Traditionally Easter is a time of sacrifice and celebration. When Christians round the world remember the death and subsequent resurrection of the almighty Jesus Christ.
Nowadays, it’s an excuse for many of us to take time off work and gorge ourselves on chocolate.
In cinema however, one of the festival’s most cherished symbols has come to mean something much more sinister. The Easter Bunny we know and love is that cutesy, big eared bringer of treats, but in other instances it’s become a demoniac dream figure or towering killer creature.
In keeping with the festive spirit, here’s a list of some of the most frightening bunnies in film:
Frank, Donnie Darko (2001)
This Supernatural Drama flick is best remembered for its freakish rabbit costumed figure called Frank, who coaxes a troubled teenager into believing that the world will end in little under a month.
As chaos ensues, the said bunny becomes not only a source of criminality and destruction, but also the unconscious route to protagonist, Donnie’s, mental decline- appearing in dream sequences and hallucinations to warn us of his increasing schizophrenic state of mind.
General Woundwort, Watership Down (1978)
A classic adventure novel turned movie about a group of anthropomorphised rabbits who escape the trappings of a conflict fraught warren and seek to establish a new home elsewhere.
Leading the warren is General Woundwort- for all intents and purposes, the evil bunny. His role is that of savage overlord, who hesitates at neither murder nor manipulation to keep order among the general population. He is proof alone that carrot munchers also like to gnaw on bones from time to time.
Night of the Lepus (1972)
Perhaps the most ridiculous example. Here, our domestic furry friends have mutated into an army of carnivorous killers who stalk a small town in Arizona.
As their growing numbers spiral out of control, local townspeople rely on explosives and scientific experimentation do away with them, before eventually calling upon the help of the National Guard. Widely critcised for it’s poor directing, crap acting, and amateur special effects, it’s as funny as it is gruesome.
Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! (2006)
Director Chad Ferrin had the festive season well in mind when he created this no holds barred horror film. Get this- it’s about a murderous crook who holds up a convenience store the night before Easter while donning an Easter bunny mask.
It features blood, guts,sex, drugs, and, just in case you missed the most obvious allusion of the film, a real life rabbit alleged to be the Easter bunny. It’s the pin-up example for everything cosmetic about Easter nowadays.
The Bunny Man, Cabin Fever (2002)
In yet another example of man-in-rabbit-costume-plays-evil-creature, Cabin Fever takes fancy dress to sinister heights with, The Bunny Man- a zip- up dream monster which appears in a hospital ward during a hallucinogenic spell on part of one of the main characters.
Many have likened The Bunny Man to the person in the dog suit from The Shining– who, for a brief, nightmarish moment flashes across screen and is seen going down on a man in a tuxedo.
For an altogether darker vision on nature’s cuddly egg bearers this Easter, be sure to check out some of the above titles. You’ll never look at rabbits in the same way again.