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Credits
  • Director: Joonas Makkonen
  • Producer: Miika J. Norvanto
  • Screenwriters: Joonas Makkonen
  • Cast: Hiski Hämäläinen, Enni Ojutkangas, Veera W. Vilo, Jari Manninen, Katja Jaskari
  • Cinematography: Tero Saikkonen
Product Details
  • Format: DVD
  • Catalog: ART30
  • Country: Finland
  • Language: English, Swedish
  • Rating: NR
  • Year: 2015
  • Length: 88
  • Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • Color: Color
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This wildly un-PC horror-comedy follows the amorous adventures of a 6 foot tall sex-crazed rabbit who finds plenty of sexual conquests at a cabin in the woods inhabited by a group of Finns and some unsuspecting tourists. The young people, out to have a fun-filled winter weekend, instead find themselves involved in a game of life and death when the weird creature brandishing an incredibly long penis attacks anything that looks like a woman's vagina. Created when a science project goes terribly wrong, the Bunny will stop at nothing in search of a warm place to park his appendage. A hilarious spoof of splatter and camp films, Bunny the Killer Thing is unapologetically offensive as well as hilarious weird and wonderful. Filmed mostly in English.
Reviews

“One of the wildest and weirdest films I’ve ever seen…a mesmerizing, stomach-churning, and gut-busting foray into hilarity and horror. And I loved every minute of it. If you are easily offended, stop reading right now, and move on to something else. But if you can stand gratuitous rabbit/human nudity, then you’re in for a real show. BUNNY THE KILLER THING is a riotous venture into the absurd….grab a group of friends and buckle up for a bizarre trip. – Shattered Ravings

“This Finnish flick is the vomit of American sex comedies from the ‘90s mixed with the outlandish gloop and glop of Dead Alive. It’s a tawdry mess really, but oh-so entertaining. Bunny the Killer Thing is the National Enquirer of contemporary slasher films” — www.ravenousmonster.com

“Hilarious from start to finish (or should that be ‘start to Finnish’?)… [BUNNY] is joyfully ridiculous. This is a film so wonderfully shot and with such a likable cast that I was glued to the movie right up until the very end.” – Daniel Simmonds, www.therottingzombie.co.uk

“BUNNY is unlike anything you have witnessed before; it’s horribly offensive, crude, disgusting, and fun as all hell! What starts off as a relatively standard fright flick — featuring the tried and true remote cabin, the prerequisite nudity, and a fair share of wonderfully over-the-top…if you are easily offended you should drive roughly 3,569 miles away from any copy of this film.” – Daniel Wilder, www.famousmonsters.com

Wickedchannel.com: 10 out of 10!

“…batshit insane… this little Finnish horror film seeks out fast to offend everyone as much as they can. This film was like if Todd Solondz directed a horror film. This film is insanity, brilliant and mental. I cannot wait to see this film again, and again. This is a film you want to invite your friends over and get drunk and maybe vitamins and other things, and then sit back and get ready to be floored.” James DePaolo,  http://wickedchannel.com/2016/03/movie-review-bunny-the-killer-thing/

“…earmarked for cult status. A goofy hybrid of The Human Centipede, The Island of Dr. Moreau and Dead Snow, there is a wacky over-the-top vibe here that isn’t so much as endearing as just pure fun….a roller coaster ride of bizarre insight into the male libido, a hoot and a holler creature feature from the 90s and a Rocky Horror-like cult film. ..this might well be one of those midnight movies that you’ll want to view again and again and turn your friends onto.” – Cinema365 https://goo.gl/qTJGo5

“We haven’t seen this many severed penises since 2007’s Teeth…” – BloodyGoodHorror.com

“Sometimes you just want a horror movie that is absolutely ridiculous in all the right ways; only requiring you to think about what kind of alcohol to order. For times like that, you should look no further than Bunny the Killer Thing.” – CinemaSlasher.com

