Hello, Wabbit

Anyone who watched the later years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will remember Anya’s irrational fear of rabbits. The erstwhile vengeance demon’s leporiphobia (yes, there actually is a word for it) was seldom anything other than a source of comic relief – although it manifested in song in ‘Once More With Feeling’, when she bellowed out “They got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses – and what’s with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?”.

It’s a silly scene, but after trawling YouTube for suitable clips this morning, I’m starting to think she may be onto something…


The Rabbit of Caerbannog (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975)


Travelling north on their quest for the Holy Grail, King Arthur and his knights catch up with the improbably named Tim the Enchanter (John Cleese, in one of his finest turns), who leads them to “a cave which no man has entered”. The seemingly sweet and innocent little rabbit guarding the entrance has one or two tricks up its sleeve, and in the end the knights have to blow it up with a sacred hand grenade. The rabbit in question was covered in fake blood, which apparently distressed its owner, but this is still comedy gold.


Harvey (Harvey, 1950)


Donnie Darko wasn’t the first film to feature an enormous rabbit that may have existed purely as a hallucination. Honourable mentions also go to Cabin Fever, which features a giant rabbit in a hospital for NO REASON AT ALL – oh, and this. What’s creepy about Harvey is his ambiguity: Elwood Dowd (James Stewart) insists that Harvey is not only real, he also has the ability to stop time and travel in space. And frankly, who’s to say he’s wrong? It’s enough to drive a psychiatrist to distraction, which is exactly what happens.


General Woundwort (Watership Down, 1978)


After developers move in and destroy their old warren, a bunch of rabbits are forced to travel across the Hampshire downs to seek a new home. On their way they encounter farmers, wounded birds and a sinister community led by the despotic General Woundwort. Monstrous in size, fearless and disfigured, Woundwort rules his roost with intimidation, cunning and brute force. He meets a (presumed) bad end at the hands of a dog, but his legacy lives on as the stuff of children’s nightmares.


Ellen’s Rabbit (Fatal Attraction, 1987)


I don’t use the word ‘iconic’ lightly, but it says something when a single scene in a film spawns its own terminology in popular culture. Furious at being dumped by married attorney Michael Douglas, an unhinged Glenn Close delivers tapes filled with abusive language, pours acid on his car and then cooks the family rabbit. The intercutting between Ellen’s sprint through the garden and Beth’s gruesome discovery in the kitchen gives the scene its power – as well as giving rise to the term ‘bunny boiler’, to describe any vengeful ex who is basically in need of medical help.


Frank (Donnie Darko, 2001)


No one really understands Donnie Darko. They’ve just read half a dozen usenet threads and assume they can comprehend the incomprehensible. But whatever the truth behind Richard Kelly’s dark and brooding tour de force, it’s hard not to be a little freaked out by the sight of a six foot tall rabbit who appears in ghostly visions preaching about the end of the world. The truth behind Frank is both complex and simultaneously mundane, but is no less effective for it. See him, and shudder.

When life hands you lemons…

…make sure they really are lemons.


The elephant in the chocolate factory

A not-so-new perspective on Roald Dahl. I wonder if Grandpa Joe is a Daily Mail reader?



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