We enjoy a good nature run amok flick. There’s just something about oversized, mutated member(s) of the animal kingdom terrorizing hapless humans that tickles us, even if the film is a “hare” less than award-worthy. Food of the Gods, Grizzly, Alligator and Empire of the Ants are just a small sample of the man vs. wild flicks that we’re quite fond of.
Beaster Day: Here Comes Peter Cottonhell, a recent indie effort by the Snygg Brothers, is part of this lineage. Like its obvious progenitor Night of the Lepus (Check out our Night of the Lepus Podcast), Beaster Day is a giant rabbit movie. However, unlike Lepus, Beaster Day’s goofy humor is intentional. The film begins at a wedding where the son of the septuagenarian groom who’s marrying a woman decidedly his junior delivers the type of profane speech that would likely get him written out of the will. Such concern is moot though as he flips the bird then storms out and tries to hitch a ride. Unfortunately, while groom Sr. and bride Jr. are cutting the cake, sonny-boy is getting mauled and dismembered by an enormous, carnivorous Thumper.
Rendered in charming stop-motion, the brutal bunny is soon massacring its way all through the town. An equestrian rider is cleaved in half. An outdoorsy cyclist and a young couple in flagrante delicto also fall victim to the hare – and all in outrageously bloody ways. A gardener discovers a trail of carrots leading to an enormous rabbit hole. She spots the towering lepus who sees fit to remove her of her constricting top before removing her of her head.
The town is run by a soul-patched, paisley shirt and Puka-shell necklace wearing, peace-sign flashing mayor whose Wavy Gravy like attire and outward disposition are belied by his fathomless depravity, greed and corruption. Concerned that the spate of “wild animal” attacks will interfere with his upcoming lucrative Easter celebration, he attempts to cover up the carnage, and when that doesn’t work, blames it squarely on “the Amish.” Damn those unholy barn raisers!
Thankfully, there’s a very overzealous (bordering on the insane) dogcatcher named Doug who, although crestfallen at being passed over for “Dogcatcher of the Year” to his rival Hector, sees fit to warn the town of the impending doom. Can he and the cute aspiring actress now dogcatcher convince the locals and save the day before it’s too late and the entire town becomes rabbit’s stew?
Beaster Day: Here Comes Peter Cottonhell is a blast. It’s Troma-esque fun in all the right ways and certainly delivers the goods. It has a great sense of humor, incisive satire, lots of nudity, inventive kills and copious (albeit CGI) gore. Too bad it doesn’t have Meryl Streep in it as well. If it did, it just might have been a contender for an Academy award.
**** (out of five)