Springtime Provides A Hoppy Hunting Ground In Gravitas Pictures' Latest Release, 'Easter Bloody Easter'

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For seemingly every holiday there exists a horror film that adapts and exploits its unique festive rituals and pageantry for their own devious ends. Movies such as New Year’s Evil and Bloody New Year illustrate the perils surrounding the transition from December to January; the labyrinthine mine shafts of My Bloody Valentine (and its subsequent remake), and the cupid-masked killer from 2001’s Valentine turn the lover’s holiday red; the Leprechaun franchise proves St. Patrick’s Day isn’t always lucky. Even April Fool’s Day has been (twice) made into a slasher flick; ditto for Mother’s Day and Halloween. Thanksgiving has been represented by Home Sweet Home, Blood Rage, and Eli Roth’s recent titular hack n’ slash masterwork. And while Christmas has been blasphemed innumerable times since Dickens wrote of the haunted Ebenezer Scrooge, its related rite of spring passage, Easter, has, until now, been relatively unscathed by murder and mayhem.

That all changes with the Gravitas Pictures/MPX/Wallybird Productions/Nunnbetter Entertainment/Point South Productions feature, Easter Bloody Easter, a diabolical dose of comedy-horror that will do for jackalopes what Krampus did for Santa’s sinister sibling. It’s Easterpalooza week in the rural southern American hamlet of Walburg, and hard working gal Jeannie Cooper (director Diane Foster) worries that her troubled husband, town bad boy Lance (D’Andre Noiré), is in serious danger after he fails to return from his latest drunken walkabout. With a rash of violent killings causing a local uproar and threatening the holiday festivities, she and bestie Carol (Kelly Grant), turn to tinfoil-hat wearing conspiracy nut Sam (Zach Kanner), who claims that the mythical (and allegedly fabricated) cryptid known as a jackalope is responsible for the heinous crimes. For those not in the know, a jackalope is purported to be a ravenous species of jackrabbit with antelope horns that scours the fields and forests of North America; unlike most variations of the jackalope legend, Sam insists the beast stalking Walburg is akin to a werewolf, human by day and only transforming into its bastardized bunny form after sunset. He’s compiled evidence the scourge is the result of a demonic ritual performed by the town’s pioneer residents and that the jackalope is now hell bent on raising an army of hares hungry for human flesh. But which of Walburg’s eccentric citizenry could be responsible for such capricious carnage? Mary Lou (scriptwriter Allison Lobel), the overtly prissy head of the church community center? Inept bartender Phil (Ronnie Prouty)? The sleazy cowboy mayor (Adam Slemon)?

Let it be stated here plainly: Easter Bloody Easter is not a good movie in the traditional sense. The storyline is absurd, the acting over-the-top, the special effects laughable; almost uniformly, the Walburgian townsfolk are southern fried clichés boiled down to their barest Beverly Hillbillies components, and there exist far too many musical numbers that grind an already thin plot to a screaming halt. But if horror films have proven anything through the decades, it's the concept that one does not necessarily have to be good to be entertaining, and it’s clear from the onset that the exaggerated lens with which Foster and Lobel examine insular rural life is peered through with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Lobel’s script is rife with wink-and-nod sassiness, elements of satire and even outright parody (Zuri Starks’ character Megan, a former resident who’s returned to slay the jackalope, is a hilarious cockeyed spoof of Buffy Summers) that render the corniest of sequences a joy to watch.

Is Easter Bloody Easter a film fans will cherish with nostalgic glee on an annual basis, a la Black Christmas? Unlikely. Is it something viewers will relish with hoots and hollers while chomping Cadbury Easter eggs this coming holiday weekend? Absolutely. And for that reason that I am compelled to grant it a perfectly respectable 3 (out of 5) on my Fang Scale. Beware the jackalope!

3.0 / 5.0