Night of the Lepus (1972) – Movie Review

Info

Original Title: Night of the Lepus
Country: United States
Director: William F. Claxton
Release: 1972
Genre: Sci-Fi
IMDb | Rotten Tomatoes

After the killing of the coyotes and the escape of a group of domestic rabbits, a rabbit plague outbreak in a farm region, damaging the livelihood of the farmers.

In the attempt of solving the problem without using poison, a couple of scientists (Stuart Whitman and Janet Leigh) make things worse.

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Night of the Lepus

When I watched this movie for the first time, I already had the idea of having someplace to review movies, and while watching, I knew I would have to review it someday. Well, I’m happy to say, the day has arrived.

With a stared cast of two Oscar Nominees in Janet Leigh and Stuart Whitman, and also DeForest Kelley, the actor famous for his role as Leonard McCoy in the early Star Trek, the movie is absolutely in the category “so bad, it’s good”.

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Gerry (Janet Leigh)

The filmmaker (and YouTuber) Darious Britt made a video about the importance of studying bad movies for those with the ambition of becoming filmmakers or those seeking to improve in this art.

One of his points is exactly the reason why I wanted to review this movie. It’s really fun to watch an awful movie like “Night of the Lepus” if you are in the right mood for it.

Gerry Bennett (Janet Leigh) and Roy Bennett (Stuart Whitman) are a couple of scientists with a little daughter, Amanda (Melanie Fullerton), who inadvertently causes the major problem.

Amanda Bennett Gerry Bennett and Roy Bennett Stuart Whitman Janet Leigh
The Family; Amanda, Gerry and Roy

Attempting to end the rabbit plague, Roy and Gerry come up with the idea of injecting hormones in some rabbits and releasing them back to nature, this would affect their breeding, decreasing the number of offspring.

During the test phase, the couple injects a substance known for cause birth defects in one of the rabbits. The injected rabbit was Amanda’s favorite, so the girl swap it for another one, a clean one.

The injected rabbit become Amanda’s pet and, of course, she loses it. The rabbit goes into nature, infecting other rabbits with the substance.

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Roy (Stuart Whitman)

Unfortunately for everyone, the substance makes the rabbit grow a lot, so now, instead of a common rabbit plague, they have a plague of gigantic rabbits in their hands.

From then on, we have a lot of rabbits with ketchup on their faces, walking in obvious miniature sets and even men in rabbit costume attacking people. It’s amazing, in an accidentally funny way, of course.

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Lepus!

If I had to choose between watching either “Night of the Lepus” or “The Mechanism” for one more time, I choose “Night of the Lepus” without thinking twice. At least it’s about giant rabbits, not poorly telling a real story.

With exception of the acting, everything is bad. The acting is decent, but is not crazy good either, because even with the extremely competent cast, they don’t have a good material to work with.

I love this kind of bizarreness, you’ll have to pretend it’s actually a comedy, but I highly recommend the watch.

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Elgin Clark (DeForest Kelley)
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