Bunnicula is the name of a series of children's books written by James Howe about a "vampire bunny" who is adopted by the Monroe family, who give him the name "Bunnicula" when they find him on a seat in the theater while going to see the movie Dracula. The story centers on the family's pets, Harold, an old, good-natured mongrel, who is the narrator of the story, Chester the cat, who has a vivid imagination and suspects Bunnicula of being a vampire, and the eponymous bunny, who never displays any overt vampiric traits despite constant accusations by Chester.The series is something of an Affectionate Parody of the horror genre, with equal parts mystery and comedy as well. The first book, simply titled Bunnicula, was written together with Howe's late wife Deborah.In 1982, the first novel was adapted into a half-hour animated adaptation for the ABC Weekend Special by Ruby-Spears. However, the special had many differences from the novels.Books in the series:
Howliday Inn (1982)
The Celery Stalks At Midnight (1983)
Return to Howliday Inn (1992)
Bunnicula Strikes Again! (1999)
Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allan Crow! (2006)
There is also the spin-off series Tales From The House of Bunnicula:
It Came From Beneath the Bed!
Invasion of the Mind Swappers from Asteroid 6!
Howie Monroe and the Doghouse of Doom
Screaming Mummies of the Pharaoh's Tomb II
Bud Barkin, Private Eye
The Odorous Adventures of Stinky Dog
There is also a series of Bunnicula books for very young readers:
The Vampire Bunny
The Fright Before Christmas
Creepy Crawly Birthday
Bunnicula Escapes!: A Pop-up Adventure
As well as several non-fiction books:
Bunnicula's Wickedly Wacky Word Games: a Book for Word Lovers & Their Pencils!
Bunnicula's Frightfully Fabulous Factoids: a Book to Entertain Your Brain!
Bunnicula's Pleasantly Perplexing Puzzlers: A Book of Puzzles, Mazes, & Whatzits!
Bunnicula's Long-lasting Laugh-alouds: a Book of Jokes & Riddles to Tickle Your Bunny-Bone!
Artistic License - Biology: Harold's favorite food is chocolate cupcakes, even though a lot of chocolate can be dangerous to dogs. Whether this is artistic license on the part of the character or the author is debatable. It's specifically pointed out in both Bunnicula Strikes Again! and Hot Fudge that you should never give your dog chocolate in real life. It is also noted that some dogs can eat chocolate just fine, and Harold happens to (thankfully) be one of these. See also Breaking the Fourth Wall.
Big Friendly Dog: Harold is a more laid-back version, but definitely qualifies. Especially when the Munroe kids have junk food.
Book Within A Book: The spin-off series Tales From The House of Bunnicula are Howie's novels and writing journal entries.
Brilliant, but Lazy: Harold the dog makes a lot of obscure references, and can even read Carpathian. He would just rather eat the books instead of read them.
In Bunnicula, when Chester mentions how vampires bite their victims on the neck, Harold says "Wait a minute. I saw Mrs. Monroe bite Mr. Monroe on the neck once." But Chester says that Mrs. Monroe is not a vampire. She's a lawyer.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Bunnicula may or may not be a blood-sucking fiend, though it becomes less debatable as the series goes on. Much of the humor in the series comes from Chester's belief that Bunnicula's eating habits mean that the world around them follows horror tropes.
Meaningful Name: Harold mentions that Chester was named after G. K. Chesteron.
"You can lead a horse of a different color to water but it's still a horse."
Noodle Incident: Chester never lets Harold forget about the thing with the geranium. Or the thing with Mr. Monroe's electric shaver. Though unlike most examples, we DO get some details - Harold apparently ate Mrs. Monroe's favorite geranium, and thought Mr. Monroe's electric shaver was a giant bumblebee that was attacking him, so he grabbed it and threw it in the toilet.
In Howliday Inn, Chester remarks that he read the other animal's personal files while being held hostage. On the subject of Lyle (another cat who's more than a little off-kilter), he'll only say Lyle has "had a rough life".
Puns: Howie enjoys these. An absolutely dreadful one happens when Chester mistakes "driving a stake through a vampire's heart" with a steak, and winds up pounding some meat on Bunnicula's chest while the rabbit sleeps.
The Voiceless: Bunnicula himself never says a word, despite all other animals (cats, dogs, one weasel and a parrot) being able to talk just fine. It's hypothesized something terrible happened to him in his childhood and rendered him mute, and even after they find out what's causing his vampirism, he never talks.
The Watson: Harold to Chester, though he still manages to get sucked into Chester's fantasies in every book.
The Bunnicula series provides additional examples of:
Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Bunnicula Strikes Again!, Harold reminds the audience that he, like the books he writes, is a work of fiction.
Hell Hotel: Chateau Bow-Wow in Howliday Inn and Return To Howliday Inn
Tropes specific to the 1982 Ruby-Spears animated special:
Adaptational Heroism: Chester, in a characterization different than how he was depicted in the novels, actually helps Harold defend Bunnicula from the angry mob.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In the climax, just when it seems that Bunnicula was about to get attacked by the wolves, Bunnicula is suddenly able to use vampire powers which trap the wolves in a vat at the plant.
Expy: Harold appears to bear a resemblance to that of Colonel from Disney's 101 Dalmatians. In addition to that, one of the Monroe sons wears clothes similar to that of Fred Jones.
Narrator: Much like the novels, Harold narrated the special.
Oh Crap: This was Harold and Chester's reaction upon discovering the wolf pack in the plant.
Savage Wolves: The climax of the special had Harold, Chester, and Bunnicula getting chased by a pack of wolves that were roaming around the vegetable processing plant.
Torches and Pitchforks: A lot of the neighbors suspect Bunnicula of being the culprit of draining all of the vegetables in the neighborhood as well as the accidents at the plant, despite not actually having torches and pitchforks.