DNDF: Killer Bunnies

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

DNDF: Killer Bunnies

So my daughter has been home all week with an unspecified virus and as of last night I am now the new breeding ground for N15H27 Super Jackalope-a-dactyl Death Flu.  So in honor of all the brave antibiotics and Tylenol that have died in my gut, let’s talk about bunnies!

Primal (2010)

  • Genre: Horror – Thriller
  • Directed: Josh Reed
  • Produced:
    • Nigel Christensen 
    • John Cordukes 
    • James Crawford 
    • Rob Gibson 
    • Josh Reed
  • Written:
    • Nigel Christensen (Story) 
    • Josh Reed (Story) 
    • Josh Reed (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Zoe Tuckwell-Smith, Krew Boylan, Lindsay Farris, Rebekah Foord, Damien Freeleagus, Wil Traval
  • Music: Rob Gibson
  • Cinematography: John Biggins
  • Editing: Josh Reed
  • Studio:
    • Primal Films 
    • AV Pictures 
    • Known Associates 
    • Talisman Films
  • Distributed:
    • IFC Midnight 
    • Umbrella Entertainment
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 23 September 2010
  • Running Time: 80 minutes
  • Country: Australia
  • Language: English

A group of friends pack up and head out to the Australian wilderness in order to to visit a secluded cave system and a rare set of aboriginal rock art.  Once there they all settle in for a short weekend stay but the the fun is soon cut short when one of the girls, Mel, falls violently ill after swimming.  Instead of leaving though the group assumes it's nothing more than an allergic reaction to leeches and they decide to let her sleep it off.

The next morning, instead of sleeping in her tent and recovering, they discover Mel feasting on the carcass of a dead rabbit!  Far from getting "better," Mel has transformed into a flesh-eating monster, a primal beast that hunts down its prey, eats its fill and sacrifices the remainder to something dwelling deep within the cave.

Forced to defend themselves against the ravenous mutant, the only way to survive becomes increasingly clear, kill Mel before she kills them!

If you were to combine 70s/80s backwoods survival with 2K10 zombie cinema, you'd probably get something very similar to Josh Reed's Primal; a thrilling, low budget shocker with healthy portions of nasty gore, noisy sex, snarling mutant monsters and 12,000 year old alien presence.  There's nothing particularly genre-changing here but the film features competent direction, acting worthy of applause and high production values, all of which add up to entertaining horror that looks and sounds good.


Forever Dead (2007)

  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed: Christine Parker
  • Produced:
    • Sting Cain 
    • Bret Harris 
    • Michael Christopher Jones 
    • Michael Kutsick 
    • Andy Miller 
    • Bill Mulligan 
    • Christine Parker 
    • Nivek Rahlenbeck 
    • Jessie D. Read 
    • Edward Warner 
    • Joe Wilson
  • Written:
    • Bill Mulligan 
    • Christine Parker
  • Starring: Bill Mulligan, Libby Lynn, Jessie Walley, Ryan Williams, Brian Chippewa, Jaqueline Martini, Liesl Owle, Patrick Loree
  • Music: Christine Parker
  • Cinematography: Christine Parker
  • Editing:
    • Bill Mulligan 
    • Christine Parker 
    • Joe Wilson
  • Studio: The Adrenalin Group Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Gravitas Ventures  
    • Brain Damage Films  
    • Maxim Media International
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 30 September 2007
  • Running Time: 100 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

A rabbit escapes from a shady university lab along with Jeffrey Lupus, an eccentric research scientist.  Lupus partner Adam released the rabbit to ruin Lupus research and discredit him because Jeff had an affair with his wife Emma.  What he doesn’t realize is just how contagious the rabbit is and how long reaching the effects are when it comes in contact with humans.  It doesn’t take long before the rabbit has infected an entire rural community, turning its victims into mindless flesh eating monsters.

One by one people affected by the outbreak find their lives hopelessly intertwined when they end up at a creepy old house trying to escape the creatures.  Lupus is pursued by his lab assistant Alice who finds herself pursued by two crazed rednecks.  Lupus, thanks to Adam, is slowly losing his mind and sees visions of rabbits everywhere.

