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Night of the Lepus

Stuart Whitman , Janet Leigh , William F. Claxton    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
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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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bad, bad bunnies! Feb. 23 2009
Format:DVD
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)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  72 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rabbits on the Rampage Nov. 1 2005
By Joshua Koppel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
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.
36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed Feb. 9 2007
By Patrick Michael - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
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???
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic bad movie! July 5 2005
By Claudia McGill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Attention please! A herd of giant killer rabbits is headed this way!" Dec 17 2006
By Nathan Andersen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
There is something very refreshing about camp films that are not played for camp. Someone makes a movie called "Snakes on a Plane" and it is obviously a joke, played for laughs, absurd and silly, and I guess that is the appeal. This film, by contrast, takes itself seriously -- or, at least, pretends to take itself seriously. They even take the trouble to explain why the rabbits don't look like wild rabbits -- a farmer who had been raising domesticated rabbits had his barn burn down, releasing several into the wild. The closest parallel in film would be to Frogs!, which, believe it or not, had better production values than this film. But this film is every bit as earnest -- and aims like Frogs! to use its simple premise both as the basis for semi-creepy thrills and to encourage reflection upon and illustrate real contemporary environmental issues, that find their basis in our ill-conceived efforts to make our ecosystems adapt to our agriculltural strategies rather than adapting our strategies to the ecosystems. If you poison all of the coyotes, you are going to have an even bigger rabbit problem, that you can't solve by poisoning rabbits unless you want to poison the cattle too.

The film is never really scary and never plausible, but is a lot of fun if you are in the right mood. Regular rabbits herding next to miniature sets, their faces splashed with dyed corn syrup; "corpses" without wounds but with ripped clothing and plenty of fake blood. Dr. McCoy from Star Trek! Janet Leigh from Psycho! What more could you want? .... Okay, I guess you could want a few things -- like realistic effects, or an interesting subtext (I can only imagine what David Cronenberg around the time of Shivers would have done with this material) ... Still, it's refreshing to know that there was a time when "message horror" movies like this (and other quirky kinds of films that nobody could possibly have imagined would do more than do well with a niche audience) got made by major studios like MGM without the hope that they could be made into "blockbusters" that would make tens of millions on their first weekend.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where Is Elmer Fudd When You Need Him? Sept. 3 2010
By Gary F. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
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
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