According to the AFI, who seem like the sorts of people who ought to know these things, the top ten movies of ALL time are Citizen Kane, Casablanca, The Godfather, Gone With The Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, The Wizard of Oz, The Graduate, On The Waterfront, Schindler’s List and Singin’ In The Rain.
I’ve only seen four of those. That means that, when I found myself with a few hours to kill the other night, I could have sat down and gotten at least a couple of them checked off the proverbial checklist.
Instead, I watched Night of the Lepus and Razorback, two movies which MIGHT show up on an AFI list if they got really bored and decided to make a list of the top ten thousand movies of all time.
As a young lad, I saw a summary of Razorback in the back pages of TV Guide, and it’s a summary which has stuck with me to this very day:
Razorback: Possibly the greatest movie ever made about a giant man-eating pig.
Sadly, it was being shown on a cable channel and my parents didn’t hold with this cable television nonsense. We got three channels and that was good enough.
That isn’t to say that I didn’t see some AMAZING movies at 1 in the morning when the local ABC affiliate decided to just start showing whatever they had around the studio.
But I digress.
Anyway, for some reason, this film has been a little tricky to track down – but, having done so, I feel the better for the experience. I do, in fact, believe that is IS the greatest movie ever made about a giant man-eating pig. Also, it was made in 1984, so it has some pretty decent music and there’s an Atari 800 featured prominently in the film which is always nice to see.
For no logical reason, however, the director stuck in a couple of human villains who took entirely too much screen time away from the giant man-eating pig and who were mostly there to, I dunno, do the “man is the true monster” schtick maybe? Mostly they were really hard to understand and annoying. Also, the pig doesn’t really rack up THAT high of a body count. He eats, like, four people over the course of the movie.
There are NO annoying human villains in Night of the Lepus, and it has a MUCH higher body count. It’s also a pretty decent movie for the 1970s and deserves serious points for trying SO VERY HARD to come up with a plausible doomsday scenario.
The schtick is that, well, a rancher kills off a pack of coyotes that are being a nuisance, but OH NO the coyotes were the only things keeping down the rabbit population on his ranch, and the rabbits – free from natural predators – threaten to eat him out of house and home. He then turns to SCIENCE for a solution, but it has the unintended effect of causing a new race of lion-sized man-eating rabbits who reproduce like, well…
It’s got everything a nice apocalyptic movie needs – monster, message, and mayhem – and if the film had been made about, oh, giant locusts or something it would probably have made a much more effective film.
It is NOT, however a terribly effective horror movie because the film spends about half the time showing slow-motion shots of ADORABLE CUTE FLUFFY BUNNIES rampaging through the cutest little tiny sets and you just want to pick them up and snuggle them even when they’re occasionally eating people or entire herds of cattle. I can actually understand the crew not wanting to work with, you know, wild rabbits – they have a nasty bite, I’m told – so I don’t know if there was really anything they could have done to offset the cute factor. Chalk it up to a good concept that kind of fell flat in practice.
It also stars DeForest Kelley with a truly epic mustache, if you were wondering where the title to this post came from.