And I bet you thought that there weren’t any.
Believe it or not, there are quite a few Easter-themed horror movies to enjoy throughout April. Sure, I could take the easy way out, and recommend the Rankin/Bass Here Comes Peter Cottontail, as genre favorite Vincent Price plays the villain, Passion of the Christ, due to the copious amount of blood and gore, or even Donnie Darko, with the mysterious and creepy Frank the Bunny costume. However, those films aren’t exactly horror movies. Instead, let’s take a look at films in the true horror genre that are fun to watch this time of year:
5. KOTTENTAIL (2007)
This one is pretty bad, but in a fun way. Hans Kottentail is just a normal, overalls-wearing, German-accented farmer, until a plush toy bunny (really!) escapes from a testing lab and bites him. Hans becomes a sex-crazed, bloodthirsty, overalls-wearing voyeur with a goofy rabbit mask and ears who terrorizes busty college coeds. This one really has to be seen to be believed. I hear that the actresses in the film were found via some “Who Wants to be a Scream Queen” contest and real-life Playboy Bunny Bridget Marquardt has a leading role. Filmed around Pennsylvania for about a hundred dollars, this one can be bought on DVD at Amazon for less than fifteen bucks.
4. PETER ROTTENTAIL (2004)
Love them or hate them, the Polonia Brothers certainly have made a name for themselves in the horror field over the years. Mark and his late identical twin brother John grew up as genre fans who didn’t just talk about scary movies – they got a movie camera, some friends, and fake blood, and actually made them. Sure, most of their films are laughably bad and cheesy, but they are damn entertaining. Movies like Splatter Farm, Feeders, and Razorteeth made me realize that it isn’t about big budgets or great special effects; it’s about the passion for filmmaking, and determination to get your vision captured on video. That is where the boys shine. Peter Rottentail tells the story about a birthday party magician who commits suicide, and is accidentally brought back to life as a half-rabbit/man/monster who is intent on killing everyone who had ever laughed at him. This film is a lot more fun than the killer snow man film, Jack Frost, and has a hilarious death-by-carrot scene. The movie is available to rent through Netflix’s Add DVD feature.
3. NIGHT OF THE LEPUS (1972)
What better way to enjoy Easter, than with Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun, and Star Trek’s DeForest Kelley battling giant, man-eating bunny rabbits? Based on a novel, the movie has become a cult classic, with extreme close up scenes of bunnies smeared with blood, happily nibbling away at townsfolk. Seriously. This film came out a full year after Monty Python and the Holy Grail, yet that rabbit was done scarier, and with better special effects. The title itself was the studio trying to keep the “monsters” a secret from the movie going public, but then sent out a rabbit’s foot with each press kit. You can usually find the film on late night TV, or on DVD at store like Wal-Mart and Best Buy for under fifteen dollars.
2. CRITTERS 2: THE MAIN COURSE (1988)
In 1988, Master of Horror Mick Garris’ first feature film was a sequel to one of my favorite ‘80s horror flicks. This sequel was just as good, and at some moments, better than the first one. It was chock full of campy goodness, had lots of fun special effects, gore, ravenous monsters, naked centerfold alien bounty hunters, and a cameo by both Freddy Krueger and Eddie Deezen. The small town of Grover’s Bend is celebrating their Easter Festival, when carnivorous alien porcupine creatures eat everything they can find, and are hunted by shape changing intergalactic trappers. The scene where the creatures eat the Easter Bunny is very memorable. You can find the film cheaply online, and there’s even a compilation disc with all four Critters movies (including Leonardo DiCaprio in his first movie), for under ten bucks.
1. EASTER BUNNY, KILL! KILL! (2006)
A greasy con-man weasels his way into the life of a young mother and her retarded son. When he gains her trust to leave him alone with the boy and invites some prostitutes and his drug dealer/child molester friend over, they torture the boy incessantly. Pretty soon, the body count is rising, as a figure wearing an Easter Bunny mask is killing off our cast in various grisly ways. This entry is both hilarious and disturbing, and all very well done. The whole thing is grainy, and reminds me of something which would have played at a grindhouse theater in the 1970s. It is definitely one of those movies that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. After watching this, I was immediately reminded of the original Silent Night, Deadly Night, Hobo with a Shotgun, and Father’s Day. What’s more, this one is available to see on Netflix’s Instant Streaming feature.