Movies From the Black Lagoon: Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill!

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! - 2009, Unrated
By Tom Doty

A child with special care needs finds himself at the mercy of his mother's deadbeat boyfriend (during the titular holiday) in this low budget chiller that manages to breathe some life into the aching horror genre.
Lately there have been a slew of remakes of 70's drive-in films. This has been good news if you always wanted to see your favorite horror icons upgraded with state of the art effects. The bad side is that it has stifled original films. The land of no budget cinema save the day with this effort that manages to feel like a 70's film while never going so far as to rip one off.
The story centers on one day in the life of Nicky. He normally looks forward to eater but this year he's spending it with mom's new boyfriend (Remington whose bearing is nowhere near as regal as his moniker) and the guy doesn't have many tools in his box when it comes to helping a child with special care need (in this case that would just mean a little patience as Nicky does a fine of job of looking after himself while coping with cerebral palsy, mild mental retardation, and an often indifferent society. His mom is struggling, even harder, to keep them afloat by working double shifts at the local hospital and relying on paid caregivers to look after Nicky.
Nicky's act of kindness towards a homeless man results in a pet rabbit he quickly dubs the Eater Bunny. Unfortunately his mother probably won't let him keep it so he opts to hide it in his room. Remington turns this chain of events to his own advantage and threatens to kill the rabbit if Nicky doesn't start telling mommy how much he likes Uncle Rem and wants to spend the holiday with him.
The fateful day finds Nicky at home with Remington for only a short while before the situation gets decidedly ominous when Remington offers Nicky up as bait to twisted creep, Ray, with plenty of money. At this point I was ready to hate this movie for two reasons. One- I'm a parent and this is my worst nightmare. Two-I worked with the physically challenged for fifteen years and didn't wish to see anything happen to this character. Turns out the director felt the same way and a bunny suited avenger shows up in due time to prevent any harm to the child. This has the added effect of making you root for the killer (a nasty trick) but the film deserves credit for featuring the disabled community in a type of film that has mostly shunned the population.
The end result is gory as all get out but the director (Chad Ferrin, watch for this guy) manages to execute it all smoothly and even deliver a happy ending. When the identity of the Bunny is revealed you'll kick yourself for not guessing it correctly but how long has it been since a horror film surprised anyone?
This is the horror movie you've been waiting for if you're tired of remakes but miss that 70's "anything can happen at any time " vibe. Ferrin gets it done by using talented actors and allowing a little humor into the mix (Remington is actually funny when he isn't menacing Nicky). Some of the performances are merely serviceable but the key characters are cast perfectly. Timothy Muskatell imbues Rem with equal parts humor and evil. David Z. Stamp all but steals the movie as Ray. He manages to look and sound like a degenerate. He is also given some choice dialog but this actor is so good it is sure thing that casting directors will have a hard time seeing him s anything else. The best bits, though, belong to Richard Gray as Nicholas. Tackling this sort of role is tough for a veteran actor. Gray shows no fear as he embraces the physicality of a young man with cerebral palsy. He stays true to the limitations imposed on the character and hits this one out of the park with none of the melodrama that Dustin Hoffman pulled in 'Rain man."
This one is worth finding but hard to watch, just what the director intended. Sometimes it's nice to see a movie that refuses to give you what you expect, as in most Hollywood horrors that play it much to safe.
Best Line: "The bad boy. He chopped the Easter Bunny's ears clean off."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@myactv.net.