Strange cinema

Completely unclassifiable cinema, bizarre films from the fringes

Bunny the Killer Thing

Foreign horrors often benefit from cultural unfamiliarity. Bunny the Killer Thing (2015) is one such film. Not that it’s unwatchable by any means, but it carries with it a kind of societal advantage of not being set on these shores, upping the interest level that might not otherwise have been there.

A raunchy Finnish horror/comedy (with English and Finnish breezily interspersed), Bunny the Killer Things brings the fun + gore, while suffering from laughs lost in translation. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t an interesting viewing exercise, if only to get a better understanding of Finnish culture — one that’s more holistic than you might glean from watching an NHL game.

Tuomas, a pant-pissing hipster whose face is bisected by a very punchable mustache, has a rich uncle who’s offered him use of his fancy cabin in the woods. Yes, this is a cabin in the woods movie, replete with the trappings of Finnish culture (it’s got saunas, and clear spirits are the go-to beverage choice).

En route to their wintry getaway, Tuomas and friends come across a car that’s broken down, driven by three, somewhat seedy Brits…however it’s not one of THOSE kinds of movies.

Back in town, a mad scientist has injected an unwilling patient with a serum, and he’s busted loose from his confines possessing….not er, superhuman strength but large furry rabbit physicality (while retaining some parts of his human anatomy intact, for some, shall we say “interesting” POV shots).

This hare/humanoid thing escapes into the dark woods, then goes after the Finns, as well as their newfound British compatriots, and they have to band together to tackle the sicko bunny.

This sounds like a pretty straight-up creature feature, but this is bawdy stuff. And even if this is Nordic, the tone is really all over the map.

The leads are dynamite though, particularly Jari Manninen as Mise, an N-bomb dropping bigot who soon becomes fast drinking friends with Nigerian-Brit Tim (Orwi Manny Ameh).  Their relationship is sweetly unexpected. The female leads are great too, including Veera W. Vilo as the conniving Nina, and her unrequited love interest Sara (Enni Ojutkangas).

Park your brain in neutral and go with it.

*** (out of 5)

[For those who are interested, on Episode 38 of the Really Awful Movies Podcast, we chat about the killer bunny feature, Night of the Lepus]


SOCIETY_POSTER“You know what I blame this on the breakdown of? Society.” Of course that’s Moe from The Simpsons. In the movie Society, social relations crumble around young Billy, a teen lone-man out who noticeably doesn’t resemble his parents nor his sister and who is (unsuccessfully) trying to curry favor with the school’s rich and very popular kids.

If only it were that simple, from both a narrative and a normative perspective. You see, there’s something really amiss with Billy’s suburban Los Angeles family — really, really amiss.

Unlike the typical coming-of-age tale, it’s young Billy who is the moral center and is his center ever upended.

Blanchard, a prying schoolmate who’s been spotted hiding out in Billy’s sister’s closet, has some interesting information to pass along to him, but considering the source, Billy’s more than skeptical. Then, Blanchard presses forward and produces a smoking gun: an audio recording of some truly taboo-shattering chatter, some beyond-risque communication between Billy’s sister and parents.

Armed with the horrifying information that we won’t dare reveal, he marches into psychotherapist Dr. Cleveland’s office, but the audio recording “evidence,” appears to be harmless banter and fashion chat about an upcoming cotillion ball.

Undaunted, Billy presses forward while questioning his own sanity (a student council president hopeful, he hallucinates salacious behavior of an audience member during a candidates’ debate).

SOCIETY_MOVIEBut it’s only upon ditching his girlfriend and hooking up with sex kitten Clarissa that things really begin to sharpen into focus in this Lynchian landscape, the brainchild of Brian Yuzna, frequent Stuart Gordon collaborator.

How he went from Honey, I Really Messed up the Kids here to shrinking them later in his career is anyone’s guess.

What’ll also keep you guessing: Society’s unlikely narrative and oddball characters.

Proof that a constant undercurrent of dread is worth 1,000 pig entrails, Society is a paranoid Freudian nightmare and unfailingly original.

This is Beverly Hills 90201 by way of John Waters and the Marquis de Sade.

***3/4 (out of 5)