I’ve been re-watching the scenes from the 1978 film Watership Down which feature the Black Rabbit of Inlé. (You can find them buried at the bottom of this post if you’d like to watch them too.) I wanted to find out if they still brought about the same feelings of foreboding as those I found myself confronting when I was little. (I was legitimately little – about six or seven – when I watched Watership Down for the first time.)
Everything about the Black Rabbit intrigued me and simultaneously set me on edge. From his simplified yet undeniably creepy guise, to the unearthly murmur of his voice, to the way he made tracks through the sky.
Literally seconds into clicking on the first video I was like, ‘Yeah, nothing’s changed. I’m just as unsettled.’ (I was greatly unnerved by General Woundwort too, though weren’t most of us? I’d have written in greater length about him here if I wasn’t trying to get a trillion and one things completed today. He may get a post of his own. The evil bastard deserves one.)
“Some say that the Black Rabbit hates us and wants our destruction. But the truth is — or so they taught me — that he, too, serves Lord Frith and does no more than his appointed task.”Watership Down
If, by chance, you’re not familiar with The Black Rabbit of Inlé, he’s essentially the grim reaper of the rabbit world, and servant to the rabbits God Frith. The word Inlé is the Lapire – a fictional language created by Richard Adams, the author of Watership Down – term for the moon or darkness.
You’ve been feeling tired, haven’t you. If you’re feeling ready, we might go along now.Watership Down
The scene that’s always left my heart feeling like it’s stuffed with wet sand, happens at the end of the film. Hazel, a rabbit who’s weary with old age, is greeted by the the Black Rabbit (who initially appears as an ominous floating head) and offered a place in the Black Rabbit’s Owlsa (basically a group of intelligent, strong rabbits). Hazel lies down, takes his final breaths and his spirit leaves with the Black Rabbit. I’ve always found the whole thing profoundly sad, and the music, my gods, the music has always ensured my sorrow is ramped up to almost unbearable levels.
I’ve been mulling over getting a Black Rabbit tattoo for years, despite the fact he rattles my nerves unlike any other fictional character has ever been capable of doing. And I found this face mask which I was on the verge of purchasing, but then I noticed a review which said – and this is SUCH a shame because its such a wonderful mask – the print was dull and fuzzy. So didn’t. I might get this one though.
If you decide to watch the film, please feed back to me what you thought of it! The series from 2018 (it’s on Netflix) is worth a watch too because it’s really quite well done. Though I wasn’t overly impressed with the portrayal of the Black Rabbit. Also, the novel is spectacular. Without a doubt one of the most beautiful and enthralling books I’ve ever read.
P.S. I’m blogging here every other day for the time being, as I’m publishing posts on my other blog The Girl With Cold Hands nowadays too.