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A quaint animation that hoodwinked and horrified a generation is still causing nightmares

How could a movie about cute fluffy rabbits end up like this?

Watership Down still leaves behind childhood trauma for horror fans
Image: Nepenthe Films

If you were tasked with making the inoffensive and adorably cute animated movie of all time and needed an animal to lead it, you’d be going straight to rabbits. However, the façade of rabbits can be led to unimaginable horrors, as horror fans have an intervention to discuss Watership Down‘s traumatic effects.

The beautiful-looking hand-drawn animated film became a staple of an entire generation of Britain’s youth following its 1978 release. With some serious star power thanks to John Hurt, Nigel Hawthorne, and Roy Kinnear, it was one of the most popular films of the year it was released.

Unfortunately, it’s a mess of blood, guts, gore, and plenty of Lepus-related casualties. Those who grew up with the film are still in utter shock with the final product.

If you’re a parent, it looks like the complete package from the outside. Rabbits, animation, something about an all-powerful rabbit god, the full English breakfast of cinema.

A particular “highlight” is the ridiculously gratuitous death of a rabbit involving a throat being ripped out. Again, this was a film marketed towards young children who think rabbits are cute and expected a goofy little adventure. What a twist, something M. Night Shyamalan couldn’t even dream of.

There’s a lot of talk about kids being too soft these days, but there’s no way society should bring this back to the mainstream. Let the horrors die out, and let children see rabbits as cute and not creatures capable of war crimes and immense brutality.

For those who want a real hit of horror for Halloween, Watership Down is available to stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. A remake was in the works as of 2016 with John Boyega and Gemma Chan, but never came to see the light of day.

Jamie Dunkin
About the author

Jamie Dunkin

Writer for We Got This Covered, and other sites in the GAMURS Group. Football fan, LEGO enthusiast, and beer enjoyer. @jamie_dunkin on Twitter