“If you thought Food of the Gods or Night of the Lepus changed the way you felt about rabbits, Bunny the Killer Thing could very well give you a psycho-sexual complex revolving around those cute furry creatures you used to have as a pet until you forgot to put water in the cage.” – Dread Central

“Nothing can prepare for the lunacy of the actual film.” – Fangoria

Screenings
2015 - Arizona Underground Film Festival
2015 - Bruce Cambell's Horror Film Festival
2015 - Fantasia Film Festival
2015 - L'Etrange Festival
2015 - Nocturna, Madrid Int. Fantastic Film Festival
2015 - Sydney Underground Film Festival
Director Interview

 

THE AF INTERVIEW with Joonas Makkonen

AF: I must say this is the strangest movie I’ve seen in a long time. How did you ever think of it?

JM: Thank you! Well, after two drama short films in film school, I just wanted to kind of go back to my roots. You know, I used to be the kid who wanted to play with the camera and do something awesome, I wasn’t one of those guys who just wanted to move the real life drama from real life to the film frames. That wasn’t the reason why I started to study filmmaking, but that kind of filmmaking was exactly what my school wanted us film students to do. So, frustrated by that, I started to combine my old film ideas, and eventually wrote a new screenplay called “Bunny the Killer Thing.” So that was the draft for the short film Bunny the Killer Thing. I sent the draft to some of my film student friends, and they thought it was crazy, but still wanted to be involved when I was saying we could do this on our free time. Actually the character of Bunny the Killer Thing was a hand puppet in the first short film’s drafts. But we eventually ended up making it a human size man-in-a-suit for practical reasons. The hand puppet would have needed a lot more CGI to erase the operative hand off, etc. I think the human size Bunny character was eventually the salt of the Bunny films! I hope I can expand the whole man-in-a-suit –concept some day with the film’s sequels, heh.

AF: Do you consider yourself a filmmaker or a HORROR filmmaker?
JM: I absolutely consider myself a filmmaker. Bunny is not so much about horror, it’s more like making a parody of the horror genre. My next screenplay is not much about horror either. However, right now I need to make genre films, instead of doing realistic films. I do think I will continue to expand film genres by mixing them and seeing what I can do with various genres. I think as a filmmaker and writer the best way to make fresh films is to combine genres. Then I have possibilities to surprise the audience when bringing good genre conventions together from more than one genre. I would absolutely consider making of realistic films as well someday, but at this point of my career I just feel more like going to genre films. I need to first heal my wounds after film school drama films, lol. The genre films are more fun, and the stories I am into telling will be better stories with mixing genres together instead of staying in realism.

AF: What is your favorite scene, the one that made you want to do the movie?
JM: My favorite scene in Bunny the Killer Thing? I have this 2-minute period in my mind where the storylines are coming together and many of the main characters are losing their body parts or lives within a short period of time. Yes, I am talking about the happenings that lead up to the ‘Car & Dick’ scene!

AF: How have you amassed such an eclectic and international cast of actors?
JM: I really loved the cast we got! We made an online casting call by using various international sites. Then I made a shortlist of actors who were willing to do this crazy horror/comedy at the dark woods of Finland! I had meetings via Skype with the most potential ones, and ended up collecting a very skillful cast with great looks for this story! From the non-Finnish actors, Vincent Tsang (playing ‘Vincent’, how original from me to use the same name for the character) was the first to be attached to the film, I actually wrote the role for him.
Also there is a fun trivia about how I found the perfect actor for role of Mr. McRain (it’s the opening role in the film). Here’s a small spoiler; the character becomes Bunny the Killer Thing! Anyways, he is not playing the Bunny the Killer Thing himself, Bunny was played by Finnish actor Matti Kiviniemi (he repeated his role from the short film actually). So the most important physical criteria to find the right guy to play the man who becomes Bunny, was to compare Bunny’s actor’s and Mr. McRain’s actor’s teeth! Because that was the only part you could actually see from both actors. So Gareth Lawrence got the role not only because he is skillful actor with good looks for the role, but also because of the similarity of his teeth with Matti’s!

