Killer bunny rabbits just aren’t scary, as the makers of the infamous Night of the Lepus (1972) discovered to their cost. However, the concept has made a comeback of late, retreating to the fanboy fringes of micro-budget filmmaking and played for sick laughs. Kottentail opens at the Overlook Research Laboratory (got that in-joke, horror fans?) where sexy scientist Dr. Scarlet Salinger (Bridget Marquardt) is alarmed when her favourite lab rabbit (played by a stuffed toy on wires!) is let loose by a couple of inept animal rights activists: pushy reporter Robin (Patricia Bellemore) and frisky hooker Lizzie (Noel Francomano). Whilst frolicking in the fields the gene-modified bunny bites crazy-accented German farmer Hans Kottentail (Nathan Faudree), who then embarks on a murderous rampage as a hideous were-rabbit. Sweet sorority girl Marissa (Kristin Abbott) loses her boyfriend to the buck-toothed fiend just as he was about to propose, while disgruntled policewoman Yvonne (Heather Darling) - hitherto stuck doing traffic duty - seizes her chance to crack a major case.
No-one is ever going to mistake Kottentail for a multimillion dollar work of art, what with the same basement used for multiple locations, dodgy sound recording, actors occasionally flubbing their lines and several so-called teenagers (including Zoe Hunter who starred in the reprehensible Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned (2008)) clearly too old for their roles. However, writer-director Tony Urban successfully pokes fun at his own meagre resources whilst displaying a modicum of imagination, styling his film like an animated comic book in the manner of George A. Romero’s Creepshow (1983) with sliding panels and split-screen effects that keep things visually interesting. While some of the humour is inane beyond belief, a good few gags do tickle the funny bone (e.g. events counting down to Easter, a mutating Hans discovering his faeces are now tiny rabbit pellets, a police lineup with the suspects wearing bunny costumes) and compensate for the lacklustre gore and monster makeup.
There is plenty of titillating silliness to satisfy the fanboy crowd including Playboy Playmate Bridget Marquardt traipsing after her bunny in a ridiculous hot pants and halter top combo plus pigtails that seem like a nod to Russ Meyer’s Supervixens (1975) or stripping down to her scanties to seduce randy animal shelter officer William played by John Karyus - who has a second role as Detective Fulci partnered with a Detective Bava (groan!) Goofy performances from the enthusiastic cast leave the characters surprisingly likeable while Urban even injects a (slim) layer of depth as the five heroines slowly bond over their collective desire to be taken seriously in a male-dominated world.
Unusually for a low-budget horror movie the victims are, at least initially for the most part, largely male while it seems the usually victimised bimbos will be the ones to save the day as the comely cast don bunny girl costumes to enact their ridiculous plan. Sadly, Urban undoes this promisingly subversive idea as the girls’ shaky alliance collapses amidst much squabbling and stupidity. Given this is meant to be a comedy, the downbeat denouement seems unecessarily harsh. Like the earlier Peter Rottentail (2004), the title parodies the popular Easter Bunny stop-motion animation Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971) from the famous duo of Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass, which was later remade using CGI in 2005.