Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
In Hair-Raising Hare (1946) a sneaker-wearing, hairy monster chases Bugs Bunny through a castle belonging to an evil scientist.
Would it surprise you to learn the top-rated horror movie in 1946 was a Merrie Melodies cartoon? Well it surprised me, but I was delighted as well because Hair-Raising Hare is actually my favorite Bugs Bunny skit ever, followed closely by Duck! Rabbit Duck! And yes folks, this IS considered a horror movie!
With a runtime of about eight minutes the story follows Bugs, who breaks the fourth wall (Bugs did this long before Deadpool was even a glimmer in his creator’s eye) to ask the audience if they ever have the feeling they’re being watched. When a mechanical lady-bunny walks by, Bugs follows her to the lair of an evil scientist (the words are actually lit up in huge lights on the castle) and ends up in the clutches of said evil scientist, who’s drawn to look just like Peter Lorre. Lorre was a very famous actor at the time, who appeared in numerous noir films like Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much and classics like Casablanca. Mr Evil Scientist (or I guess “Doctor”) wants to feed poor Bugs to his new creation and possibly the cutest monster ever created – a big hairy orange, sneaker-wearing creature named Gossamer (in this movie he has no name and was called Rudolph in a later episode, but the name was later changed to this one).
Of course Bugs being Bugs gets the better of the poor monster (who he calls both Frankenstein and Dracula) and the movie ends with one of the best scenes ever shown in a Looney Tunes cartoon. I won’t spoil it for you in case you want to watch this yourself . I was able to find a copy online at Dailymotion.
Directed by Chuck Jones and written by Ted Pierce, with voice work by the man of a thousand voices himself, Mel Blanc, Hair-Raising Hare actually has a few genuinely scary moments (at least they would’ve been scary for kids back then). The animation is top notch, with the use of exaggerated angles making the castle seem otherworldly, and the inks and drawings still manage to look crisp to this day, even without the use of digital updating. This was also the last Looney Tunes movie to use Chuck Jones’ design for Bugs. It changes in all future cartoons where they use another famous animator, Robert McKimson’s design, for the character.
The music by Carl W. Stalling is a blend of haunting and hilarious, perfectly capturing the tone of the story at play. This is still considered one of the funniest “horror” based episodes of Looney Tunes out there, proving that not all the scary things that go bump in the night, has to be aimed at adults. Horror-themed movies made for kids can be just as good, sometimes even better than the hardcore movies out there. It was the top rated horror movie of 1946 and those are the films I’m reviewing, so there’s nothing else left to say but That’s all Folks!
Sommer’s Score: 8 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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