It’s hard to ignore a title like Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill!, but although I’d heard of it, it took me a few years to actually check it out. And when I did…lo and behold, it has black folks! More specifically, BOTH of the main protagonists are black — which, for non-“urban” horror, is almost as rare as black protagonists on The Bachelor.
Charlotte Marie stars as single mother Mindy, a sweet-natured, God-fearing nurse who speaks nary a curse word — although she has a strange predilection for letting her boobs hang out, even in her work uniform. She lives alone with her 16-year-old son Nicholas (Ricardo Gray), who suffers from cerebral palsy and has been obsessed with Easter since his father died on the holiday 10 years earlier. He’s under the impression that his dad will pull a Jesus one of these Easter mornings and return from the dead to reunite with the family.
Unfortunately for Nicholas, this Easter, Mindy — whose judgment is questionable at best — invites her new boyfriend, Remington, to stay with them. Unbeknownst to them, Remington is the most reprehensible person this side of Florida, dabbling in robbery, murder, drugs, prostitution, sex trafficking and the endangerment of minors, amongst other things. When Mindy leaves for work, Remington and his cronies turn their sights on Nicholas, but little do they know a bunny-masked individual is looming in the shadows, ready to send these scumbags to Hell in an Easter basket.
As evidenced by its titular riff on Russ Meyer’s cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, EBKK revels in its exploitation film status, but unlike many such self-aware flicks, it doesn’t overcommit to the genre to the point of exhaustion, nor does it wink-and-nudge at the audience to the point of parody. It’s not perfect, but its tone is spot on, and the kills are nicely conceived, varied and sufficiently brutal to reinforce the exploitation appeal.
Exploitation isn’t known for its political correctness or racial sensitivity, so it’s interesting to note that Mindy and Nicholas being black is never mentioned. (After seeing a photo of Mindy’s white husband, even I expected some explanation why Nicholas was so much browner than Mindy, but I guess I’ll just chalk it up to some Cosby Show color-oblivious casting.) Perhaps because they’re protagonists, they’re free from crude stereotypes (and thankfully, Nicholas’ handicap isn’t played for comedic effect), which is more than can be said about some villainous Latino contractors and a gay acquaintance of Remington with a taste for young boys.
Of particular significance to this site is the revelation that the masked maniac is in fact Mindy, a rare incidence of a black killer (and a black woman, at that) in a slasher movie. The killer’s simple design — black jumpsuit with white rabbit mask (predating the similar You’re Next baddies) — is striking and effectively intimidating, even if there was a man, not Marie herself, behind the mask for most of the scenes. (Frankly, with her 5′ 10″ frame, I’d think she’d be able to pull it off.)
For a movie of this sort and budget, the performances are decent, and while there are some technical issues like murky lighting and awkward camerawork (One recurring shot seems to be replicating looking down the barrel of a gun, even when there’s not gun involved.), it’s easy to see how the enjoyably sleazy Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! has earned a bit of a cult following over the years.