March 26, 2011

Night of the Lepus (1972)

Today we have a guest reviewer, Ralph the Killer Rabbit. He kindly offered to give us his unique perspective on Night of the Lepus:

All humans think bunnies are cute. This makes it extremely hard for a killer rabbit (Lepus homicidilis) to gain any respect. (Of course, looking like the average pet store bunny doesn’t help, even if we do sport sharp fangs and glowing red eyes.) But the U.S. killer rabbit population has never recovered from the insult that is Night of the Lepus.  

For ten generations now, we have cursed this film for turning us into laughingstocks.

Thanks to that film, humans now believe that:

Killer rabbits are the size of elephants.
If we really were that huge, we would have been hunted to extinction by now. Our small size enables us to kill quietly and quickly. My personal preference is for Chihuahuas and dachshunds—I’ve always been a dog rabbit, whereas my sisters generally prefer cats. Occasionally we band together to take down a small child.

Killer rabbits growl, snarl and roar. Bah! We move through grass as silently as a lioness moves through the savanna. Stealth is a predator’s best friend.
We have wimpy buck teeth that are usually covered in fake froth or bright orange, ketchupy “blood.”

Buck teeth disappeared long ago in Lepus homicidilis. Fangs make for much more efficient killing weapons. Which brings me to the next point...

Killer rabbits are undisciplined, wasteful predators.
The film depicts the rabbits as taking one bite out of a human, or crushing the human and leaving them otherwise untouched. A real killer rabbit would never let a bonanza like a full-grown human go to waste. Just like any real predator, we make sure to eat all the good bits—the internal organs, muscles, etc. Additionally, our mothers train us from birth in the arts of hunting and killing. Any kit that cannot hunt is immediately eaten by its littermates.
Thank you, Ralph! Now, the facts in a nutshell:

Nutrition Facts:

Vitamin B-Acting: 50%

Janet Leigh stars, and “Bones” McCoy makes a cameo. Most of the time the actors appear to be even more bored than the audience.

Vitamin B-SFX: 100%

As our friend Ralph has already mentioned, the blood effects are hilariously inept. The attempt to make the rabbits frightening by blowing up their size and using slo-mo/goofy camera angles fails, to say the least.

Vitamin Fun: 70%

“There is a herd of killer rabbits headed this way!” That’s really all you need to know.

Sugar: 0%

Plot Fiber: 0% 

The other version of the movie poster is also excellent--enjoy!


March 17, 2011

Leprechaun 3


This is the lamest movie in the entire Leprechaun series. The most terrifying things in the film are the hair and clothing, and we get not one, but TWO leprechauns spewing verses for 90 minutes.

Plot Summary

The Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) winds up in Vegas.
Through the typical it’s-in-the-script contrivances, a college boy, Scott (John Gatins) comes into the possession of Leprechaun’s golden shilling. Scott wins a fortune at the casinos thanks to the shilling, but Leprechaun wants it back. During a fight, Scott accidentally absorbs some of Leprechaun’s blood, and starts transforming into a Leprechaun. Can Scott and the buxom Tammy (Lee Armstrong) stop Leprechaun’s magic before Scott completes his transformation and is sentenced to a lifetime of hitting on women with dirty poetry?

Nutrition Facts

Vitamin B-Acting: 70%

The bad acting is more painful to watch and less fun in this installment, particularly by John Gatins. Actually, I had to feel sorry for the guy, considering he had to subject himself to repeating limericks like: 

There once was a lady of Totten
Whose tastes grew perverted and rotten.
She cared not for steaks
Or for pastries and cakes
But lived upon penis au gratin.


(Survival Tip: Keeping track of all the famous old dirty limericks that appear will make the movie more bearable—and it makes a natural drinking game!)

Lee Armstrong and the other actors don’t shirk on their bad acting, either. The Great Fazio, a hack magician played by John DeMita, and Loretta (Caroline Williams) are the best worst actors in this film. DeMita has no talent whatsoever, and Williams clearly was just having fun playing up her trashy character. 

Not as trashy as leopard print, but close, very close.

Vitamin B-SFX: 60%

The SFX looks cheap, and seems outdated even by 1995 standards, when this movie was released. The exploding fat suit is incredibly fake-looking. The killer sex robot is weirdly disappointing—that was the best Leprechaun could cook up? A relatively basic robot with a set of fake boobs taped to its chest?

