Oh, they're definitely cute and seem oh so lovable, but what's really going on behind those bunny eyes? That's what director Tony Jopia is exploring in his new micro-budget film Cute Little Buggers.
Here's the official description: "Somewhere in the depths of space, aliens are watching the earth and planning their attack. Unaware of the impending danger, the locals of a sleepy English village are preparing for their summer festival. The aliens launch their offensive by mutating the local rabbit population, and when the furry demons are released, the body count starts to pile up as blood, guts, and fur flies in all directions as the humans fight off the alien threat."
In our exclusive interview with Jopia, we tackle the sensitive subject of killer bunnies.
FHM: Okay, Tony, be honest: where did this deep fear of bunnies come from?
TONY JOPIA: I love bunnies. My grandmother used to breed them at home in Chile. Admittedly i used to watch my grandfather kill them when they were on the menu, so maybe subconsciously that damaged my head more than i realized. Also, my grandma cooked my two pet rabbits called Rock and Roll and i only discovered this after spending over an hour knocking on neighbors' doors asking if they had seen my pets...have to say that Rabbit Stew was one of the best my gran had cooked. Aside from this, i love bunnies...honest.
FHM: Seriously, what drew you to the project? It's just such an insane concept.
TONY JOPIA: I've always loved creature features and deep in my heart I knew I would make something crazy like CLB. In the one day I caught on TV Gremlins and one of my favorite films, Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, a chaotic comedy that just sang out to me. Along with my love for classic Hammer films and monster movies from the 50's such as Tarantula, The Black Scorpion and Them led to me to fall for the concept of something cute going bad. Later I remembered my grandma used to breed rabbits and wondered one evening...what if.....and literally said to myself they had to be Cute Little Buggers. And the rest is history. I called my writing partner Andy Davie to pitch him my idea and after he called me Stupid Little Bastard, he warmed to the idea and the first draft was born. Andy is a fab horror writer and we both agreed we needed more comedy, so heard about a another awesome writer called Garry Charles, sent him our draft and he came on board to do a version. We shot a teaser to convince the executives such as Fabien Muller, and he loved it. We went into production with having enough budget to shoot CLB in 21 days. It was one of the best shoots I'd had ever been involved in, and having co-producers such as Jeremy and Andrij Evans at Brainy Monkey look after the post [production], it meant we achieved wonders with almost nothing in an incredible amount of time.
FHM: Not sure if you ever saw Monty Python And The Holy Grail, but did the evil rabbit sequence inspire this film at all?
TONY JOPIA: A friend brought it to my attention when i showed him the first rough cut, before then I had never seen or heard of it. I love Monty Python; Life Of Brian is simply a classic! To be honest, I've always enjoyed horror films. John Carpenter's Halloween and The Thing were a massive lesson in horror movie making for me, as well as being two of my favorite films of all time. An American Werewolf In London also connected with me, on this occasion it was more the humor and Jenny Agutter that stood out. Sam Raimi's Evil Dead is a great example of horror and comedy working incredibly well together. Absolutely made me jump out of my chair one minute and then laughing at Ash's brilliant one liners and outrageous situation. They are the best viewing a horror director can have before making a creature feature. The next film I'm making, with my brother Stuart and son Alex, is a dark psychological ghost story, so going to put my comedy boots away for a little while and hopefully scare a few people shitless. But CLB has been so amazingly well received globally that there are already plans to start production on CLB 2 The Quills Of Death in February 2018
FHM: Give me an idea of what production was like, coordinating live bunnies with the camera's point of view.
TONY GOPIA: We relied on CGI rabbits due to time and budget constraint. Often it was a matter of painting the picture of the scene with rabbits missing and playing the rabbit role myself. Play it straight. I said however cute they are, if one of the little bastards ripped your throat out you wouldn't be blowing kisses back at it. So for me it was about identifying the threat and the danger they offered. Often I would describe the killer look rather than the furry cute lovable pets we all adore, and this really did the trick. By day two most of the crew and cast were ready to instigate global rabbit genocide.
FHM: Do you think this film will do for bunnies what Jaws did for sharks in terms of making the audience paranoid about them?
TONY GOPIA: HA! you never know, do you? Looks can be deceiving and you should never judge a book by its cover... for all you know they could be nasty little bastards.
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Lead image via YouTube.