Movie Review: Night of the Lepus (1972)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1972 horror movie starring Janet Leigh and DeForest Kelley.

Synopsis: A rancher near a small Arizona town is overrun by hundreds or rabbits that are destroying his crops. Rather than poisoning them, he turns to a local university in an effort to find another way to get rid of them. This results in an experimental serum being used that causes the rabbits to grow to an unusually large size and turn carnivorous, something that becomes a major problem when one of the rabbits is accidentally released into the wild and begins breeding.

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Review

My daughter and I have had this movie on our list of "to watch" films for a couple months now but I have avoided watching it with her because I wasn't really sure what to expect. It sounded unique. But, it also sounded like it could be a really stupid film. As I turns out, it was actually a better film than I expected it to be.

Giant man-eating rabbits are actually a much better movie monster than I originally thought they would be for a number of reasons. The main one was the way they would reproduce at an extraordinary rate, forcing the heroes to face many killer rabbits rather than just one or two.

In addition, they have some added abilities, such as being able to dig into or out of the ground (something that made the first attempt to stop them useless) and the ability to chew through things. The former was one that added a little more suspense because there were plenty of times when I wasn't sure if the heroes were safe or if one of the rabbits would pop up from the ground under their feet.

Not to mention, those cute bucked teeth have an ax-like effect when chewing on humans. This meant, even though the film, at times, still managed to have a bit of an unintentional comical feel to it, the rabbits still proved to be menacing enough to keep it a horror movie.

One thing I was not expecting when watching this film was how graphic it was. There were lots of bloody corpses (including children) and plenty of blood splatter whenever one of the giant bunnies got shot. As a result, I did have to keep checking on my daughter to make sure she wasn't being scarred for life and would not recommend watching this movie in front of young children or if you get squeamish easily.

Night of the Lepus

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Final Opinion

As I said before, based solely on the description, I wasn't really sure what to expect from this film. However, while it obviously wasn't Oscar-worthy, it did turn out to be a surprisingly decent horror film. If nothing else, it'll make me think twice about walking into a room full of giant rabbits.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 01/10/2017, StevenHelmer
 
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