At least we see some of the real things...

Vitamin Fun: 40%

The incessant rhyming got on my nerves, so down the rating goes. If it wasn't obvious by now, I hated this movie. I will give the writers their due—Vegas is a perfect setting for Leprechaun, and they certainly milked the setting for all it was worth.

Sugar: 0%

Why am I even bothering with this category for the Leprechaun series?

Plot Fiber: 20%

As usual, there are many, many problems with the script. However, I think it’s a better use of my time to conserve my Plot Fiber processing for Leprechaun 4 and 5. Those will be real challenges. Now I’m off to finish watching the first season of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex!

March 6, 2011

Leprechaun 2

St. Paddy’s is coming up, and what better way to celebrate than with the Leprechaun series?

You may notice that I’ve skipped the original movie and gone straight to #2. The captioning got messed up on my Leprechaun copy, so my tribute to Jennifer Aniston’s original nose will have to wait. But the rest of the movies offer plenty to rip apart.

Plot Summary

Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) hasn’t had any in 1,000 years. (Really? There aren’t any fairy hookers in Ireland?) So when he hits his 1,000th birthday, he’s looking forward to claiming a lovely lass as his bride. The lass’ father, William O’Day, foils Leprechaun, and Leprechaun curses the family. On his 2,000th birthday, Leprechaun will claim O’Day’s descendant as his bride.

Fast forward to present-day LA, where the lovely Bridget (Shevonne Durkin) resides. Leprechaun drools over her assets and snatches her. Can Bridget’s would-be boyfriend, Cody (Charlie Heath), and his uncle (Sandy Baron) save her from the randy green critter?

Nutrition Facts

Vitamin B-Acting: 90%

This is not a series known for restrained acting.

It’s a tough call whether Sandy Baron, as drunky Uncle Morty, or Warwick Davis serves up more ham. The best scenes occur when the two of them are in the same room and feed off each other’s hamminess. 

Morty gains the advantage over Leprechaun in an argument about Irish vs. American whiskey.

Charlie Heath and Shevonne Durkin make a game attempt at ham, but they never had a chance against Baron and Davis.

One warning: if you hate grating voices, Leprechaun will drive you bonkers. (That settles it—I’m keeping Guinness close at hand while watching the other movies.)

Vitamin B-SFX: 30%

Nothing particularly cheesy, pretty standard SFX.

There is some gore—such as pulling out a gold tooth and biting someone’s finger off—but the goriest scene occurs largely off camera. Guys, be careful nuzzling into a woman’s chest. You never know when those lovely boobs might be disguised as a pair of spinning blades.

(I confess I’m a bit biased rating this installment’s special effects—I’m all too aware of what’s coming in Leprechaun 4…)

Vitamin Fun: 70%

Sandy Baron and the randy leprechaun plotline go a long way to making this movie bearable for those with a sense of humor.

I also enjoyed the “Darkside Tours” bit (Darkside is a schlocky tour of LA “death houses” run by Morty). The writers clearly enjoyed poking fun at LA’s tourist traps. Darkside Tours reminded me very much of Chicago’s “Untouchable Tours,” which consists of a black school bus taking tourists to the locations of notorious mobster hangouts and horrific crimes. Naturally, most of these places were destroyed long ago, so the tour guides have to resort to the same hokey showmanship that Cody and Morty display in the movie.

Sugar: 0%

Somehow, I really can’t pity Leprechaun for his inability to get laid. 

I feel your pain, Bridget...

Plot Fiber: 20%

My recollection of this series is that the writers change the leprechaun mythology at will to best accommodate whatever plot twists they desire. In the first movie, the plot made a big deal out of four-leaf clovers, which have the same effects on leprechauns as kryptonite did on Superman. In Leprechaun 2, four-leaf clovers are forgotten in favor of wrought iron, presumably because wrought iron offers more fun possibilities for killer weapons than wimpy four-leaf clovers.

For someone who is supposed to be so wily, the Leprechaun is a huge idiot. At the movie’s beginning, he right out tells William O’Day how to save his daughter from being claimed as Leprechaun’s bride. The ring Leprechaun binds around Bridget’s neck is impenetrable…until she picks one freaking rod out of the ring, which makes the whole thing fall apart. Sloppy, Leprechaun, very sloppy. Tsk tsk. 

Though he does have a cool kart.

And seriously, are there no fairy hookers in Ireland?