Happy Beaster, you egg-cellent fright fans! As an Easter gift to all you perturbing Peeps out there, I thought I’d draw attention to a race of creatures capable of unfathomable terror… Bunnies! On this site, we often talk of ghouls, ghosts, madmen, creatures, demons, bugaboos, boogeymen, freaks, creeps, and just about everything that goes bump in the night… but it’s the Bunny you must fear above all. With teeth as sharp as daggers and eyes that are often as red as fresh blood, the Bunny hops along this earth with silent menace and a nose twitching like an unhinged lunatic. The worst of these creatures is The Easter Bunny: a being who barges into the homes of little ones, leaving… eggs. Why does he do this? Nobody really knows. Perhaps, when they hatch, they’ll unleash horrible, toothy beasts with taste for human flesh. Maybe that’s how he spies on you… each egg serving as his eyes. Whatever the reason, it must be nefarious. That is, after all, the nature of the Bunny. To celebrate the day, I have arranged a list of the most terrifying bunnies to ever haunt the screen. I must warn you, dear readers, that there will be intense bunny-based horror in the following videos and images. Now that you have been warned, we can hop right into the madness.
1.) The Hat Rabbit from Twilight Zone: The Movie
Our first beastly bunny makes the briefest of appearances, but leaves a heck of an impression. Appearing in Joe “Gremlins” Dante’s wonderfully cartoonish take the classic It’s a Good Life story, this featured creature turns Kevin “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” McCarthy’s simple hat trick into a feat of monstrous magical mayhem! Ta-Da!
2.) The Lepus from Night of the Lepus
This is film, coincidentally, has the same plot as my recurring nightmare: a group of giant, mutant rabbits ravage a small town and feast upon the innocent. To make things even more ghastly, the filmmakers used actually bunnies to portray the monsters! Janet Leigh stars as one of the humans hunted by the rabid rabbits. I hope they don’t make her go Psycho…
3.) The Easter Bunny from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
Without a doubt, the most terrifying thing in a film that deals with Hell, Satan, and Death! In Hell, Ted is forced to face his “irrational” fear of The Easter Bunny. I always knew that The Bunny was in league with The Devil!
4.) January Q. Irontail from Here Comes Peter Cottontail
How could one resist a stop-motion bunny from Rankin-Bass and Vincent Price? Dressed to scare in frightful black, this Price-voiced fiend will stop at nothing to do Easter HIS way. Irontail’s Easter would include chocolate tarantulas, octopi, and Easter galoshes replacing the Easter bonnets. Where do I sign up for this Easter?
5.) The White Rabbit from JanSvankmajer’s Alice
Jan Svankmajer is certainly a stop-motion genius, but darn if he doesn’t know how to scare the stuffing out of us. Why, he does the same to his characters. In his take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, his White Rabbit is a taxidermy rabbit who is losing sawdust, which flows out of his stomach. When his stuffing falls out, he simply secures the whole in his chest with pins and eats the sawdust! I bet Walt Disney wishes he had come up with that quirk!
Honorable Mention: TheKiller Rabbit of Caerbannog from Monty Python and the Holy Grail
I excluded this big bad bunny from the main list because I wanted to spotlight lesser-known rabbit creeps. Most people are very familiar with this bad-tempered rodent. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t a formidable fiend. I mean, he’s got a vicious streak a mile wide! He’s a killer! There’s much to fear about this fuzzy lil’ devil.
(Submitted by Mr. Anton Phibes…Thank you, my ho-wling ho-rror ho-mie. ☺ xoxo)
GOOD LORD!!! *choke*
The full moon is upon us once more! Crime will run rampant, madness will reign, and werewolves will be seen drinking Pina Colodas at Trader Vic’s! After you finish barring your windows and preparing for the chaos, I suggest you celebrate tonight’s lunar lunacy by watching the classic tale of lycanthropy by those brilliant wackos at Hammer Films, Curse of the Werewolf. Since they’ve already made Frankenstein, Dracula,The Mummy, and had a Phantom of the Opera coming, Hammer just HAD to get in the Werewolf game.
