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"Bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes

They've got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses

And what's with all the carrots?

What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?"

Ah, rabbits. Who could possibly think of a more cute, cuddly, and harmless creature? With their wriggling noses, comically long ears, and fuzzy little tails, they're just so adorable!

Except, of course, when they aren't.

Twisting the easily-recognized and almost universally-beloved form of the rabbit into something terrifying is a common type of subverted cuteness, because we all have the expectation of rabbits as sweet and innocent. Sometimes this is done by making the rabbit carnivorous or otherwise extremely dangerous, but just making it look or act scary is enough to have it fall into this trope. Also, anything that plays the rabbit for horror falls in this trope, which means that stuffed animals and people in costumes all apply.

Of course, in Real Life, rabbits aren't always harmless. Ask any Australian about the devastation they've caused to crops and local wildlife. Indeed, many times if there's a problem with animal overpopulation, it's usually rabbits, and too many rabbits can quickly become a nightmare of its own. Plus, any animal with huge buck teeth is bound to have a nasty bite, regardless of diet.

See also: Grotesque Cute and Killer Rabbit. Not to be confused with the 1946 Bugs Bunny Merrie Melodies short of the same name.

Examples of Hair-Raising Hare include:


Advertising

  • This rabbit is unnerving.


Anime and Manga

  • The manga Doubt is about a murder game called "Rabbit Doubt", and creepy rabbit masks are a common theme throughout.
  • Pandora Hearts; the Blood-Stained Black Rabbit will mess you up. The White Rabbit is worse.
  • Usavich gives us Kirenenko, although he's only dangerous if provoked.
  • Inverted by Rukia of Bleach's illustrations of the hollow as meaner versions of the same bunnies that depict regular souls. Despite depicting soul-eating monsters, they're ridiculously cute. It is also justified because hollows are created from them.
  • The first episode of Pet Shop of Horrors has a rich couple who lost a daughter visiting Count D's shop and taking home a very rare species of rabbit that looks exactly like said daughter. Unfortunately, their love for their daughter leads them to break one of the rules of Count D's contract, and much horrificness with flesh-eating Killer Rabbits ensues.
  • Laplace's Demon from Rozen Maiden manifests as an extremely creepy humanoid albino rabbit in tuxedo.
  • One Piece gives us rappan, a breed of giant, carnivorous, incredibly unpleasant rabbit-monster, as well as a sea monsters that looks like a rappan with the back end of a very large shark.
  • In Yaiba we have Princess Kaguya's True form, which looks like a freaky hydra-bunny with fangs and Eye Beams.
  • In Eyeshield 21, for the school sports festival, everyone had to dress in costume. Hiruma chose to dress as a rabbit. While wielding an AK-47.
  • The black bunnies in Mawaru Penguindrum.


Art


Comics


Film

  • Frank from Donnie Darko.
  • The Killer Rabbit of Caerbanog from Monty Python and The Holy Grail. LOOK AT THE BONES!
  • General Woundwort of the animated adaptation of Watership Down. (Pictured above)
  • Boingo from Hoodwinked.
  • Rabbits by David Lynch. "In a nameless city deluged by a continuous rain... three rabbits live with a fearful mystery." Originally web-based video, it was released as a film and features as a Show Within a Show in the film Inland Empire.
  • In Sexy Beast, the main character has a nightmare that a giant rabbit with a gun is coming to kill him.
  • Twilight Zone the Movie. In the updated version of "~It's a Good Life~", the local Reality Warper asks his uncle to pull a rabbit out of a hat as a magic trick, then the rabbit turns into a hairless, hulking, snarling monstrosity before it goes back into the hat.
  • Night of the Lepus was an attempt a serious horror movie from this trope.
  • The National Lampoon did a comic-book format version of Harvey as a scary, malicious type who goads Dowd into all sorts of bad behavior.
  • The White Rabbit in Jan Svankmajer's version of Alice in Wonderland is responsible for actually carrying out the Queen's executions.
  • The Claymation bunny in Michael Jackson's Moonwalker unnerves some viewers, but this wasn't exactly the intention...
  • Both the White Rabbit and the March Hare in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland are rather creepy-looking, but what else could we expect from Master Burton?
  • The killer in Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! wears a rather demented-looking Easter Bunny mask.
  • Kottentail and Peter Rottentail both feature humanoid rabbit monsters as antagonists.
  • One Crazy Summer: The Warner Bros Logo Joke isn't intended as horror but is somewhat unnerving. A crazed cartoon rabbit in a propeller beanie opens up the logo, screams and then "swallows" the viewer.
  • Bunnyman.
  • Played for Laughs with the stage rabbit from The Illusionist.
  • The killer in the South Korean slasher film To Sir with Love wears a bunny mask.
  • In Dreamchild, the elderly Alice thinks of the March Hare this way.


