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"That's no ordinary rabbit! That's the most foul, cruel and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on! It's got a vicious streak a mile wide, it's a killer! It's got huge sharp...it can leap about... look at the bones!"
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 BunnyMerrie Melodies short of the same name.
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 Lapahn, a breed of giant, carnivorous, incredibly unpleasant rabbit-monster, as well as a sea monsters that looks like a Lapahn with the back end of a very large shark.
"Clarence" AKA "Green Jet" from Tron: Ghost in the Machine (part of the Alternate Continuity from Tron 2.0) is a malicious trickster, trying to derail and distract Jet from his mission at every turn and ends up in a heated battle with Jet at the end of the comic. It turns out that he doesn't much care if the system goes down around their ears because the only way to save it would be to have all three "Jet" Programs merge, wiping out his existence.
Albedo Erma Felna EDF has the Independent Lepine Republic, a nation of rabbits who are engaged in a ruthlessly sophisticated military plan to conquer the opposing Interstellar Confederacy. In the course of their goal, those rabbits are guilty of massive and grotesque atrocities to anyone who opposes them, including any rabbits whom they brand as "race traitors" for daring to disagree with them.
Angel Bunny in Divided Rainbow is nothing short of merciless, uniting all his fellow animals against Rainbow Dash in a nonstop campaign of torment.
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.
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.
Bunnicula. Half rabbit, half-vampire, all terror! He sucks the juice out of carrots.
The funny thing is, he's something of a subversion in that he seems to be a pretty ordinary rabbit other than that. The paranoid cat Chester is nonetheless convinced that he's a danger to man and beast.
The Black Rabbit of Inle from Watership Down short story of the same name, not to mention General Woundwort himself.
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 & Dragons and Dragon Quest.
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.
In Stephen King's novel Dolores Claiborne, Vera Donovan is tormented in her old age by visions of 'dust bunnies', which terrify her but that Dolores Claiborne herself can't see.
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 (and in fact breeds rabbits), 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 scary for younger kids.
Played for laughs in Hannah Montana when Jackson eats too much chocolate and he has nightmares about a Godzilla chocolate bunny.
In the SyFy Channel miniseries Alice, the Red Queen's henchmen wear white face masks designed to look like rabbit heads◊. The rabbit heads become even creepier once you realize their true purpose: those "masks" have replaced their actual heads, and have hidden nozzles that they use to gas the Queen's chosen victims (or "Oysters") so they can abduct them (or kill them, if need be).
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.
To hammer the point in even further, there appears to be a severed leg with a child's sneaker below the table besides him.
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 nightmare versions of the Me Me Bunny and Majik Lapin in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance qualify, with their creepy red eyes and unpleasant coloration. They also have an annoying tendency to become completely immune to physical attacks, which turns them into definitive Goddamned Bats.
The Black Rabite from Seiken Densetsu 3. Rabites are mostly harmless, even though they can have levels in SD3 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.
"I want to cut the ears off, but I can't...I FUCKING CAN'T!!!"
An Easter Egg Hunt themed Warcraft III map has seriously horrifying bunnies.
World of Warcraft introduced the Darkmoon Rabbit, an obvious homage to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It latches onto and chews through the necks of players and has enough health that it requires a large raid to be killed. Visually, it is notable for being white with red bloodstains on its muzzle.
In the Mists of Pandaria expansion, we get the Virmen, a race of anthropomorphic rabbits that straddles the line between this and Rascally Rabbit. They're mostly found in the Valley of Four Winds as a farm pest.
Robbie the Rabbit from the Silent Hill games. He's an even more jarring example because he is nothing more than a pink stuffed rabbit (with a red stain on his mouth, sure)... that doesn't do anything.
The Social Bunny in The Sims 2. If your sim's social meter goes low enough, an imaginary friend comes along to help... an imaginary friend in a stained, worn, creepy-looking bunny costume that is missing an eye. Eeeeugh.
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.
TewiInaba 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 Clayfighter 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.
Members of the virtually extinct Taguel race in Fire Emblem Awakening (like Panne, her son Yarne, and potentially a Morgan parented by either of them with the Avatar) 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.
Upcoming game Overgrowth has you playing one. You play an anthropomorphic rabbit who can dispatch dozens of his furry fellows with some bone-breaking martial arts. Things only get more decisive when weapons like swords and spears get involved.
FF12's major dreamhare mark, Fury, is this trope. Its debut comes when you think you're about to fight a catoblepas but then Fury appears out of nowhere and one-shots it. A somewhat less terrifying version of Fury also appears in FFTA2.
FF12's also has a mark called the Vorpal Bunny, but it just takes the genus' "bat" status Up to Eleven.
FFTA2 has the Mooglebane, which is known for devouring Moogles' pom-poms, one of their worst nightmares. The monster's skill set is even renamed "Pom-pom Puree," though it really doesn't gain any mechanical benefits from its comically monstrous reputation.
The Pokémon franchise has a few rabbit-like pokemon. Most of them are mid-to-low strength Pokemon that don't really stand out from the pack though.
Gen I introduced Wigglytuff, the vaguely rabbit-like evolved form of Jigglypuff.
Gen I also introduces the player to Nidoran (Male) and Nidoran (Female). Both are cutesy rabbit-like Pokemon who happen to have sharp and very poisonous spines and horns. Their evolved forms (Nidorino and Nidorina) look more ferocious and dinosaur-like rather than the cutesy bunnies they started out as. And, using a Moon Stone on either will cause them to evolve into their final forms, which are essentially expies ofBaragon.
