Apr 3, 2018
Night of the Lepus (1972) (part 6 of 10)
Cut back to Roy, who’s announcing his intention to go inside the mineshaft, which is odd, given how they’re about to blow it up and everything. But he explains his reasoning plainly and simply.
Roy: Whatever’s back in there is a mystery. If we cave it in, we’ll never know. I’m going to try to pull one of them out. [!!] So I can analyze its blood and check its cells. If I can’t do that, at least I’ll take a picture of it.
Hey, now he’s talking sense, right? After all, what could it hurt to save just one infected specimen? I mean, it’s not like that’s how this whole mess started in the first place. Cole decides to tag along with Roy for his own good, but not before wisely taking Roy’s rifle away from him.
After some pointless footage of Elgin up above the mine, we cut back to Roy and Cole and learn they’re half a mile inside the mine. This is all accompanied by more close-ups of rabbits, and footage of bats flying around. “Shoulda marked our way,” Cole says, “In case we have to get out in a hurry!” Well, this is definitely the time to think of it. I bet you didn’t even remember to go pee before entering the bunny cave either, did you?
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They hear Dark Side of the Moon rabbit sounds nearby, and in response, Cole cocks his rifle. “Don’t shoot,” Roy says. “The whole place might come down on us.” Okay, so why even bring a gun in the first place? The two move forward into more spliced-in bunny close-ups, until finally, they spot the rabbits.
Cole yells that they’re “as big as wolves”, and Roy deadpans, “And just as vicious.” He expresses amazement that all of this came about from just that one rabbit that got injected with the serum. Yeah, funny how that happened. Hey, Roy, how did that one rabbit get out? Any ideas? No? You mean, for the entire remainder of the movie you’ll never even wonder how the injected rabbit escaped? ‘Kay. Just checking.
It would appear Roy has decided against trying to pull out one of the rabbits, and has settled for Plan B, i.e., taking a picture. Naturally, the flashes infuriate the rabbits, and they come charging. Nice one, Roy!
The two guys beat a hasty retreat as a horde of giant crazed bunny rabbits chases after them. And here’s where we finally get our first good look at the giant bunnies, and needless to say, the effects used to render them are somewhat less than stellar. Really, the only thing they’ve done to make them look like giant bunnies is put them in 1/10 scale models of the sets, added some dry ice fog, and slowed down the film. Which ultimately looks like… well, slow-mo bunnies running through scale model sets, frankly.
But wait! Hilariously enough, they’ve even put a guy in a bunny suit, whom Roy is shown briefly sparring with. The guy in the bunny suit will be popping in and out of the rest of the movie, and words can’t even begin to express how much he does not look like a bunny.
And while all of this is going on, Red Shirt #2 (the one hanging out with Gerry) decides to go into Captain Billy’s shack to eat a sandwich [?]. Okay, but next time he’s on his way to blow up giant bunnies, he better grab a Snickers.
Just then, right beside the shack, the ground begins to surge and undulate. We watch in horror (and by “horror”, I mean “hilarity”) as a giant bunny snout emerges from beneath the ground.
Eventually, the guy in the rabbit suit finds his way inside the shack and bears down on Red Shirt #2. Gerry hears his bloodcurdling screams and runs into the shack with her rifle blasting, which sends the giant rabbit scurrying off. Red Shirt #2 has survived this hilarious attack, but has unfortunately been reduced to a quivering mess.
After yet another pointless shot of Elgin and Red Shirt #1 standing around doing nothing, we cut back to Gerry and Red Shirt #2. Having had his fill of giant bunnies for the day, Red Shirt #2 wants to get the heck out of there, pronto. He’s convinced that Roy and Cole won’t be getting out of the mineshaft alive, so he wants to set off the explosives and bomb the fuck out of those evil bunnies from hell right now.
But just a few seconds later, he’s proven wrong as the two men emerge from the mine. Red Shirt #2, still torn up and bloody, immediately sets off the charges. Lots of stuff goes boom, and the rabbits squeal as debris falls on them.
After another long, pointless shot of Elgin and Red Shirt #1 surveying the damage below them, we cut to a darkroom where Elgin, Roy, and Gerry are developing pictures of giant rabbits. Elgin has finally come around and decided to go public about the rabbits, offering to take the heat since he got them into this predicament. Well, no, not really. We all know who got them into this predicament, don’t we? I won’t name any names, but it starts with “A” and ends with “manda”.
Before they break the story, Elgin wants to go back out to the mine in the morning to make sure all the giant rabbits are dead. Yeah, that might be a good idea. Forgive the stupid question, but why didn’t they make sure all the giant rabbits were dead before they left the mineshaft? Was it really that urgent to come back and develop some pictures first?
Once Elgin leaves, Roy and Gerry share a gruesomely tender moment. Roy tells his wife that once the story becomes public, “newspaper men from all over” will be showing up in droves. So he tells her to take Amanda somewhere else until everything blows over. I mean, giant killer bunny rabbits are one thing, but reporters? Yikes.
Gerry agrees, saying she’ll take Amanda out to “the lodge” and that Roy can join them as soon as possible. But before they part ways, we’re forced to endure the following allegedly romantic dialogue.
Gerry: I love you very much. And if we have to, I’d even be happy to go work with you in—
Roy and Gerry: [in unison] Timbuktu!!
Roy and Gerry: [in unison] Timbuktu!!
And then… they start making out. Yuck. Much like every other scene in the movie, this goes on way too long. The scariest part is that given the way they said “Timbuktu” in unison, that whole spiel must seem so brilliant to them that they’ve been saying it to each other for years.
Cut back to the mine at night, and shock of shocks, Dark Side of the Moon killer bunny noises start up again, and there are shots of giant rabbits still scurrying around. Wow, so some of them survived. Huh. So you mean, this movie isn’t going to end at the 45 minute mark? I totally did not call that.
Eventually, there are several goofy close-ups of bloodthirsty bunnies, as a whole pack of them emerge from a king-sized rabbit hole and run off into the distance.
Cut to some horses freaking out, as a stampede of slow motion bunnies marches past. As it turns out, these horses belong to Cole Hillman, and he and his wife come out onto their front porch to see what’s got them all riled up. Cole tells his wife to go wake up their son (who we finally learn is named Jackie) while he runs over to where Red Shirts #1 and #2 are making a futile attempt to corral the horses.
Unfortunately, the horses are finally fed up with being forced to act in this movie, and they smash through their balsa wood fence and stampede off. Up on a cliff, a herd of giant bunnies emerges from a cloud of dry ice fog, taking a brief moment to observe stock footage of a horse stampede. Oh, wait, I guess these are supposed to be Cole’s horses. And it just suddenly happens to be daytime where they are.
Back in the nighttime footage, the rabbits leap off the cliff in slow-motion, which quickly leads to shots of what appear to be giant toupees wrestling with the horses.
Back at the ranch, Red Shirt #2 (who, in case you care, is named “Jud”) flips out, since he’s a survivor of a previous bunny attack and everything. Jud jumps in his pickup and hauls ass out of there, but screeches to a halt when he comes upon a stampede of slow-motion bunnies on the road ahead of him. That one guy in the bunny suit even jumps on Jud’s hood, which is immediately followed by a close-up shot of a bunny giving Jud a dirty look.
Jud freaks and quickly makes a U-turn and tries to get away, and sees bunnies filling up his rearview mirror. I guess this means Jud is now watching the “hare-line” receding, hah hah! Puns are worse than cancer!
Unfortunately for Jud, it appears growing to enormous size allows bunnies to keep pace with a Dodge. Pretty amazing how that works, actually.