Adam becomes trapped in his own misdeeds when he kills his wife and she turns into one of the creatures.  He finds himself using her as a guinea pig to see just what will kill them.  Lupus rebellious daughter Mary is so traumatized by the fact that her own mother just tried to eat her, that she is unable to speak.  She can only glare at her father who is so far gone he doesn’t even recognize her.  Tracy was the detective who got the goods on Adams wife and Lupus.  She just shot her boyfriend in the head when the infected rabbit turned him into a mindless slobbering fool.  He didn’t die either and roams outside with the others, trying to find a way in.  Teddy and Todd, are thieves on the run.  Todd robbed Adams house a few weeks back and knows all his dirty little secrets.

These six people may be the only survivors, the question is can they survive each other, or will the creatures get them first?


Night of the Lepus (1972)

  • Genre: Horror - Sci-Fi – Thriller
  • Directed: William F. Claxton
  • Produced: A.C. Lyles
  • Written:
    • Russell Braddon (Novel “The Year of the Angry Rabbit”) 
    • Don Holliday (Screenplay) 
    • Gene R. Kearney (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun, DeForest Kelley
  • Music: Jimmie Haskell
  • Cinematography: Ted Voigtlander
  • Editing: John McSweeney Jr.
  • Studio: A.C. Lyles Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer  
    • Columbia Broadcasting System  
    • Cinefear  
    • Warner Home Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 4 October 1972
  • Running Time: 88 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Rancher Cole Hillman (Rory Calhoun) seeks the help of college president Elgin Clark (DeForest Kelley) to combat thousands of rabbits that have invaded the area after their natural predators, coyotes, were killed off.  Elgin asks for the assistance of researchers Roy (Stuart Whitman) and Gerry Bennett (Janet Leigh) because they respect Cole's wish to avoid using cyanide to poison the rabbits.  Roy proposes using hormones to disrupt the rabbits' breeding cycle and takes some rabbits for experimentation.  One is injected with a new serum believed to cause birth defects.  However, the Bennett's daughter Amanda (Melanie Fullerton) loves the injected rabbit, so she switches it with one from the control group.  Amanda is then given the injected rabbit as a pet, but it soon escapes.

While inspecting the rabbits' old burrowing areas, Cole and the Bennets find a large, unusual animal track. Meanwhile, Cole's son Jackie (Chris Morrell) and Amanda go to a gold mine to visit Jackie's friend Billy but find him missing.  Jackie finds more of the animal tracks in Billy's shed, while Amanda goes into the mine and runs into an enormous rabbit with blood on its face.  Screaming in terror, she runs from the mine.

Mutilated bodies begin to crop up around town, including Billy, a truck driver, and a family of four.  Elgin, the Bennets, Cole, and Cole's two ranch hands, Frank (Henry Wills) and Jud (Chuck Hayward), go to the mine to try to kill the rabbits with explosives.  As Elgin and Cole set charges on top of the mine, Roy and Frank enter the shaft to get pictorial evidence.  Outside, a rabbit surfaces and attacks Jud before Gerry can shoot it.  Roy and Frank escape the rabbits in the mine and run outside as the explosives are detonated.

The explosives fail to kill the rabbits, and that night they attack Cole's ranch, killing Jud while Cole, Frank, Jackie, and Cole's housekeeper escape into the storm shelter.  The rabbits make their way to the small town of Galanos, killing everyone they find before taking refuge in the buildings for the day.  In the morning, Gerry and Amanda leave to avoid the coming press but get stuck along a sandy stretch of road.  Roy and Elgin update Sheriff Cody (Paul Fix) on the situation and, after realizing the rabbits have escaped the mine, call in the National Guard.  As night falls, the rabbits leave Galanos to continue making their way to the main town, Ajo, killing everything in sight.  Cole proposes using a half-mile wide stretch of electrified railroad track as a fence to contain and kill the rabbits.  They recruit a large group of people at a drive in theater to help herd the rabbits with their car lights, with assistance from the machine gun fire of the National Guard.

Thousands of rabbits make their way into the trap, where they are shot and electrocuted.  At the end of the film, Cole tells Roy that normal rabbits, as well as coyotes, have returned to the ranch.

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