Night of the Lepus is a 1972 American science fiction horror film based on the 1964 science fiction novel The Year of the Angry Rabbit. The film focuses on members of a small Arizona town who battle thousands of mutated, carnivorous killer rabbits.
Shot in Arizona, Night of the Lepus used domestic rabbits filmed against miniature models and actors dressed in rabbit costumes for the various attack scenes. Widely panned by critics for its premise, bad directing, stilted acting, and laughable special effects, the film’s biggest failure was considered to be the (understandable) inability to make the rabbits seem scary!
“The filmmaking is slick and surprisingly bloodthirsty, and for some unexplainable reason the actors don’t even seem too embarrassed to be associated with this nutty feature. DeForest Kelley comes off best of all, since he was simply glad to get a hiatus from Shatner and all the other Trek twits. Fast-paced and indescribably dumb—it’s perfect for an Easter Family Matinee, as well as a must-see for mutant monster aficionados.” Shock Cinema
“As for entertainment value, Night of the Lepus does have something. Unintentional humor seems to be its saving grace, but there’s a certain early 1970s allure that plays a role, too. It doesn’t have the charm of an Ed Wood, Jr. film, but something akin to it. It’s also amusing that the sheriff enlists the help of drive-in theater goers to wrangle the Herculean hares. I imagine a drive-in theater would have been the perfect venue for this flick.” Exclamation Mark
Alternate MGM poster: