Well, it’s that time of year again, when we celebrate the day that Jesus brought the Easter Bunny back to life after ODing on those chocolate Cadbury Crème Egg things my grandma always has in a bowl on her living room table, at which time the Bunny ascended to Heaven with Santa Claus and a healthy number of the reindeer and Keebler elves (I’m pretty sure, anyway—I dunno, my Bible study’s a little rusty).
Anyway, to commemorate this Sunday’s Easter celebration, we’ve cobbled together a little list of cinema’s most whacked-out rabbit moments in recent memory—seriously, the bunnies have carved themselves out an odd and often kinda disturbing little corner for themselves in celluloid. Check it out.
5. Rabbits Get Religion – Watership Down (1978)
So get this—in Watership Down, the animated adaptation of Richard Adams’ book of the same name, God is really an animal named Lord Frith, and one of his princes is a rabbit named El-ahrairah, who rebels against Frith’s decision to create predators by making rabbits super-quick (both physically and mentally). And that’s just the prologue. The rest of the surprisingly moving (I’m not saying I cried! Leave me along, you guys!) tale concerns a group of anthropomorphized rabbits with their own culture and religion (one rabbit even has the power of prophecy) as they leave their warren to set up a safer home somewhere else.
It’s about as oddball as oddball gets; however, it’s also about as touching as an animated film about talking bunnies can get, too.
4. A Rabbit Marries A Hot Human Lounge Singer, Is Accused Of Murder – Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
Speaking of animated talking bunnies, a list of cinema’s most whacked-out rabbits wouldn’t be complete without including a dude named Roger. Playing like Bugs Bunny out of his mind on speed and obsessed with his estranged and bombshell human wife, Roger Rabbit was the star of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, a film which tossed its titular hero in the middle of a complex conspiracy in which a secret war is launched against the cartoon world (which just so happens to be real).
A classic film that’s really kind of insane if you go back and watch it again, featuring as it does a neurotic rabbit married to a sexy lounge singer embroiled in an assassination conspiracy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and its namesake hero is truly one of the best—and craziest—comedies of the 1980s.
3. Hollywood Murders Bugs Bunny – Space Jam (1996)
So completely the opposite of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? in every way that it may well have originated from that evil alternate universe in which we all have goatees and are left-handed, 1996’s Space Jam has a pretty simple Hollywood premise: “Hey, what if we took one of the most beloved animated characters of all time, and we made him really suck? And then, what if we teamed him up with one of the most beloved athletes of all time, and we made him suck, too? And then, what if we dropped them into one of least funny comedies ever, totally exploited the public goodwill towards the Loony Tunes, and then made them play basketball against a bunch of aliens or something?” And thus, a rabbit icon was destroyed.
2. Frank The Rabbit Messes With A Kid’s Head (And Yours, Too) – Donnie Darko (2001)
Ok, this is a little tough to explain for those who haven’t seen the cult film Donnie Darko, but… let’s see here… essentially, um, a jet engine falls off of a plane, which starts destabilizing this and other, parallel universes, and it’s up to a disturbed teenager named Donnie to set it all back to rights. Unless it’s all in his head. Which it might be. Along the way, he’s led around by dude in a rabbit costume named Frank, who might be his sister’s dead boyfriend, a figment of Donnie’s imagination, an image created by those in the proper timeline in order to manipulate Donnie into saving them, or just some dude named God.
It gets a little muddled there. Oh, and somewhere along the way, Patrick Swayze is a self-help pedophile. Best to just hold on for the ride.
1. Rabbits Get Huge, Get Creepy, Then Eat Us – Night of the Lepus (1972)
What can be said of Night of the Lepus? Tell you what—I’ll skip the editorializing, and just let you dig a plot synopsis, directly from Wikipedia: “Released theatrically on October 4, 1972, it focuses on members of a small Arizona town who battle thousands of mutated, carnivorous killer rabbits.” Yep, that’s pretty much it.
Ok, let me editorialize just a little: This is the most insane film I have ever seen. Seriously, it’s just a bunch of insanely giant rabbits terrorizing a small western town, until they all get electrocuted at the end. Truly, one of the most bizarre and ridiculous films ever produced in the 1970s, it is must see Easter viewing. Watch this film immediately. That’s all I can say.