Gen II introduced Azumarill, the "Aqua Rabbit Pokemon" which evolves from Marill. It can play the trope straight thanks to the ability Huge Power, allowing it to rip apart enemy teams with ease with Aqua Jet, Waterfall and Play Rough.
Gen III introduced Whismur, though it loses its rabbit-like appearance as it evolves.
AdventureQuest has a werehare pet, terrifying and ferocious. Funnily enough it actually deals Light damage.
In Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, if you perform certain actions you can unleash Max from Sam & Max on a level. He will move through the level, murdering any enemies unfortunate enough to cross his path.
One of the main enemies in Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's Poacher are carnivorous rabbits, including giant ones called bargests.
One of the bosses in Dragon's Crown is an actual rabbit, where you fight it upon a heap of knight corpses no less.
Zig-zagged in Quest Of Yipe, a trilogy of Macintosh RPGs. The rabbits in the game are all enemies, but they are The Goomba.
Terraria has cute little bunnies that wander around the landscape and frequently get killed by enemy slimes or inadvertent player actions. However, during the Blood Moon, they transform into vicious purple Corrupt Bunnies with glowing red eyes. Only the Corrupt version drops a wearable bunny hood as loot.
This trope is whole point of Jazz Jackrabbit. It doesn't matter if you are a small rabbit as long you have a BFG.
Black Betty from Zebra Girl. Not to mention at least one other character who appears to be a compatriot.note 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.
Sluggy Freelance: Early on, Torg decides the strip needs a cute talking animal, so he buys a mini-lop rabbit called Bun-bun. Bun-bun refuses to talk at first, but when he does, it's to start insulting people and getting Torg into trouble by saying things to other people they think Torg did. ("It was the rabbit" never really works as an explanation.) That's only the start, though, as Bun-bun turns out to be psychopathically sadistic, an intelligent Manipulative Bastard, and an incredibly Bad Ass switchblade-wielding Pintsized Powerhouse capable of defeating vampires and demons. Basically, Torg is stuck with an exceptionally vicious and powerful villain as a pet (as Bun-bun has no intention of giving up the free food and lodgings). He still grows fond of his pet. He gets used to living with him.
Demon Lord Horribus of the Dimension of Pain: Electrocution, stretched limbs, and whipping! Is your will broken yet?
Torg: No, but it's starting to really tick me off!
Lord Horribus: You must have had serious military training.
Torg: Nope. Pet bunny.
The episode "Now you see her" of The Wotch, involves a stage magician's rabbit getting trapped in the hat's pocket dimension, growing to enormous proportions and kidnapping magicians' assistants.
Axe Cop features a rabbit gun that shoots rabbits that attack the user. Axe Cop says it was the worst weapon he ever tried.
Sketchy Bunnies is a new section of the Cheezburger Network dedicated entirely to pictures of terrifying Easter Bunnies. Most examples are people in rabbit suits that unintentionally descend right through the depths of Uncanny Valley and come out via the realm of Eldritch Abominations.
In the same vein, a darker rendition of the Easter Bunny by a Deviantart member portrays it as an evil abomination with two tumorous appendages on its head which its potential victims mistake for ears—before it mutilates them and feasts on their organs. Then there's the buck rabbit...
Gaia Online's Grunny, a fast-reproducing mutant zombie rabbit. One memorable Halloween event had a number of them escape the G-Corps labs and attack Gaians to feed on their gooey brains. As of zOMG!, Grunnies are also apparently sapient and capable of piloting Humongous Mecha submarines.
A recent new character, Diedrich, claims to be a Grunny, but is so far from Grunny norms that many fans think he's something else completely. Nonetheless, Diedrich is disturbingenough on his own terms to qualify for this trope.
Inverted with Everyman HYBRID's spectral serial killer HABIT, who often refers to his victims as "rabbits". Played straight with his Twitter avatar, which features a sinister-looking, red-eyed rabbit, and in Fan-Art (much of which depicts "Mr. H" as either an evil anthropomorphic rabbit or a human with rabbit-like features).
Zoofights VI's Hare Metal AKA Black Rabbath AKA Thumperstruck.
"Hare Metal is an eldritch blend of British steel and forbidden rural energies that, frankly, we do not understand."
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 Dwarfs, the forest animals attack the wicked queen and the shadow of a killer rabbit, with sharp teeth and claws, is seen.
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.note Ironically, the Trope Namer episode does not feature a particularly frightening Bugs.
Rancid Rabbit, the major heavy from CatDog is not just a complete Jerk Ass 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?
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 SigmundFreud) 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.
In another episode, Rocko goes on a date with a cute and seemingly-innocent bunny-girl (with an Overprotective Dad), but once they're (seemingly) alone, she drops the "innocent" act and tries to "trade math equations" with Rocko (who finds this off-putting, being so shy and all). Not only that, Rocko gets beaten up by her dad, despite being totally innocent.
Invoked in Bob's Burgers with Louise. Her pink bunny hat may make her look like an innocent child, but it actually hides (and, at the same time, highlights) her Enfant Terrible tendencies.
A large swamp rabbit once tried to climb onto then-President Jimmy Carter's fishing boat. Contrary to popular belief, Carter shooed it away before it got the chance to actually attack him.
Funnier yet, the White House Press Office tried to keep the pictures out of press view, for fear that the image of the President trying to defend himself from a rabbit would be fodder for latenight comedians to ridicule the President. Instead, when the photos did leak, the press ended up portraying Carter as heroically defending himself against a "killer rabbit" (Monty Python and the Holy Grail had recently been released stateside).