“Night of the lepus” – (88 minutes, USA,1972 – PG)
They could have titled this one “follicle follies”. In the vein of eco-inspired horror flicks of the ’70s, the premise of “night of the lepus” makes your hare stand on end: in a single night and starting with a single wabbit injected with some experimental hormone shot, the rabbit population of southern Arizona ‘splodes into hordes of 150 pound ravenous long-hared mofos eatin’ and a-killin’ and a-screwin’ anything and anyone in their path.
Dilemma: coyotes have all been keeled by some dude who did his job too well and now the ranchers’ lands are ravaged by wild rabbits running even wilder…
Rancher Cole Hillman (Rory Calhoun) tired of pulling his hare out over this but being a Renaissance-dude, calls on his university pal Elgin (DeForest Kelley) to find a sustainable, holistico-scientific solution which will not upset the ecological balance of the region.
Elgin knows of a young couple of researchers from back East who may be of help.
Never mind that Roy and Gerry Bennett (Stuart Whitman and Janet Leigh) are in their mid-forties, their little girl Amanda (Melanie Fullerton) is at the root of the evil which will follow, as she’s left to cuddle the beasties and swap them around without her parents looking.
Really? Would you let your kid play with a soldering iron in the shed where you reload ammo..?
And would it be so hard to improve her vocabulary? “Mommy! Mommy! No (or yes)”; “Daddy! Daddy! No (or yes)”; “can I keep one?”; “Please!? Please!?”
Roy and Gerry inoculate a rabbit with hormones supposed to make “Jill like Jack and Jack like Jill”, which would stop them from reproducing.
That’s their hope.
Yeah. Because really they have no idea that in one night, their cockamamie reparative-therapy notions will result in this:
Sorry, I meant this:
Or worse, a disturbing rape scene involving an actor dressed as a giant wabbit, having his way with a ranch hand:
So the mysterious hormone shot turns the rabbits into a$$**&s. Why a$$**&s? Because they attack livestock and horses instead of the real culprits.
Let’s get real for a minute. Who’s creating the most ecological damage here? Bunnies, or… human
hair? The follicle follies I alluded to are displayed everywhere here. Item one: Stuart Whitman and DeForest Kelley, with their mane from hell.
You can’t see their freakin’ ears, Whitman’s hair’s all over the place while Kelley’s going every which way but loose! But wait. Here comes Janet Leigh:
How they managed to capture all of it in one frame I’ll never know. Even the wheelchair bound scientist they consult has something unholy going on:
Let’s close in:
There’s enough shellac and other chemicals in that thing to turn the ozone layer into a lingering fart.
No one’s immune. The railroad engineer, high on CFCs and laxatives. Why does he need fab-hair at his age? In the armpit of Arizona? When he works nights?
I thought of suggesting the Lepus drinking game of doing a shot every time a character says something stupid, but you’d need paramedics in the first seven minutes.
Take for instance the Deputy addressing a crowd at a drive-in. Genius!
In the end, it’s true that such ecological warfare is likely to be fought with hormones rather than the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.
They’re black they’re brown they’re up their down
They’re in they’re out they’re all about
They’re far they’re near they’re gone they’re here
They’re quick and slick, they’re insincere
They come in ones and twoosels
But if they so choosels
Before your eyes you’ll see them multiply
– ply – ply – ply
.. Don’t make them angry!
“Night of the lepus” gets four jellybeans. You just can’t make ’em like this anymore.