Blu-ray Review: NIGHT OF THE LEPUS

NIGHT OF THE LEPUS is based on the novel “The Year of the Angry Rabbit” by Russell Braddon. The movie was directed by William F. Claxton from a screenplay by Don Holliday and Gene R. Kearney and stars Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun and DeForest Kelley.

How many eyes does horror have? How many times will terror strike? There was no limit to the horror … no end to the Night Of The Lepus! A hormone intended to alter the breeding cycle of rabbits overrunning Arizona ranchlands ends up turning them into flesh-eating, 150-pound monsters in Night of the Lepus. Stuart Whitman (Eaten Alive), Janet Leigh (Psycho), Rory Calhoun (Motel Hell) and DeForest Kelley (Star Trek) are among the intrepid humans facing off against the behemoth bunnies, using guns, flames, dynamite and anything else in their grasp to battle their oversized, hungry tormentors.

This 1972 cult classic follows Arizona rancher Cole Hillman (Rory Calhoun) who is dealing with a huge rabbit overpopulation on his land. He ends up calling the local college president, Elgin Clark (DeForest Kelley), to help him with this issue and he brings in researchers Roy (Stuart Whitman) and Gerry Bennett (Janet Leigh) to try and humanely resolve the problem.

What happens is, they inject the wabbits with some chemicals that’s supposed to sterilize and stop them from reproducing but this procedure backfires with shocking consequences that ends up mutating the rabbits, turning them into giant, blood-thirsty monsters that start killing every human who gets in their way. The small group comes up with several different attempts to put a stop to the giant horde of hippity-hoppities but none of them work until a “shocking” masterful plan is put into place that ultimately stops the terrifying killing spree before more innocent lives are lost.

The front of the packaging features the classic artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. Scream Factory has given Night if the Lepus a 2K scan from the original film elements. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition disc were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Night of the Lepus is another oldie I’ve heard a lot about over the years but never had a chance to watch it until now. There was a basic formula used in these old eco-horror movies and this one simply followed it. where an experiment goes wrong and turns these rabbits into giant, blood-thirsty monsters. As bad as the concpet sounds, the movie had a great cast of familiar faces assembled in it and I thought the director did the best job he could with what he had to work with. The special effects used lots of miniature models and actors dressed in rabbit costumes for the close up scenes and kills and it all looks really good on screen. There’s some “scary” sound effects and even a little blood to go along with it all. The 70’s was a decade full of cheesy cool horror movies that tackled all kinds of issues, including the lovable bunny wabbit population that got out of control but unfortunately it was hard to make these furry critters frightening but MGM sure gave it one heck of a shot. Rifftrax has even had some fun with this 1972 cult classic.  Night of the Lepus will finally make its Blu-ray debut on June 19th thanks to Scream Factory.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 88 Minutes

Rated: PG

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include two new audio commentary tracks, the original theatrical trailer, a vintage TV spot, a vintage radio spot and some images.

  • NEW 2K scan of the original film elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary with author Lee Gambin (Massacred by Mother Nature: Exploring the Natural Horror Film)
  • NEW Audio Commentary with Pop Culture historian Russell Dyball
  • Theatrical Trailer (01:45)
  • TV Spot (00:22)
  • Radio Spot (00:34)
  • Still Gallery (04:46)





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