AF: Were there any unexpected problems during the shoot?

JM: There is always unexpected problems during the shoot, lol! We knew the cold temperature would be a real pain for the foreign actors and also for Finnish actors. But the biggest problem we got from the coldness was with the camera! Red One camera did not work well on the coldest filming days – it froze up a few times. And also, one day the camera stand froze. That has not happened in any of my filming before. So we needed to do one scene handheld, even though the plan was to make that certain scene with the stand.
Orwi Manny Ameh, the actor of Tim/Mr. Black, came almost straight from Africa to Finland, spending only a few days in London in between. So he came from +30ºC degrees to Finland, where it was -30ºC at the time! He survived it superbly and you can’t even see he was freezing in so many shots in the film!

AF: Just for my own personal understanding, where did the “giant swinging penises” idea come from? (And be honest, LOL!)
JM: I think I just watched too much porn at the time of writing it, lol! I felt that the whole Bunny the Killer Thing character would be more fresh if we actually could see his genitals. But it would’ve been boring if he wouldn’t have played around with his dick, right? And hey, you can see Harry’s digga in Harry and the Hendersons, remember? If you look at one specific scene frame by frame, you find it! It is a decent tool he has there. So Bunny wasn’t the first man-in-a-suit-monster to have a penis, although Bunny had more use with his penis I am sure.

AF:: How does where you live influence how and what you make, and do you think American films currently effect your work and process?
JM: I think it goes without saying that American films have had an effect to me. I mean, also in Finland we grow up watching Hollywood films. I don’t think that American films have nowadays that strong effect for me as a filmmaker. I am from a small Eastern Finland village called Vieremä (Vieremae), and I moved from there to study films in a small Northern Finland city called Tornio. So, living my whole life in small towns must have influenced my style in some way. My stories are many times based on not-so-crowded areas. The same thing happened with Bunny the Killer Thing, and looks to be happening in my next feature which I am writing at the moment.

AF: It was refreshing to see an interracial gay love story in a movie like this – how did that happen?
JM: Actually that element was the one I needed to double-think, since we were having also some comedic elements with it. It goes so deep with black humor so I wasn’t sure if people could still find it funny, or just offensive. But I think the actors made it work so well that the audience will love the characters of Mr. Black & Mr. White. One thing that made this happen in the script was the high presence of human sexuality. I wanted to fill the film with sexuality and sexual themes, kind of over-imbue the film with human sexuality.

AF: What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
JM: I think there are a few films which really influenced me as a filmmaker. One film is the super well-made horror/comedy Return of the Living Dead. I really enjoyed how it’s a bit cheesy, but still has an interesting storyline, and the story was a good balance of making it fun & making it a strong genre film. It was loaded with such delicious black humor! Another very effective black comedy was U-Turn. I really love the concept of a stranger coming into a small village where everyone knows each other. The script is very funny, full of great characters. Full of great black comedy moments. Then I of course need to mention Fight Club. It is very inspirational film, filled with great themes, details and black comedy. It is my all-time favorite film.

AF: When you get angry at a movie, what sets you off? Are there common qualities in cinema today that you dislike? Is there something you try to subvert or avoid or rebel against in your work?
JM: I get angry about the films that are made without any good idea behind them. So many filmmakers want to make a copy of a film that exists already, instead of trying to make a unique film or a brand new story. I have seen so many bad horror films that are made with this formula: Let’s make a “horror film”. In a horror film there needs to be this, this and this element. We put them in this stereotypical horror story idea, and here we go, we have yet another horror film. Those films look, feel and smell the same. They are boring films. Those kind of films are just so lazy. I think I took a few extra risks with Bunny’s writing, just to make 100% sure that no-one can ever say it is just like all the other horror films or horror-comedies. I am not sure if I should even call it a horror-comedy, since there are so many genres included. You be the judge.

