Whether you’re celebrating Easter as a religious holiday or a Hallmark holiday — and an excuse to eat yourself into a chocolate-induced coma — spring has sprung. We’d like to believe that bunnies lay jellybean eggs and cluck like chickens on occasion, but pop culture has shown us that the cute and fuzzy creatures can actually be quite creepy. While you’re scouring the Internet for photos of children being terrorized by people in bunny costumes this morning, take a look back at these TV shows and movies that featured frightening rabbits.
The wicked bunnies in Martin Rosen’s 1978 animated movie Watership Down, based on Richard Adams’ bleak novel about a group of rabbits searching for Utopia far away from man, are a terrifying breed. They live in a warren that resembles hell and fight each other to the death. Watership Down’s nightmarish bunnies have been haunting childhood memories for decades.
We have Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko to thank for the creepy rabbit costumes that pop up every Halloween. Jake Gyllenhaal’s titular character is haunted by a demonic bunny named Frank that warns him the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. The director’s cut of the film revealed a double apocalyptic bunny whammy: a previously cut scene featured a classroom discussion of Richard Adams’ Watership Down and Martin Rosen’s film adaptation.
Jimmy Stewart’s character in 1950’s Harvey believed his best pal was a giant, invisible rabbit. Imaginary friends are harmless, but the concept is kooky when you’re a middle-aged man with a drinking problem and possible mental illness.
The idea of Bunnicula is far creepier than the actual Bunnicula in James and Deborah Howe’s book series, but anything with fangs — even if they do just suck the juice out of vegetables — has major creepy potential.
Gremlins director Joe Dante shot the third segment in the 1983 adaptation of Rod Serling’s 1960’s Twilight Zone TV series. Special effects legend Rob Bottin created some impressive work for Dante’s “It’s a Good Life,” but the image of a horrific rabbit being pulled out of a hat has emblazoned itself on our eyeballs for all eternity.
“In a nameless city deluged by a continuous rain, three rabbits live with a fearful mystery.” Thanks for the nightmares, David Lynch. You can watch the director’s Rabbits, a surreal series centering on a family of humanoid bunnies, over here.
Yes, we know that the 1972 schlockfest Night of the Lepus consists of a bunch of innocent bunnies, made to look horrific, filmed against a miniature set. Still, the cult movie about small-town residents battling mutant, bloodthirsty rabbits is so bizarre and absurd we had to include it.
Let’s play: is it Roger Rabbit or the side effects warnings in a methamphetamine PSA? Jumpy, jittery, anxious, and violent, Roger should be featured in a cameo on Breaking Bad.
Jan Švankmajer’s Alice, an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is an uncanny experience. His creepy version of the white rabbit is a real taxidermy bunny that wields a pair of scissors to chop off the heads of everyone around him.
Nobody loves a boiled bunny — especially one cooked by a jealous lunatic with a very large knife.