Beasterday (2014) Directed by John Bacchus. Starring Jon Arthur, Kristina Beaudouin, Valerie Bittner. A giant carnivorous Easter bunny is chased around by a small town dog catcher and a failed actress as it dines on human prey.
“Beasterday” opens with a lazy credits sequence involving Easter eggs, and then we’re off to a wedding. The Best Man Tommy is the son of the middle aged groom and he gives a vicious speech to his father and the bride, a much younger woman. He comments on their age difference and his father’s cheapness, before ending with this:
“This is a quote I found on the Internet: Love is a mirage and everyone here will die thirsty in the desert of hope.”
After delivering this gem, Tommy leaves the wedding and heads into a local park. While thumbing for a ride, his hand is neatly sheared off. If you didn’t know what the film was about, the scene offers no clue as to the nature of the threat. As his father cuts the wedding cake, the boy is dragged away by something offscreen.
An eternally grinning psychopath of a local dog catcher named Doug puts on his uniform to prepare for a day of scooping up stray pooches. He stuffs four socks into his pants to accentuate his crotch. He does a Taxi Driver impersonation at a stuffed bunny doll on his bed before also shoving the item into his pants. Doug makes Jim Varney’s Ernest P. Worrell look like Hamlet.
A woman named Alice complains to her husband Jake about his cholesterol while preparing ample dishes of bacon, sausage and scrapple. We learn that the wife is frying these meaty treats up because her husband asked to smell them cooking.
That’s a brand new fetish on me.
Their daughter Brenda calls and announces she’s giving up on becoming a Hollywood superstar and is returning home. Neither parent wants her back.
A tattooed woman in lingerie wakes up in bed on a vast farm. She pours herself an ice tea and lounges on her porch. As she leans back, we see a massive rabbit head staring down at her from over the roof. The stop motion animated creature has an almost skeletal, rodent like appearance despite the telltale bunny ears. As the woman goes about her day, gardening and such, the extremely noticeable monster looms over the house. It’s even making an odd huffing sound. Eventually she catches on when it flat out roars and approaches her in a jerky manner. The horrifically bad stop motion technique makes the rabbit look drunk and wobbling.
The potential victim rushes to the safety of the nearby road and is promptly struck down by a passing truck. When we see her body, she appears unharmed except for a neatly severed right arm. It looks more like a sword fighting injury than truck impact, but I digress. The rabbit pounces on her, sending one of her eyeballs flying out of her head. It shatters a window like a bullet and plops into the iced tea carafe.
This scene contains one of the weirdest quasi 3D effects I’ve ever seen when the eye leaves the woman’s skull and flies off.
I’m slowly being won over by this nonsensical crapfest.
Inside the house, the dead woman’s spouse gulps ice tea, consuming the bloody eyeball.
We jump to a meeting of the local Dog Catchers In The Rye, who curb the local stray dog population. Apparently, strays are a huge problem because there are 10 employees present. The idiotic crotch stuffer aka our hero Doug bothers his boss with unnecessary questions. Awards for Dog Catcher of The Year are handed out and Doug is horrified to come in Second Place. (We learn that Doug has won every year in the past.) New guy Hector takes home the top prize. The trophies are small brass hands making a thumbs up sign.
A woman is doing some gardening and we witness a shot from the POV of her shovel.
Why, you ask? Why not, answers Beasterday!
She finds a half eaten carrot and expresses outrage over hungry rabbits. Noticing an unmissable trail of carrots leading off into the distance, our gardener follows it and discovers a giant rabbit hole and the monster that made it.
I could be wrong, but the hole appears to be a still photograph of dirt superimposed into the shot.
The towering rabbit tears the gardener’s halter top off, exposing her bare jiggling breasts as the woman lets out a truly dreadful scream. We get our first good look at the full body of the creature. It stands on two legs and is generally built like a rodent, with a slender torso and brownish coat. The confused and half naked gardener runs far from the creature, makes a wrong turn and runs right into it again. It decapitates her.
At a diner, the bacon sniffing father Jake from earlier has lunch with his actress daughter Brenda. He orders a plate of breakfast meats, which she steals. Brenda asks her father to support her financially in her fifth change of career path. She wants to become a poet, and he thinks art is meaningless.
“I’m an artist. I’m a flower, and I need you to water me with your wallet.”
Down on the farm, a young woman is taking her horse for a ride as the monster bunny lurks nearby. Well, not lurks exactly. That implies some measure of stealth and cunning. It’s standing in a sunlit meadow in plain view, roaring away. It chases the poor girl and bites her in half at the waist, leaving her legs and pelvis still seated on the horse.
After her pop insists she get a job, Brenda finds work as a dog catcher. She meets weirdo Doug, who breaks Hector’s 1st Place trophy. Oh, SNAP!
A couple named Jess and Bryan go for a walk in the woods and decide to skinny dip. Jess makes her boyfriend turn away while she strips and runs off into the forest, leaving behind a trail of clothing. He eventually finds her ripped in half with a plastic Easter egg where her torso should be.
In a breathtaking moment of effects mayhem, the monster devours poor Bryan, leaving only his severed head.