Literature

  • Robert Rankin's book The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse.
  • Tends to be in a lot of Darker and Edgier incarnations of Alice in Wonderland. The original character is merely manic and unsettling.
  • Bunnicula. Half rabbit, half-vampire, all terror! He sucks the juice out of carrots.
  • The Black Rabbit of Inle from Watership Down short story of the same name, not to mention General Woundwort himself.
  • In The Velveteen Rabbit, the plush toy bunny gets saturated with germs when the Boy who owns it suffers from scarlet fever.
  • In the Br'er Rabbit stories, there was once a council when the animals divided up into two groups: those who had sharp teeth and claws (predators, in other words), and those who didn't. Br'er Rabbit was in the first category.
  • Islamic/Arabian poetry has the Miraj (or Al-mi'raj, or numerous other variations on the two), a one-horned, carnivorous yellow hare capable of killing and eating much larger prey, including humans. Also features in Dungeons and Dragons and Dragon Quest.
  • The Goosebumps book "Bad Hare Day". Or at least the cover.
  • The Magician King introduces the Seeing Hare, a hare with precognitive powers. It achieves hair-raising status by prophesying doom and despair for the protagonists.


Live Action TV

  • HBO had a special program once called Bun-Bun, which had possibly the most terrifying plush rabbit ever made, even though it didn't do anything directly; any child that ran into it became obsessed with having it, to the point of near killing themselves.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Anya has a pathological fear of bunnies. In the scene set during her mortal life, she shows no such fear, indicating something had happened in the intervening time.
    • It's strongly hinted that she developed her fear as a result of her rabbits breeding excessively, to the point of her house being full of rabbits.
  • There was 70s kids' show in Britain called Pipkins which starred a puppet named Hartley Hare. Not meant to be a scary character, but it was such a freaking ugly thing it was probably Nightmare Fuel for younger kids.
  • Played for laughs in Hannah Montana when Jackson eats too much chocolate and he has nightmares about a Godzilla chocolate bunny.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess, Xena warned Gabriel to be careful of the rabbits, and Gabby didn't listen so ended up battling the rabbit in the background.


Music

  • The electronica/darkwave band The Birthday Massacre practically live and breathe this trope. Every album art features at least one Franken-bunny. Usually feature several.
  • The rabbits in Alice Human Sacrifice.
  • The music video for the song "Sour Girl" by the Stone Temple Pilots features some Teletubby-esque rabbits that are pretty scary - or at least, creepy.
  • The artwork from Eths' 4th album, Teratologie, features dead rabbits. Flayed dead rabbits.
  • Echo and the Bunnymen is the name of a creepy, dark post-punk band.


Mythology

Tabletop Games

  • The card Vizzerdrix and its predecessor Kezzerdrix from Magic: The Gathering. Also the Unhinged card When Fluffy Bunnies Attack.
  • Devil Bunny Hates the Earth!: the Bunny is attempting to use taffy to destroy the world.
    • Devil Bunny Needs a Ham: the same Bunny takes out his unresolved desires on acrobatic sous-chefs.
  • The Theans in Strike Legion are humanoid rabbit-like creatures known for two things: being incredibly precognitive and thus able to predict their enemies' actions to the minutes, and piloting skyscraper-sized Humongous Mecha with stealth systems that let them sneak inside entire enemy space fleets and destroy them in seconds without warning. Yeah, precognitive mecha-driving ninja rabbits.


Theater

  • Before a significant Retool dropped them, Cirque du Soleil's magic show collaboration with Criss Angel, Believe, had tons of these once the action shifted to Angel's mind when he was "injured" in a stunt gone wrong.


TV Tropes

  • This image from the Accidental Nightmare Fuel page.
    • To hammer the point in even further, there appears to be a severed leg with a child's sneaker below the table besides him.


