments, including some genetic modifications. Unfortunately, their obnoxious child switches rabbits on them and then accidentally releases one of the modified ones into the wild. By nightfall the rabbits have become great big things and are nibbling folks to death all over the place.
It would be difficult to count the follies included in this film, but the most notorious one is the rabbits. Most of the time they are just regular bunny rabbits filmed hopping around on miniture sets. There are a lot of close ups of rabbit eyes. Very often rabbit faces are smeared with the same red syrup we find poured all over the so-called corpses. This is obviously intended to be scary, but the rabbits seem more disgruntled than dangerous--and whenever the movie has to show a giant rabbit actually attacking a human this guy in a really bad rabbit suit suddenly jumps out. The whole thing is rabbit-ridiculous, and along the way the rabbits are herded, burned, blown up and generally so harrassed that I began to side with them and wanted to call the ASPCA. "It's alright," Janet Leigh tells a rescued ranch hand after an attack. "The rabbit is gone!" So is all possiblity of the viewer's suspension of disbelief.
Most bad movies are simply bad, but now and then you encounter one that is accidentally funny. NIGHT OF THE LEPUS falls into this category, but it lacks the endearing quality of such so-bad-they're-good movies as PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. Maybe it's because you don't want to see the rabbits get hurt. Whatever the case, when watching NIGHT OF THE LEPUS, remember that illicit substances make many things seem a lot funnier than they actually are.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
"The bite of the Lepus, that's the Latin word for rabbit, can be dangerous."Oct. 8 2005
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I saw a peanut stand, heard a rubber band, I saw a needle that winked its eye. But I think I will have seen everything, when I see a...herd of giant killer rabbits?! Directed by William F. Claxton ("Bonanza", "Love, American Style"), Night of the Lepus (1972) stars Stuart Whitman (Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, Shatter), Rory Calhoun (Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood, Revenge of Bigfoot), and Janet Leigh (Psycho, The Manchurian Candidate), in what probably isn't considered by most to be a highpoint in her cinematic career that spanned 50 years before she passed away in October of 2004...as far as Whitman is concerned, he was perfectly suited for this film. It's not that I hate the guy or anything, but I have been subjected to a number of stinkaroo projects in which he was prominently featured. Also appearing is DeForest "Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor!" Kelley (Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan), Paul Fix ("The Rifleman"), and Melanie Fullerton ("The Gun and the Pulpit").
The film starts off with a special news report talking about population issues, specifically focusing on the dangers of introducing non-native wildlife to an unprepared ecosystem, to which we see footage of Australians battling a populous lepus aka rabbit scourge, initially brought in as a possible food source, but since have run amok due to their enthusiastic breeding and an insufficient predatory balance. We also learn a similar occurrence is happening in the American southwest...Cole Hillman (Calhoun) runs a cattle ranch, threatened by an ever increasing hare population, devouring his cattle's grazing lands (apparently he had a coyote problem prior, and the solution worked too well, leaving the rabbits without a natural balance). He turns to an acquaintance Elgin Clark (Kelley), who's president of a nearby university, for help, and Elgin hooks Cole up with the Bennett's, Roy (Whitman) and Gerry (Leigh), who are visiting researchers focused on safe (no poisons) and viable means to control pest populations. The husband and wife team are in the area, along with their annoying daughter Amanda (Fullerton), studying bats and how they might be used to control mosquito populations. The Bennett's agree to help, hoping to utilize an experimental hormone therapy serum, given to them by a colleague, to interrupt the rabbit's breeding cycle and halt their prodigiousness. But what happens when Amanda accidentally lets one of the test subjects loose? Well, it breeds with others, creating a ginormous, vociferous, ravenous army of nocturnal, floppy-eared varmints that eats everything (including people) in its path...oh the humanity...science...is there anything it can't (or won't) do? Say, what the hell was in that serum anyway?
I have to say, this was about the goofiest damn horror movie I've seen in awhile...I mean giant, killer rabbits? I will say the makers of this film stuck to their guns and really tried to make this a viable vehicle, but there is absolutely nothing horrifying about cute, cuddly, nose wrinkling bunny rabbits. Period. The construction of the film was solid, and had they inserted a different type of creature (roaches, spiders, dogs, marmosets, vernicious kanids, etc.), it probably would have worked, but they saddled themselves with rabbits, for better or worse...here's my favorite line from the film...near the end, a deputy heads to the drive-in to get the assistance of the patrons in some master plan to stop the impending invasion, and this is what he says on the bullhorn..." Attention! Attention! Ladies and gentlemen, attention! There is a herd of killer rabbits headed this way and we desperately need your help!" And everyone believed him! Oh bruther...I've never been a big fan of Whitman, even though he was a relatively solid actor who's career peaked in the 60s (he was nominated for a Oscar for his role in the 1961 film The Mark), as he generally brought so little to his later roles, here being no exception...and that girl that played his daughter...ugh! I wanted to throttle her for her crimes against the profession. She certainly wasn't the worst child actor I've ever seen, but her annoyance factor was very high. And I love how she was never held accountable or felt even the slightest pang of guilt for her actions within the story, especially since she was the one responsible for the tainted rabbit getting loose. In a perfect world, cinematically speaking, she would have been one of the first victims beset by the plague she introduced into the environment, one that claimed the lives of many. As far as Janet Leigh, I just felt sorry for her...here's a woman who has appeared in one of the most memorable and influential shockers of all time (Psycho), now reduced to playing a bit part in one of the most laughable horror films ever made. And another thing, both Whitman and Leigh seemed a bit long in the tooth to have a daughter as young as she was...anyway, like I said, there was some misguided effort put forth by the makers of this film to really try and make it scary, in terms of visual trickery. Miniature sets were constructed to make it appear the rabbits where huge, along with close ups, quick edits, and chroma key shots. There were a couple of scenes where the rabbits did indeed appear as large as they were meant to be, but hardly made them frightening, instead making them even more cuddly and lovable. My favorite shots involved the guys dressed in rabbit suits, attacking the various townspeople. The shots were very short, but it was still obvious they were men dressed up in bad rabbit suits, especially the one sequence where one hare gets hit in the head with an object by the person it's attacking, and the man in the suit instinctively raises his costumed hands to protect his costumed head.
The widescreen (1.85:1) anamorphic picture on this DVD looks very sharp and clean, and the Dolby Digital mono audio comes through very well. The only extra available is a theatrical trailer. The extras certainly are slight, but fans of bad movies will definitely rejoice at this film finally finding an official DVD release.
By the way, if you ever wanted to see DeForest Kelley in really bad polyester, here's your chance...also, if I learned anything from this film, its that people are not likely to stop and pick you up if you're hitchhiking down the road carrying a rifle...go figure...