Curse of the Werewolf is ostensibly based on Guy Endore’s novel, Werewolf of Paris. Hammer had been working on a Spanish Inquisition picture, until the censors put a stop to that out. With the sets and costumes already prepared, the ever-resourceful folks at Hammer decided to set their Werewolf of Paris adaptation in Spain. Based on that info, I’m sure you can gather that this film has very little to do with Werewolf of Paris. However, what we get instead is a delightfully daffy werewolf film and one of my favorite creature features.
Curse of the Werewolf begins with one of the weirdest set-ups for any werewolf film: a narrator tells of a small Spanish village, governed by a tyrannical marquis. A humble, yet mentally unstable beggar ventures to the cruel ruler’s castle to beg for a scrap of food, only to be humiliated and jailed. Our tragic vagabond is forgotten in time, becoming more beast than man over the years. The only person he ever has any contact with is the mute servant girl, who regularly feeds him. Time passes and the girl grows into a woman and the beggar has completely lost anything resembling humanity. An aged, decrepit Marquis makes advances on the woman, who refuses him entirely. Overcome with rage, the monstrous Marquis has her thrown into the dungeon with the now-demented beggar, who rapes her and then promptly dies. She’s taken in by the kind Alfredo Corledo, who finds that the girl is pregnant with the child of the beggar. It is said that any unwanted child born on Christmas is an affront to God, and this unfortunate boy happens to be born on that very day, cursing him to be a werewolf for his entire life until the day he dies… I told you it was weird!
Part of why all of this strangeness works is that the film takes its premise with complete sincerity, treating it as the tragedy it is. That earnestness allows the audience to truly care for the boy who’s only sin was being born on the wrong day. Because of this, Curse of the Werewolf feels as much like a fairy tale as it does a spook picture. Love will set the beast free as in many fairy tales, but things may not end well for the beast because he is in a horror film. Hammer has crafted the kind of monster movie where the monster scares you, yet has the viewer just as scared for the monster.
Master Terence Fisher is behind the camera, so we are guaranteed a prime Hammer experience before the film even begins. Fisher is in top form here, delivering that fantastic Hammer atmosphere we all crave, complete with the brilliant sets and costumes we’ve come to expect. Gaudy colors are contrasted with shadows, painting the kind of macabre beauty Hammer is known for. While it may take place in Spain, the traditional Hammer flourishes paired the Spanish architecture create what feels like an entirely new world, one where such curious and bizarre tale would take place.
Professional hellraiser Oliver Reed portrays Leon Corledo, the young man besmirched by fate to become a werewolf. Reed is just about perfect here. Leon’s rage and frustration feel disturbingly real. His dark, handsome features serve him well. Reed projects an aura of tragedy, yet lends a downright terrifying menace to the wolf creature. Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot/The Wolf Man is a likable goofball that wins us over with his charm, but Reed’s Leon is a sad, moving creature even before he changes. Both men deserve to be commended, but Reed may be the most terrifically tragic wolfman to ever grace the street and terrorize the masses.The supporting players all play their parts well, but this is Reed’s horror show.
The arsenic-laced cherry on top of this toxic sundae is the physical appearance of the Werewolf. Roy Ashton, Hammer’s go-to make-up wiz, really out-does himself. With grayish fur, an almost square head, and Reed’s stocky build, this Werewolf is a fright to behold. Between this, their first Frankenstein monster, and the masked design of their Phantom of the Opera, Hammer proved they could step out of Universal’s shadow and recreate classic ghouls that could scare proudly on their own. One wishes they had a chance to reimage the Creature from the Black Lagoon…
Remember fiends, beware the full moon and check out Curse of the Werewolf. Hammer was at their zenith and their fanged freak still resonates to those with a soft spot for big hairy monsters. Give it a view… you wouldn’t want to offend Ol’ Leon… would you?