We meet Mayor Farnsworth, who is a complete douchebag. He’s busy planning a big Easter Day celebration with corporate sponsors. He’s stealing from the town and getting kids hooked on alcohol and drugs. Basically, your average politician.
For the celebration, he asks an aide to get “hot young female voters” drunk and into the Banana Taste Test booth, in which intoxicated and blindfolded women will have something inserted into their open mouths and must guess what it is. Yikes.
A woman walking through the woods and playing on her cell phone is confronted by the flailing bunny. She nonchalantly attempts to Tweet about the creature, but it devours her midsection.
Brenda and Doug patrol the area with very small and useless handheld nets as he gives her unwanted advice culled from his years of dog catching. He mentions Michaelangelo (the artist, not the fun loving ninja turtle) and land mines and lots of other bizarre topics. We learn that he sometimes has PTSD flashbacks to dog cases that have gone wrong.
A female rock climber traverses the woods until she finds a very unimpressive stack of boulders measuring about 10 feet high. Before tackling this insane challenge, she does push ups, stretches and gears up like she’s about to ascend Everest. She carries a coil of climbing rope on her shoulder that is easily five times more than what is required. Before she gets very far, the bunny shows up and chops off her hand and foot. This schtick of introducing a character seconds before they die is getting old.
A nude woman frolics in a luxury swimming pool as Farnsworth inflates a crab-shaped float. He is interrupted by the town sheriff, who is carrying an Old West wagon wheel.
“I’ve got some really important news, sir.”
“I’ve got some really important nudes right here.”
Yup, they went there.
The sheriff reports that he has found five separate bodies in the woods. Something is killing potential voters, and the Mayor is on the case! Meanwhile, Brenda falls in love with Hector. Doug informs her that Hector is a gay Nazi who lives with his mother.
A member of Dog Catchers In The Rye named Roger is armed with a hockey stick when he encounters the monster. They face off in a strange game of field hockey in which Roger is the puck. Roger loses.
After Roger’s mutilated body is uncovered, Doug believes that dogs and other animals are rising up to overthrow mankind and put humans in leashes and collars. He’s ready to go to war.
The police blame a pack of wolves for the carnage. After the possibility of canceling the Easter Day celebration is brought up, the Mayor quickly steps in to quash the rumors.
“Pack of wolves? No. These people were killed by a sack of tools.”
“How could a sack of tools kill anyone?”
The press finds a house-sized egg in the woods, which the Mayor calls a decoration. Out in the trees, the rabbit throws up a severed human limb onto Brenda as she takes a break from work. The girl flees in absolute terror. Elsewhere, two road workers are brought in to move the giant egg. They engage in what passes for banter:
“You know what the difference between a wife and a job is? A job still sucks after 10 years.”
The bunny immediately kills them both.
At a press conference, the Mayor addresses a photo showing a clawed victim by blaming a “possessed rake” that was part of the evil farm tools. He’s really leaning into this sack of tools theory. Farnsworth tells reporters that the local Amish population had been experimenting with a new form of tools when things went wrong, resulting in sentient electronic entities. He asks that hammers and other equipment be wrapped in bubble wrap to eliminate their destructive powers.
Hector goes in search of the pack of wolves that don’t exist. As if by homing device, the monster immediately finds him. After a lengthy chase, Hector is impaled on his 1st Place Award and then bisected by the creature. The Mayor informs the public that Hector was killed by a rampaging trowel.
Doug follows clues into the forest, which apparently makes up 70% of the town. He spies the monster eating a man and runs like hell. Doug informs the Dog Catcher crew that the Apocalypse has arrived not on the heels of the Four Horsemen, but the padded feet of a 50 foot tall rabbit from Hell. He is fired and then arrested as the serial killer who has been slaughtering everyone. Farnsworth recants his tale of deadly farm tools and blames Doug.
The Easter Day celebration finally arrives. Doug watches it through the window of the local insane asylum while trapped in a straitjacket inside his cell. Brenda, saddened over the death of Hector, is the first to see the bunny monster as it emerges from the woods into the fairgrounds.
Farnsworth is killed as the creature hops on him, leaving behind a Peace Sign made of blood. Three women gawk at the beast until it swiftly relieves them of their heads. Crowds are kicked, hopped and clawed to death.
Brenda runs home to check on her family and finds her father chained up and her mother dangling a piece of bacon on fishing line in front of his face. She’s wearing a cowboy hat, and he’s got on pink long johns and a lobster bib.
I don’t know, man. I just don’t know.
In the basement of her father’s house, Brenda finds a surplus of firearms. Carrying a carrot costume and an assault shotgun, she busts Doug out of the loony bin. He is forced to dress as a carrot. During the final chase, Brenda pumps the rabbit full of shot and kills it.
Although much of the weirdness and silly tone of “Beasterday”are fun and admirable, it runs out of gas long before the finish line and becomes an energy draining slog to sit through. You can only watch the creature flail about and roar in a discombobulated way once or twice before the novelty wears off. But I do applaud the independent spirit and sense of humor behind the production.