4/4/10

The LBL Easter Special: Peter Rottentail (2004)

Hello and Happy Bunny Day to all you Lair-ers out there! Yes, Easter has come once again and I have donned my pastel colored suit, amassed a horde of chocolate, and once again been disappointed that I could not find the candy eggs I used to love so much when I was a kid. (Anyone else recall the brightly covered oblong eggs, usually individually wrapped in clear cellophane that had a white super sweet filling? Damn, those things were good! I got my last bag two years ago and it still bothers me that I can’t find them again) Anyhow, to those of us in the secular world, Easter means but one thing, Bunnies, but here at the Lair I just can’t leave it at sweet lovely fluffy bunnies. Not a chance. Instead, I have to tell you about tale that would curl the toes of Thornton Burgess, and it’s all about one Bunny you don’t want to see Hippity Hopping down the trail. 


Peter Rottentail (2004) starring Brice Kennedy, David Fife, John Polonia, Kristen Wiltse, and Brian Berry. Directed by John and Mark Polonia. 

Peter Kriegstien (Berry) is a magician for children’s parties, but Peter is not just any kid’s party entertainer, he’s the world’s worst. His tricks don’t work, he swears and blusters, and he usually leaves without being paid. Peter thinks all that will change when he meets a mysterious man who gives him a magical potion which he claims will give Peter real magical powers. During a particularly terrible party, Peter downs the potion intending to summon these great powers and get even with all the kids that are laughing at him. Instead Peter goes a bit mental, and the next time we see him he has a gun to his head. As a radio reports that Peter is wanted for questioning, he pulls the trigger and ends his miserable existence. 

Thirteen years later, a couple of teenagers are cleaning out one of their relative’s old house when they find a book with a strange incantation. They read it aloud thinking it’s just a joke, but from Peter Kriegstien’s grave rises Peter Rottentail (Polonia). After dispatching the goony teens, Peter intends to get the revenge that he never got in life. He begins to hunt down each of the kids that were at that party 13 years ago, and armed with killer carrots, he intends to get even. 

The Bugg Picture

After watching the low budget triumph Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter the other day, I had hope beyond hope that somehow my back to back low budget films would both turn out to be good, and it almost happened. However, Peter Rottentail is nowhere near the film that JCVH was. While it has it good points, at almost a 90 minute running time, the film more than overstays its welcome. 

First off I have to say that I was a tad disappointed that Peter Rottentail was not more Easter oriented. I looked long and hard for an Easter horror flick, but other than this one and Night of the Lepus, the market for killer rabbits seems pretty scarce. Personally, I would love a film about a killer Easter bunny that leaves his victims dead and dyed a variety of pastel shades. So indie filmmakers get on that so I have something to watch for next year!

That out of the way let’s get on to the movie at hand, but I’ll warn you now that this will be shorter than usual because I have much less to say about this one. For starters the acting is atrocious. Naturally as Peter starts picking off the now grown party goers, we end up with main characters in Lenny and James Neely (Kennedy and Fife). It was Lenny’s birthday party back then, and the cousins have just retuned to town to clean out James’ grandma’s house. While Fife manages to provide some laughs, Kennedy’s performance is flat and dull, and he is intended to be our main character. 

Brian Berry makes for an interesting, although short lived character, as the tortured magician Peter, but when the character goes all furrified and director Polonia takes over the role, Peter Rottentail becomes an incredibly irritating killer. I would want him to kill me so I didn’t have to hear the constant “BOING BOING” sound effect that accompanies his every hop. The saving grace of the killer bunny at first looks to be his method of dispatching his victims as his first kill gets taken out with a carrot. If they had kept up this device it might have bettered the character, but soon Peter is killing folks with standard issue meat cleavers. 

I would like to take just a moment to talk about the character that I voted “Most Deserving of Being Cut Out of the Film”. Across the street from the grandma’s house lives Abby Cohen (Kristen Wiltse), a lonely girl who’s hard up for a man. It comes back to Abby time and time again, and you’d think she’d hit it off with Lenny or James, but no. Instead Abby does the deed with Peter Rottentail. Thankfully we are spared the details, but this plotline goes nowhere (except for a rather silly “shocking” ending), and adds nothing to the film except 20 minutes of dead weight. 

There’s where the problem with Peter Rottentail really starts. If the film had been say a tight 45 minutes, as many decent low budget pictures are, then there was definitely enough here to entertain most audiences. However, being double that length did not do this flick any favors. The Polonia brothers directed some 27 low budget pictures, and I feel sure that somewhere in there there’s a gem, but it’s just not this one. Sadly what I got was the Easter egg that got hidden and forgotten for a couple of weeks. Like that egg, this film is a bit off and I wish someone else had found it. 

Bugg Rating


I could not find a trailer to embed, but if you're interested there's one HERE. There is a very short clip from one scene so I'll include it here as well. 

4 comments:

  1. Yeah, this one looked pretty bad, but as you said, you have a choice between this and 'Lepus'....slim pickings indeed.

    Incidentally, I found a pretty darned creepy bunny costume over the weekend in a charity shop. The bunny face looked kind of retarded. I may have to shoot my own Easter horror flick some day soon....

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  2. It does look really bad. It's a shame it wasn't bad in a good way. I don't think I've ever seen any sort of Easter related horror movie before. It is always neat to watch these holiday themed horror movies.

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  3. See...I totally have to do a killer easter bunny movie. I was just thinking that when I saw the picture of my kid with the easter bunny, and my wife is like, "I have no idea why he wouldn't smile."

    The thing is TERRIFYING. That's why.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ouch. Looks like I owe you 90 minutes - 1 minute (of that clip that you posted, damn you!) = 89 minutes... at current exchange rates... that's about 2 rounds of drinks on me at current exchange rates.

    Thanks for taking the carrot-shaped bullet.

    ReplyDelete

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