The Art of Schlock: Lutz Peltzer’s Night of the Lepus
Posted December 26, 2012 by Kevin P.
It may be impossible to ever pinpoint the true low water mark of mainstream American horror, but it’s safe to assume that, wherever it is, 1972′s Night of the Lepus can’t be too far afield from it. Western TV veteran William F. Claxton oversaw the lamentable effort, which flattened Australian author Russell Braddon’s sharp sci-fi satire The Year of the Angry Rabbit into a dreadfully earnest creature feature that tries in desperation to make terrifying monsters out of pet-store bunnies. Heaven help the advertising departments whose dubious job it was to actually sell such dreck!
To that end those heralding the American release look to have had things pretty easy, avoiding the rabbit problem all together through a less obvious title and a rather generic genre campaign. “How many eyes does horror have?” read the tag lines. “How many times will terror strike?” For others, however, the job appears to have been more troublesome. Such was the case for the West German branch of MGM, tasked with releasing Night of the Lepus under a far less forgiving name…
Luckily for us the dubious responsibility of producing poster art for the German edition of this giant monster dud fell into the ever-capable hands of Lutz Peltzer, a bona fide graphic design wunderkind and one of the very best among West Germany’s postwar film poster artists. His work here really speaks for itself with its evocative, outlandish style and striking use of color, and is almost enough to make one forget how positively horrid what it’s advertising actually is. It’s no small feat to weave legitimate art from such bankrupt materials, but Peltzer’s potent bit of advertising alchemy has done just that. His Night of the Lepus is tremendous stuff, and one of the very favorites among all the posters I’ve collected over the years.
Interested in one of your very own? Be sure to check eBay.de for current listings.