In order to combat a crop-eating plague of ordinary rabbits in the American Southwest, a scientist experiments with hormone injections that will hopefully make the long-eared Leporids sterile.
But of course, something goes wrong, as it always does in horror movies. Instead of making the rabbits infertile, the hormones transform them into hyper-aggressive bunnies that are as large as Bengal tigers. They don’t eat people. (That might have been too much of a stretch, even for a movie like this.) But they sure like to kill and mutilate their human enemies.
That’s the setup for Night of the Lepus, a 1972 horror film.
Hokey? Sure. But this Nixon-era movie is actually not as bad as it sounds.
To begin with, some of the best acting talent of the day was involved. The cast includes Janet Leigh and DeForest Kelley, of Psycho and Star Trek fame, respectively. The screenplay, moreover, is written so as to make this outlandish premise as believable as it possible could be.
Not that there aren’t problems. The special effects are really, really bad—-even for fifty years ago. And then there’s the basic concept: Giant killer rabbits?
In one scene, a police officer grabs a bullhorn and announces to a crowd that killer rabbits are on the way, and everyone must take shelter. It must have been difficult for the actor to recite that line with a straight face.
Don’t cancel anything important to watch this movie. But if you like vintage horror films and you’re capable of suspending your disbelief for 88 minutes, you might enjoy Night of the Lepus. As bad horror movies go, this one is pretty good.