Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Angry Rabbits

A different sort of apocalypse this time: Australian writer Russell Braddon's The Year of the Angry Rabbit, first published in 1964. This is the first comic take on the end of the world I've covered here: usually I prefer my armageddons done with deadly seriousness, John Christopher-style. But Angry Rabbit has a certain embarrassed place in my heart. Here are the hardcover and softcover jackets.




Australia has long had a feral rabbit problem, the apparently inoffensive creatures devouring vast quantities of crops and driving a number of native animals to near-extinction through competitive population pressure. A fairly horrible virus, Myxomatosis, was introduced here in 1950 in an attempt to wipe the rabbits out, but they have, for the most part, developed an immunity to it.

Angry Rabbit features scientists developing a new disease, Supermyx, to defeat the cunning rabbit hordes. The problem is that it doesn't do anything to the rabbits, but turns out to be instantly lethal to humans. Naturally enough, the Australian Prime Minister decided to use this accidental biological super-weapon to hold the world to ransom, leading to Australia's unlikely conquest of the globe. As you might expect, though, things do not go according to plan, the virus gets away, and worldwide carnage ensues. It's daft as a brush, but quite a lot of dated fun.

The story about the book does not end there, however.



In 1972, the book was unwisely filmed as Night of the Lepus. The setting was inevitably moved to the USA, and instead of a rampaging super-virus killing humans, the plot now involved a rampaging super-virus turning rabbits into bloodthirsty predators who then set about killing humans.



The central problem with this film, aside from the laughable acting, pathetic script-writing and woeful directing, is that rabbits are, in fact, incredibly cute, and not in the least bit scary. The poster artists did a valiant job...


..but these frames from the film all are too revealing.

Chilling!

The movie's trailer will leave you in no doubt as to the scale of the folly of this enterprise.

8 comments:

Joseph said...

Hee hee...this post immediately made me think of this: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_of_Caerbannog

JRSM said...

I can't believe I didn't think of that! I like this bit: "The woman who owned the real rabbit was unhappy with the amount of Kensington Gore in which it had been doused by the Python crew."

ctorre said...

He's got huge sharp... he can leap about... uh... LOOK AT THE BONES!!

Daniel_Rf said...

Love the tagline on the german poster: "here, even the strongest will learn to feel chills!"

JRSM said...

Well, that IS an important lesson.

Laura@popdesign said...

yes indeed, there is no limit to the horror...

Kerry said...

I wonder if this was the impetus for Monty Python to do killer rabbits right. Or is it just a lovely coincidence?

JRSM said...

I'd love to know if there's a connection--certainly the inadvertent absurdity of 'Lepus' would have been the Pythons' cup of tea.