I also must admit that I am not a big fan of the so called regular Finnish films. You the foreign audience may only know Aki Kaurismäki and those few genre films co-produced with other countries (Iron Sky, Rare Exports), so you know only the good stuff from Finland, lol. The mainstream Finnish cinema inside the country is so risk-free. They make the same kind of films all the time. They make comedies, drama-comedies, romantic comedies. There should be more Finnish genre films. I do know though that the main problem in Finland is the country’s film foundation, which is a control-freak organization without the will to support strong genre films. I hope the change is happening now in the organization, because Finland does have so much potential to become a good genre film country. Genre films would be more international as well. The film foundation is sometimes so odd, it’s like they don’t care about the business side of filmmaking, nor the artistic side of it. It’s like… “wait, what?”. Finland has done a good job with the heavy metal music scene, and I really think we should do something like that for the genre film scene as well. Maybe that must be done via independent film. A lot of cool independent films are in the making in Finland at the moment.

AF: There must’ve been some interesting behind-the-scenes stuff going on – anything you care to share?
JM: We actually had a huge old village’s school in the middle of a forest as a lodging place. We shared it with the whole cast and crew. There was this wooden sauna in the film, where Bunny attacks the character Tuomas. It was a real working sauna right next to the lodging place, and we used the very same sauna after the filming days. The whole filming was kind of a ‘camp for adults’ – because we were voluntarily stuck together making a film in the middle of nowhere! We grew up to be a real team and family. And there wasn’t too much sunlight either on those days because we were filming at night time and sleeping in the day time. We shot the film from January to February which is the darkest time in Finland. Also, this 30-day filming period created two new couples inside the cast and crew, and at least one of the couples is still together!

The most delicious behind-the-scenes trivia must be some trivia about the suit of Bunny the Killer Thing. It was almost impossible to wash the suit, so it really stunk when it was wet. Most of the time though it was frozen or dry, so it was more pleasant for the Bunny actor and for the rest of the cast and crew to be near it. When the suit was dry, it kind of had a sweet scent, almost like the smell of good weed.

AF: Is it possible to keep from rehashing what has been done before, and if so how do you avoid it?
JM: I try to make films I would like to watch myself as an audience member. I hate those films which you can see they are just calculated projects to make money. I want to make films what are interesting, entertaining, fresh and surprising. One of my main goals is to surprise the audience in a positive way. Making a feature film is such a long project. To make that long project, I want to make sure that the story is so awesome that I want to put all that time and energy into the project. I think especially in my case freshness is the key thing. Also, if all the filmmakers would aim to make fresh films, we would have so much more good films, I think. If you are a filmmaker and try to make a fresh film and fail, at least you tried. You learn from it, and the next one will be better. If you don’t even try to make fresh films, then… what’s wrong with you, seriously?

AF: What failures (of your own) have you been able to learn from in your filmmaking experience? How did they change you and your process?
JM: I think I really learned a lot as a director when filming Bunny the Killer Thing. I had made various short films before it, most of them with the same actors. But in Bunny I needed to cast a lot of new actors, and while working with them I kind of slowly learned to give more responsibility to the actors to create their own characters. I used to control a lot of the acting, but when you have suddenly 10 main characters and very limited time, I learned to really trust the actors, and give them more space to work with their characters. Don’t get me wrong, before Bunny I wasn’t a huge dick-dictator-asshole-director when it comes to directing actors. I found new ways of directing when suddenly I had actors who brought to the table their own tools, which I hadn’t seen before, to be used for preparing a role. I think it was a win-win-situation. I learned a lot from all of the actors.

Then there were a lot of very basic failures from me, like not taking enough shots. But there is especially one thing I have always been very happy about in all of my projects; when having less shots, I have always enough takes. I think I kind of have grown up to make films with less shots. I am not a very big fan of the fast music video cutting either, so having less shots has suited me well.