Videogames

  • From Kingdom Hearts : Birth By Sleep, we have a type of enemy called the Hareraiser. Small, cuddly, and seemingly harmless. It shows up in one of the first levels avaliable to you when you play as Aqua, and are teeny-tiny compared to other early enemies. However, these things can attack multiple times with one move, do a lot of damage with every hit, and kill you before you can finish going "D'aww". Worse, they typically appear in packs of four or more. And there is usually more than one pack in a given location.
  • The Black Rabite from Seiken Densetsu 3. Rabites are mostly harmless, even though they can have levels in SD 3 and can occasionally outclass you, but the black rabite is the hardest boss in the game. You will never feel safe around a one-footed rabbit again.
  • Bioshock makes strong use of this trope. Splicers wear bloodied bunny masks. The mad artist Sander Cohen is fixated with rabbits, using rabbit masks in his tableaux and rabbits in his... poetry.
  • An Easter Egg Hunt themed Warcraft 3 map has seriously horrifying bunnies.
  • Robbie the Rabbit from the Silent Hill games.
  • Rayman Raving Rabbids: the rabbits are probably not intended to be creepy, but they are.
  • The meat-grinder bunny-monsters in the final stage of Psychonauts.
  • Rabbits and rabbit-mechas in the NES Shmup, Gun-Nac
  • Cave Story: Mimigas + red flowers = Good God! It's dashing at me and/or shooting at me!
  • The Cosmic Horror Nahatomb in Klonoa: Door to Phantomile.
  • Irisu Syndrome has a very prevalent bunny motif.
  • The Social Bunny in The Sims 2.
  • Urxus/Urukususu in Monster Hunter Portable 3rd: a fifteen-foot-long giant snow hare with an armored torso and an unpleasant temper.
  • One of the contestants in the video game Whacked! is an amputee rabbit named Lucky who has quite the violent temper.
  • The rabbit-imps in Rule of Rose are no less creepy than the standard variety.
  • Subject 3 from Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. He's a former lab animal who, after years of being subjected to horrific experiments, has a rather dim view of humanity. Like everyone else in the Layton-verse, however, he's willing to forget about his threats to rearrange your kneecaps and let you pass if you solve a puzzle first.
  • Touhou Reisen Udongein Inaba, when she's using her madness-inducing power.
    • Tewi Inaba becomes a little frightening if you read the supplemental material and think about it for a while. Among other things, it's implied that being in her good grace is the only reason the moon fugitives can stay at Eientei, and that she's far more powerful than she lets on.
  • T-Hoppy from the Clay Fighter series is a musclebound rabbit with a machine gun for an arm. He seems to be the most verbally abusive character in a game full of verbally abusive characters.
  • The Rabbit from Alice Is Dead is a Career Killer working with the Mad Hatter.
  • Members of the virtually extinct Taguel race in Fire Emblem Awakening are capable of transforming into sleek rabbit beasts with some wolf-like characteristics. They're talented at taking down ground cavalry, and focus more on speed and skill then their fellow shapeshifters, the Manaketes.


Webcomics


Web Original


Western Animation

  • In The Simpsons, Homer draws bunny faces on electrical sockets to scare Maggie away from touching them. When Marge points out that Maggie's not scared of rabbits, Homer replies "She will be." In their parody of Snow White and The Seven Dwarves, the forest animals attack the wicked queen and the shadow of a killer rabbit, with sharp teeth and claws, is seen.
  • In Strawberry Shortcake: Sky's the Limit!, the girls are at one point threatened by a herd of stampeding bunnies.
  • Bugs Bunny can come off as a relatively nice guy, until you piss him off. ("Of course you realize this means war!") One cartoon had him raising Hell just because someone said rabbits were harmless. [2]
  • The bunny from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. To be more specific, a pet conjured up by a Jerkass Genie. After Pud'n defeats the bunny and he mourns him, the bunny returns "It's okay, Pud'n, I forgive you. I forgive you because I love you, and I love you, to death."
  • Rancid Rabbit, the major heavy from Cat Dog is not just a complete Jerkass but the Mayor and obscenely rich to boot. And he never lets anyone forget it, either.
  • Spliced - The Wunny Sharbit, a genetically altered Rabbit with the teeth of a shark and a chainsaw.
  • In the Generator Rex episode "Operation: Wingman", one of these wtfpwns Rex and runs away. Several times throughout the course of the episode. It's eventually killed with a rocket launcher. Did I mention it's a giant mutant monster bunny with sharp teeth and six legs?
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has a few examples:
    • In "Applebuck Season," a herd of stampeding bunnies causes just as much havoc (or perhaps more) as a stampede of cattle.
    • Angel is an adorable bunny who is friends with Shrinking Violet and Friend to All Living Things Fluttershy, but is also bad-tempered and pushy, and frequently tries to pester Fluttershy into being more assertive.
    • Then there are the "Slenderbunnies", regular rabbits (including Angel) twisted by Discord. At one point, Twilight Sparkle gets trampled by them.
  • In Batman the Brave And The Bold, a temporarily super-powered Calendar Man sends a stampede of 'killer Easter Bunnies' to attack Batman.
  • One episode of The Cramp Twins features Wayne caring for a rabbit he calls "Hankenstein" that had a habit of tearing everything in its path to shreds and attacking people. By the end of the episode, he finds out the hard way that "Hankenstein" had even more feral offspring.
  • According to Robot Chicken, the Easter Bunny has issues with Jesus Christ. Violent issues.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "No More Bunny Business", Perry the Platypus is assigned to deal with a rogue agent from the OWCA, a white rabbit named Dennis... who just happens to have gotten adopted as Candace's new pet.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes. Jimmy picks a paintball fight with a pack of bunnies, who respond by turning into commandos.
  • On Rocko's Modern Life, Rocko takes Spunky to a pet psychiatrist (an obvious Expy of Sigmund Freud) who is "having trouble with a patient" in the back room. (Said patient was roaring and clawing at Dr. Katz, like a lion or some such.) It turns out the patient is a rabbit being treated for anger issues.

Notes

  1. The creator of the webcomic, Joe England, also appears in rabbit form. Joe is rather fond of rabbits in general, after seeing Who Framed Roger Rabbit? as a child.
  2. Ironically, the episode that named this trope does not feature a particularly frightening Bugs.
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