Night Of The Lepus (1972)(MGM)
Night of the Lepus, also known as Rabbits, is a 1972 American science fiction horror film based on the 1964 science fiction novel The Year of the Angry Rabbit. Released theatrically on October 4, 1972, it focuses on a group of people in a small Arizona town battling thousands of mutated, carnivorous killer rabbits. The film was the first science fiction work for both producer A.C. Lyles and director William F. Claxton, who both came from Western film backgrounds. Various character actors from Westerns the pair had worked on were brought in to star in the film, including Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun, and DeForest Kelley. 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.
Before its release, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) renamed the film from its original name of Rabbits, and avoided including rabbits in most promotional materials to try to keep the mutant creatures being featured a secret. However, the studio itself broke the secret by releasing rabbit foot themed promotional materials before the release. 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 inability to make the rabbits seem scary. The film has gained cult status for its badness, and was released to home video for the first time in October 2005 when it was released to Region 1 DVD.
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