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]

Chillerama

ChilleramaA doddering projectionist declares “nobody cares for magic anymore” in Chillerama, this paean to the movie drive-in, a phenomenon which debuted in 1933 for 25 cents a car in Camden New Jersey, across the river from Philadelphia.

It’s a film meant to conjure up the magic of the experience, which to horror fans meant the 70s, chronicled with reverence and brio by our pal Scott Drebit in his column over at Daily Dead, “Drive-In Dust Offs.”

For those of us who revere horror cinema, it’s more about the era than the experience, as truth be told, that’s always been lousy — the headlights on the screen, the horns, the interminable wait to get out, the long walks to pee…

Chillerama is a horror anthology that’s both based on and a celebration of the happenings at a drive-in movie theater. The drive-in audience and staff provide the connective tissue/wraparound, divided into four disparate featurettes -some more magical than others – with occasionally inspired bits of grotesquerie.

In ‘Wadzilla,’ “spermapramine” is given to a nebbish with an extremely low sperm count. But that’s misleading. Turns out he’s got a large one indeed, and that’s giving him groin pain.

It’s expelled on a hot date and grows to very large proportions and obscene results ensue. There’s an inspired bit of lunacy involving the Statue of Liberty in this 50s monster movie throwback with a twist (a “twisted nut-sack,” says the nebbish’s buddy to explain his friend being doubled over in pain). It’s audacious and pretty unforgettable.

ChilleramaBut Chillerama may have climaxed there.

‘I Was a Teenage Wearbear’ mixes homoerotic wrestling with leather bears and butt bites, all in musical form. There’s a greaser (accompanied by his two, finger-snapping henchmen) attempting to woo a wrestler who has ambiguous sexuality. The music’s very Eddie Fuller and Eddie Cochrane.

The Diary of Anne Frankenstein features the Fuhrer killing the Frank family and cobbling together a creature out of spare parts, which then exacts its revenge. As an attempt to lighten the subject matter, Hitler speaks gibberish while the rest of the cast speaks German, but The Great Dictator this isn’t. The monster (famed Jason actor Kane Hodder) wears a tallit prayer shawl, and the less said about this segment overall, the better. Horrendous.

Chillerama_2Finally, the drive-in audience that’s subjected to all this transforms into mindless zombies (a la the Lamberto Bava cult-classic, Demons) because of goo that’s mistakenly added to popcorn.

This transitions into Deathication, which comes with a caveat, inspired by William Castle, that those with a weak constitution might not be able to handle all the flying shit.

And it delivers on its promise.

The highs aren’t high enough to commend Chillerama.

**1/2 (out of 5)