Monday, April 5, 2010

Night of the Lepus (1972) - Billups Allen

Night of the Lepus opens with an absurd news expose designed to explain why people should be concerned with rabbit overpopulation. Various bits of stock footage show people all over the world (and, most importantly, Arizona) rounding up the furry creatures and offing them. As the story unfolds, scientists Roy and Gerry Bennett (Stuart Whitman and Janet Leigh) are called in to experiment on the rabbits to find out why they are reproducing so quickly. Cruelty to animals seems to be a primary motivation of the first twenty minutes of the film until a key mammal injected with a growth hormone escapes back into the desert. It is not long before giant footprints begin appearing in the sand. As a member of the audience, it is hard to attach a lot of weight to this discovery, mostly because rabbits are not very scary.
From this point on, the film takes on the pace and tone of a typical “pseudo-science causes some animal to take over the world” scenario.  The rampage begins with shots of people screaming and a reverse close-ups of rabbit faces adorned with swaths of red paint. As the film continues in this vein, the film’s primary flaw holds true: rabbits are not very scary. 

As the need to up the ante arrives, we get slow motion shots of furry antagonists terrorizing miniature train set buildings and stuntmen in rabbit suits engaging in hand-to-hand combat with the townsfolk. Occasionally, a character is killed off. It is fun on a lot of levels; the predominant level being that rabbits are not very scary. 
The rabbits go on to do a number of uncharacteristic things like growl, dismember locals, cut phone lines, and eat horses. Night of the Lepus has all the charm of the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) when a bunny jumps up and bites a knight’s head off. You might think that 90 minutes of this would be tedious. However, the movie is endlessly engaging for one, solitary reason; I’ll leave you to figure out what that reason is.

NIGHT OF THE LEPUS - Monday, April 5th at 8:00 p.m.

It's MONDO MONDAYS at The Loft, celebrating weird, wild and wonderful flicks from the Mondo side of the silver screen! Admission is only $2.00, and don't forget to check out our yummy "Mondo Munchies" snack bucket ... fill a cup for a buck!

Billups Allen's interest in writing began composing lyrics for the band Shoutbus and later for the band Corn on Macabre. Lyrical duties led to writing poetry and short stories. Several of his short stories were published in a book entitled Unfurnished published by Florida’s now defunct Schematics Records. Allen currently lives in Tucson, Arizona where he writes Cramhole comic zine, writes reviews for Razorcake Magazine and the Tucson Citizen and hosts a radio show called The Groove Tomb.

1 comment:

  1. did you see what the name of the drive-in was? wanted to see if that was one of our old ones, or where that location was...