(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, my wickedly awesome Ho-rror Ho-mie!! 🙂 xoxo)
You know who we always pick on and rarely give credit to? Canadians. Everyone is always taking jabs at them for being so polite and then when a sexist, racist sociopath gets elected President, guess where everybody wants to move to all of a sudden? And if there’s a freaky horror movie that has a bunch of a white people, it must be American. Hey, how about giving some credit to our neighbors to the North, why don’t you, eh? There have actually been some really great horror films to come out of Canada, like My Bloody Valentine, Blood and Donuts (a film that desperately needs a Blu-ray release), The Brain, anything by David Cronenberg, Deathdream and Black Christmas (two of my personal favorite films) Curtains, The Editor, Happy Birthday to Me, the Prom Night films and The Pit. I could keep going on. Of course there have also been films like The Amityville Curse, Skullduggery, some of the Resident Evil movies… some of the Prom Night movies, but we’re supposed to be looking at the good films Canada has brought us, most notably the last one I mentioned, The Pit. I wouldn’t have realized this was a Canadian movie if it weren’t for their distinct way of pronouncing certain words, most notably ‘sorry’ as ‘sore-ee’.
If I were to sum up The Pit, it would be an underrated 1981 hidden gem about a young boy who’s off his rocker and feeds people to these ancient creatures he found at the bottom of a pit. Sounds pretty straightforward and kinda like a drive-in, exploitation film, but Canada has more class than that or perhaps we were mislead seeing as that’s a tactic movies are known to do. The creatures in the pit actually play a very small part and the bulk of the movie is about how mentally unstable the kid actually is and his sick obsession with the older woman that is babysitting him. Oh, and he talks to his teddy bear who gives him evil suggestions, representing his darker half. So, even though the film has creature feature elements, it’s more of a psychological thriller along the lines of something like The Good Son only without any Culkin.
Twelve year old Jamie is what you would call an autistic child who doesn’t have any friends and is an outcast by his peers all while discovering his newfound sexuality, lust for older women and has conversations with his teddy bear appropriately named Teddy who often suggests Jamie to do bad things, representing his Jamie’s evil thoughts and sexual impulses. Hey, we’ve all been there, amirite? Jamie is actually set up very quickly and he’s a character that you can easily feel sympathetic for, seeing as how some dickweed bully socks him right in the nose when Jamie asks him politely if he can join in his club. He’s someone we can all relate to, especially when he’s accused of swinging on a vine in the nude wearing a Superman cape and is seen staying after class for punishment for having clipped out some naked bodies from an artbook and gluing his teacher’s head to them. We’ve all been there, don’t deny it. He’s awkward, he’s shy and he has a big secret; he knows where there’s a pit with four creatures he calls “Tra-la-logs”. Great, a kid on the verge of cracking and going apeshit and he knows where a bunch of carnivorous cave dwellers live.
Jamie’s parents leave town for a business trip and leave him in the care of the adorable Sandy, who is just too cute for words. Jamie must think so too since he immediately falls in love with her and shows this by watching her sleep with a breast exposed or watching her shower and writing “I LOVE YOU” with lipstick on the mirror. Jamie does a lot of watching. He also tells her about the trogs and that nobody else knows about them. You have to wonder what they are eating while they are down there and as you may have guessed, Jamie has been feeding them store bought meat and that’s getting too expensive. What’s a lunatic little boy to do? Teddy tells Jamie (which is Jamie’s deepest, darkest thoughts) that the answer is to feed the trogs all the bad people they don’t like and seeing as how his teacher’s niece is mean to him, the old lady down the street thinks he’s a punkass and Sandy has a boyfriend, it seems like a good solution. A nice, hijinks filled montage follows as Jamie feeds his little pit friends and I have to be honest, it’s kinda hilarious. Other hijinks include Jamie playing back his voice on a recorder over the phone to his teacher that instructs her to get naked in front of the window where he can see as Jamie hides in the bushes and takes photos (unbeknownst to her). Teddy is all about that pervy shit and even comments on how he is going to look at them all the time. It’s at about this point you are realizing just how uncomfortable this movie can make you feel.
