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Night of the Lepus

97 customer reviews

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Night of the Lepus + Empire of the Ants / Tentacles (Midnite Movies Double Feature) + Kingdom of the Spiders (Special Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Okay, movie fans. To all of you who like nothing better than to nuke some corn, dim the lights and settle in with cinematic mutations like gargantuan 'gators, fearsome frogs, awesome ants and monstrous moths, we quote this film: "Ladies and gentlemen, attention! There is a herd of killer rabbits headed this way!" A hormone intended to alter the breeding cycle of rabbits overrunning ranchlands instead turns them into flesh-eating, 150-pound monsters in Night of the Lepus. Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun and DeForest Kelley are among the intrepid humans facing the behemoth bunnies. They use guns, flames and dynamite to subtract them. But the rampaging rabbits know how to multiply. Can anything stop these hare-y scary monsters?

Amazon.com

Whoever persuaded MGM to make a movie about giant, bloodthirsty bunnies must have been some kind of mad genius. Night of the Lepus features Stuart Whitman (star of such classics as Omega Cop and Demonoid, Messenger of Death) and Janet Leigh (whose career had taken a downturn from Psycho) as a pair of scientists who say things like "I wish I knew what the effects of this serum would be--let's hope it works" as they inject test rabbits with hormones that turn them into slavering, carnivorous giant bunnies. That's the plot; the rest of the movie is scenes of giant bunnies attacking horses, giant bunnies jumping through windows to attack people, giant bunnies running in herds down the freeway...lots and lots of giant bunnies, sometimes with blood smeared across their ferocious jaws as they rear up to attack. The special effects are breathtakingly cheap; the bloody corpses are actors with red syrup splashed over them. But what makes Night of the Lepus even more astonishing is that the dvd features dubbing in French, presumably for European viewers bored with their usual diet of Truffaut and Rohmer. In fact, the movie makes more sense in French (assuming you don't actually speak the language); you can pretend it was created by an inspired Surrealist, and that Janet Leigh says things like "My bicycle has wheels of cheese" or "Beauty kisses my savage earlobe," instead of "Rabbits aren't exactly Roy's bag." Also starring Rory Calhoun (Roller Blade Warriors: Taken by Force) and DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy on the original Star Trek), who wears several colorful turtlenecks. A camp classic. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun, DeForest Kelley, Paul Fix
  • Directors: William F. Claxton
  • Writers: Don Holliday, Gene R. Kearney, Russell Braddon
  • Producers: A.C. Lyles
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 4, 2005
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A0GOGE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,084 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Night of the Lepus" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Koppel on November 1, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Rabbits are destroying a rancher's land. He doesn't want to have to resort to poison so a friend (DeForrest Kelley) brings in a researcher who decides to try hormones. He gets a hold of a "serum" but does not know what the effects will be. Add a little daughter who loves one of the test rabbits and a few unlikely occurrences and a test rabbit winds up in the general population.

All too quickly rabbits the size of wolves (that's what they keep saying in the movie but they are quite a bit larger) begin to overrun the area. The researcher comes up with a way to stem the tide of fur but not before many people die.

I originally saw this many, many years ago on late night TV. This DVD was gorier than I remember and really quite well done even if the writing was weak. One really gets the sense that they rabbits are huge and deadly. Some of the plot weaknesses are worse than others but my personal favorite is that the researcher who created the beasts is not held responsible and is treated as a hero. One of the best giant animal films in terms of the animals really looking like giants. Check it out.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Michael on February 9, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am very disappointed in this release. They deleted the best WORST parts of the movie. For instance, there was a scene when the rancher was being attacked. He and a guy in a rabbit suit crash through the window. They wrestle around on the floor and bed, basically fist-fighting each other. Then, the large rabbit is back outside next to the toy models again. It was one of the many reasons I couldn't wait to see this movie again on DVD! I can't believe MGM said, "Wait! Before we release this, let's clean up the really bad parts first!" Very disappointed, indeed. Otherwise, it's a 5 star C movie from the 70s. Did I mention, I was very dissapointed???
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Claudia McGill on July 5, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this movie at a drive-in in the 1970's, as a teenager. It's really not a five star movie in the sense of being a great movie artistically (far from it--), but it's just the thing for its genre - the drive-in movie. If you were seeing it at $5 a carload, even better. You'll enjoy it for its sheer audacity. I can only imagine what the giant rabbits would be like in today's technology - but the unsophisticated effects are part of this movie's appeal - at least for me. Entertaining.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 3, 2010
Format: DVD
Loosely based on a 1962 novel THE YEAR OF THE ANGRY RABBIT by Russell Braddon, this very silly movie finds Stuart Whitman and Janet Leigh starring as a couple of zoologists who run afoul of giant killer rabbits in the American southwest. Although described as "a young couple," Whitman and Leigh were in their mid-forties at the time and they don't try to hide it. Whitman phones in his performance; Leigh, who looks like she got hit by a Tammy Wynette truck, doesn't even try. The cast is rounded out by Roy Calhoun as an irate rancher, DeForest Kelley as a unlikely university professor, and two remarkably untalented child actors named Melanie Fullerton and Chris Morell.

The story gets underway when Whitman and Leigh are called upon to figure out how to get rid of an overpopulation of wild rabbits that look supiciously like domesticated rabbits--a problem the script tries to account for by noting a recent and local mass escape of domestic rabbits that have enter the population. Whatever the case, Whitman and Leigh try a few experiments, including some genetic modifications. Unfortunately, their obnoxious child switches rabbits on them and then accidentally releases one of the modified ones into the wild. By nightfall the rabbits have become great big things and are nibbling folks to death all over the place.

It would be difficult to count the follies included in this film, but the most notorious one is the rabbits. Most of the time they are just regular bunny rabbits filmed hopping around on miniture sets. There are a lot of close ups of rabbit eyes. Very often rabbit faces are smeared with the same red syrup we find poured all over the so-called corpses.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By cookieman108 on October 8, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw a peanut stand, heard a rubber band, I saw a needle that winked its eye. But I think I will have seen everything, when I see a...herd of giant killer rabbits?! Directed by William F. Claxton ("Bonanza", "Love, American Style"), Night of the Lepus (1972) stars Stuart Whitman (Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, Shatter), Rory Calhoun (Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood, Revenge of Bigfoot), and Janet Leigh (Psycho, The Manchurian Candidate), in what probably isn't considered by most to be a highpoint in her cinematic career that spanned 50 years before she passed away in October of 2004...as far as Whitman is concerned, he was perfectly suited for this film. It's not that I hate the guy or anything, but I have been subjected to a number of stinkaroo projects in which he was prominently featured. Also appearing is DeForest "Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor!" Kelley (Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan), Paul Fix ("The Rifleman"), and Melanie Fullerton ("The Gun and the Pulpit").

The film starts off with a special news report talking about population issues, specifically focusing on the dangers of introducing non-native wildlife to an unprepared ecosystem, to which we see footage of Australians battling a populous lepus aka rabbit scourge, initially brought in as a possible food source, but since have run amok due to their enthusiastic breeding and an insufficient predatory balance. We also learn a similar occurrence is happening in the American southwest...Cole Hillman (Calhoun) runs a cattle ranch, threatened by an ever increasing hare population, devouring his cattle's grazing lands (apparently he had a coyote problem prior, and the solution worked too well, leaving the rabbits without a natural balance).
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