It’s often really hard to reconcile the difference between what we desired and what we achieved. How have you encountered this and how do you move through it?
As a director and writer I have my own personal “quality meters” in my head. I use them as an analyzing tool when making films. It works for every shot, for every scene, for every acting performance and for every film or video project I make. I have this meter of what it needs to be to get it “work”, to get it believable in the film world I am building. In that way I don’t get stuck when odds change in the filming and I need to compromise. I believe in compromising. I can always make a good compromise and take care that all of the scenes’ minimum qualities are happening. And when they are filled, it “works”. And the real goal for me is to try to raise those minimum qualities as close to the maximum qualities as possible. I could call the maximum quality a “perfect shot” or a “perfect scene”.
Of course there is sometime moments when you can’t fill your minimum qualities. Usually the reason is because you didn’t do enough good work as a writer, and you see it afterwards. If this is the case, you have some possibilities to correct it with the actors while rehearsing or later in the editing room. But of course, you should correct it at the writing table, not the editing table. I hope I have repeated those mistakes enough and learnt from them. Another example of when I did not fill my minimum qualities happened to me once with an actor I got on set, and I had heard beforehand that the actor is fully professional. But the actor was worse than any amateur actor with whom I have worked with… ever. So, the actor had lied to us about the level of her/his acting. It was one of those cases when you didn’t hold a casting call for that certain role. You just trusted the word of the actor, because after all the role was a supporting role, not an important role in the film. (Note to myself; remember the importance of casting, even for the tiniest supporting role!) But anyways, when I finally figured out that the actor just didn’t know anything about acting, we had already filmed half of the scene. So it was kind of too late to put my directing mode off from “regular directing” and change it to “directing an amateur who really doesn’t know ANYTHING about film acting”. Don’t get me wrong, I have directed very professional actors and very amateur actors, both are fine to work with if you just know beforehand the experience level of the actors that you are gonna work with. Many times actors are more experienced than I am! But in this case it was just something beyond anything else, and I couldn’t prepare for it because the actor gave me wrong info.
But yeah, when for some reason I have ended up having material which is below my minimum criteria, I have needed to find another tool from the magic tool kit to make it work. Maybe it is cutting the bad moments off, or dropping the whole scene off, and then finding another way to make the story still work. So my goal is always to find more tools in the filmmaker’s tool kit, and to prepare better, to get more skills and more experience.

AF: When do you know a script is ready to shoot, and what is your process of getting it there?
JM: I think that the script is ready for filming, when the drama works well. Then it is very safe to go with it to the filming, it will definitely work. Then I rehearse the scenes with actors, and as it goes better and better I usually then drop some lines off since it is working better without the lines. And finally in the editing room I usually cut off more lines. I kind of shorten my scenes always when possible, the dialogue is something I usually try to minimize. I think the story is always better if you can tell it with less dialogue.

About the Director

Joonas Makkonen was born and raised in a small Finnish village. He received his first camera at the age of 15, and quickly began making short films. After graduating from Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences where he studied Art and Media in 2011, he presented his first film: “A Small Awakening”. Since then Joonas has written and directed various short films. Nowadays Joonas is making films mostly as an award-winning independent filmmaker. His short film (from which the feature film is based) Bunny the Killer Thing (2011) won the Audience Choice Award and Best Creature Award at Cinefantasy, Brazilian’s largest horror and fantasy festival.
Joonas

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Credits
  • Director: Joonas Makkonen
  • Producer: Miika J. Norvanto
  • Screenwriters: Joonas Makkonen
  • Cast: Hiski Hämäläinen, Enni Ojutkangas, Veera W. Vilo, Jari Manninen, Katja Jaskari
  • Cinematography: Tero Saikkonen
Product Details
  • Format: DVD
  • Catalog: ART30
  • Country: Finland
  • Language: English, Swedish
  • Rating: NR
  • Year: 2015
  • Length: 88
  • Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • Color: Color
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