After everything that’s been happening, the movie realizes it needs to involve the trogs more (which really haven’t had much screen time) and Jamie convinces Sandy to follow him to the pit to prove that they are real. Sandy, in all of her excitement, believing that they should tell someone, falls into the pit and gets eaten and a heartbroken Jamie decides he can no longer take care of them and lowers a rope to let them loose. Seeing as there is still about twenty minutes left in the film, it tries to squeeze in as much chaos as possible, including some gore! Yes, the film has virtually been bloodless up until this point and although the chaos is short lived, it wraps up with Jamie moving to his grandparents house and finally making a friend… or does he?
Things got pretty weird here in The Pit and they were intended to get a whole lot weirder. The director originally wanted to give the film a more serious tone and more of a view through the eyes of a child which would have made this film a whole hell of a lot darker, but changed the tone for whatever reason. Maybe it would have been too uncomfortable, ya know? Like a 12 year old’s sexual obsession with a beautiful woman probably wasn’t something audiences were ready to handle back then. Also, Jamie casually and quickly hints that his relationship with his mother may not be the healthiest and possibly reaches near sexual levels. This would have really shifted the film into some dark territory, but somehow I don’t think it would mesh well with little creatures eating people at the bottom of a large hole in the ground. Another thing that keeps it from getting too dark is the whacky, clownish music that accompanies the montage of Jamie feeding people to the trogs. Well, you could argue that it makes it darker, but it feels like it’s being played for laughs.
We haven’t talked much about the trogs, have we? Well, for a horror film of this caliber, they look… alright. Like, little hairy creatures with yellow glowing eyes and I could see how that would scare a younger audience. Think if the critters had big goblin noses, something like that. They are often hidden in the shadows and there are a few POV shots from the creatures, which is just a yellow tinted filter over the lens. From how the movie was marketed and from what you would normally expect from a movie like this, the trogs really don’t appear in the film that much. I would say maybe a total of ten minutes screen time. Most of the film is about Jamie and his awkward relationships with everyone and just how unbalanced and unhealthy he really is, although you never really see that element toyed with. He doesn’t seem unbalanced and becomes unhinged or violent, he’s just kinda at the same level, so you never really see any development in his character. You’re just watching him to see what he does next. However, actor Sammy Snyders plays little Jamie so convincingly and at times seems to go back and forth instantly from sane to insane which must have been a difficult role for a younger actor to play, so kudos to him.
The film has trace elements of a psycho-sexual Cronenberg film and kids dealing with monsters, like The Gate. It’s great to see that such an overlooked horror film that is surprisingly well done and really entertaining get a Blu-ray release. Kino Lorber released The Pit in a brand new 2K transfer that looks absolutely fantastic and put on more than enough special features to satisfy your appetite, like interviews with stars Sammy Snyders, screenwriter Ian A. Stewart and Jeannie Elias a trailer gallery and a commentary. The Pit is a freaky, dark journey with a psychotic and disturbed twelve year old boy as your pilot and his evil, yet persuasive teddy bear as the co-pilot. The destination they have for you is a series of scenes that will leave you feeling unwashed. Enjoy The Pit!
When a tragic bus accident involving a high power line claims the lives of all but sideshow performer Dan McCormick, he is taken in by kindly Dr. John Lawrence for studies involving mild doses of electricity. However, mad scientist Dr. Rigas (played by the great Lionel Atwill) wants to create a race of electrobiologically-driven zombies (who doesn’t??? :)) and believes that Dan would be the perfect subject. He gives McCormick progressively higher doses of electricity until his mind is ruined, and he is thoroughly addicted to the charge. (It happens to the best of us… ;)) McCormick eventually becomes a monster with an electrifying touch of death!
Dan is played by one other than the blue-collar monster himself, Mr. Lon Chaney Jr.!
Lon gives this electrified man a good mix of Average Joe charm and hulking menace, helping to create a great low budget-er from Universal…Shock it to me, baby! 😉 xoxoxo