In the early and mid-2000s, David Lynch’s Rabbits—a nightmarish, bunnified version of a sitcom—was passed around on burned DVDs and discussed in tones that suggested watching it was as harrowing as screening a copy of that tape from The Ring. Now, Lynch having emerged as one of 2020's hottest up-and-coming YouTubers, the soul-numbing horror of Rabbits’ first episode has been uploaded, making it easier to color your day with a sense of lingering dread than ever before.
Rabbits 1, which was released in 2002 and later featured in Lynch’s Inland Empire, is the first part of a “sitcom” starring Mullholland Drive’s Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring, and Scott Coffey. The actors play a trio of bipedal rabbit people named Jack, Jane, and Susie who “live with a fearful mystery” within “a nameless city deluged by a continuous rain.”
The initial 15 minutes lets viewers know what they’re in for. To the sound of falling rain and an Angelo Badalamenti drone punctuated by the wails of a distant train whistle, Jane and Susie relax inside a dimly lit living room. One irons in the corner while the other reads. Soon, Jack enters and there’s canned cheering and applause. “I’m going to find out one day,” one of the rabbits says. “What time is it?” another asks. The audience laughs. The rabbits position themselves around the room with slow, dreamlike movements. The lights go out and a demonic rabbit in a robe appears to call out out an indistinct message. The lights turn back on as if nothing just happened. Everything feels ominous and wrong—a perversion of deeply-ingrained TV imagery suffused with an almost unbearable level of low-key tension.
After watching it, we suggest lightening things up a little by checking out some of the other videos Lynch has recently uploaded to his channel, like a 2015 animated short featuring sobbing ghost faces or a weather update that ends by recounting the time the director dreamed about being shot to death on D-Day.
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