Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Curse of Lepustopheles

Like most, if not all of my other super spooky Halloween-ish tales, this one is also 100% true and also did not occur during the month of October.  In fact it happened back in April of last year, around Easter-time of all things!  It all started when I received this quest to build a Rabbit Rescue Station.

Zynga has always struck me as a wholesome family-friendly company, and Farmville 2 as a wholesome family-friendly game.  And so it was with a fair bit of shock that I found my new Rabbit Rescue Station would require me to earn 666 badges to win the grand prize, an adorable little Blue French Angora Rabbit.

666 badges?!?  Really?
It doesn't matter if you're a Catholic, Scientologist, Atheist or even a Cornfishafarian like me, everyone knows that 666 is a number commonly associated with evil. 

According to Wikipedia

"In modern popular culture, 666 has become one of the most widely recognized symbols for the Antichrist or, alternatively, the Devil. The number 666 is reportedly used to invoke Satan...  Some people take the Satanic associations of 666 so seriously that they actively avoid things related to 666 or the digits 6-6-6. This is known as hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia."

So why would a wholesome family-friendly company like Zynga feature such a controversial number so prominently in their game?

Most people assumed there could be only one explanation: Zynga is evil!

God-fearing FV2 players from all over the world were up in arms over this and complaining about it loud and clear to Zynga.  Here is a small sampling of the many grievances posted to various internet sites:

They all blamed Zynga, but I knew better.  Zynga always makes for an easy scapegoat, but these farmers were barking up the wrong tree!  Zynga is not evil and certainly couldn't be responsible for the 666 fiasco.  

Think about it:
  • Zynga gave us our favorite game: FarmVille 2... for free! (Unless you want tech support, early expansion access, VIP benefits, cool decorations, limited edition trees and animals, special crop packets or anything cool really, because all that stuff costs farm bucks.)
  • Zynga employs hundreds of game developers who constantly break things strive to improve the game and make it run more slowly and crash more fun and interesting for our enjoyment.
  • Zynga gives us at least one challenging new quest each week which is almost never plagued by many, many frustrating glitches.
  • Zynga has heroically liberated all of us FarmVille 2 fanatics from the burdens of our families, friends, employment and personal hygiene so that we may spend 18 hours a day sitting in front of our PCs, living the dream of building our very own commercial farming empire while crushing the hopes and ambitions of our virtual friends, neighbors and even perfect strangers at the County and State Fairs week after week!

Now, how could anyone call that evil?

Nay, Zynga is the opposite of evil.  Zynga is the anti-antiChrist.  There is no way the number 666 could have intentionally appeared in Zynga's game by their design.  There is an evil force at work here, yes, but it could not be Zynga.  No sirree, Bob!

I had my own suspicions as to who might be behind this.  In my mind, there really could only be one explanation...

It had to be the bunny!

Yes, THAT bunny.  The adorable little Blue French Angora Rabbit you see pictured above, looking so soft and cuddly and sweet and innocent.  No one but I suspected that inside its little bunny chest must be beating the black heart of an evil bunny demon!

You see, I knew from many hours spent watching movies over my lifetime that all bunny rabbits are inherently evil.  Sure they usually look all cute and furry and harmless on the outside.  But deep down inside each and every one of them lurks a sadistic cold-blooded killer!

Indeed, some of the most notorious movie villains in history have been evil bunnies!

Remember General Woundwort?  He was a savage and powerful rabbit, dictator of the warren Efrafa and the main antagonist of Watership Down.  Woundwort was an evil, sadistic and brutally tyrannical leader who would eliminate anyone that got in his way.

How about the Were-Rabbit from Wallace & Gromit's The Curse of the Were-Rabbit?

In the 2005 claymation film, a mysterious nocturnal rabbit is raiding a community's vegetable gardens, threatening the annual vegetable contest. It turns out that the hero of the story (Wallace) is suffering from a curse (brought on by his own machinery) that causes him to turn into a giant rabbit when he is exposed to moonlight!

Oops. I guess I should have put a spoiler-alert somewhere in that synopsis; sorry.

And who could forget the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog from Monty Python and the Holy Grail?  Certainly not I!

The Cave of Caerbannog is the home of the Legendary Black Beast of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh (named for the last utterance of anyone who ever saw it). This is guarded by a monster which is initially unknown. King Arthur and his knights are led to the cave by Tim the Enchanter and find that they must face its guardian beast. Tim verbally paints a picture of a terrible monster with "nasty, big, pointy teeth!" so terrifying that Sir Robin soils his armor at the mere description. When the guardian appears to be an innocuous white rabbit, surrounded by the bones of the fallen, Arthur and his knights no longer take it seriously. Ignoring Tim's warnings, King Arthur orders Bors to chop its head off. Bors confidently approaches it, sword drawn, and is immediately decapitated by the rabbit biting clean through his neck!

Were those rabbits not scary enough for you?  Well, what about Frank from Donnie Darko?  Now that was one evil-looking bunny!

In the middle of the night, on October 2, 1988, Donnie is awakened from his sleep by a strange voice and led out onto a golf course where he converses with a life-size demonic-looking rabbit named Frank who tells him that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. Donnie then falls asleep. After waking up on the golf course the next morning, Donnie returns home to discover that a huge jet engine has fallen from the sky and into his bedroom. The next night Frank appears to Donnie and makes him flood his school.

Yeah, I know it was just a dude in a Halloween costume, and he was just helping Donnie unwittingly restore order to the universe in some convoluted time-travel/parallel-universe plot that you would have to be Stephen Hawking to fully comprehend.  But still pretty scary, right?  Hell yes!

Even Stephen Hawking couldn't follow the plot of Donnie Darko.

But for my money, the most terrifying of all evil bunny movies, the one that still gives me nightmares to this very day is 1972's Night of the Lepus.

Featuring an all-star cast including Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun, DeForest Kelley, Stuart Whitman and Paul Fix, it's about ranchers in Arizona being plagued by herds of hungry jackrabbits.  So they bring in a scientist-type dude to inject the rabbits with hormones and genetically mutated blood to you know, screw up their reproductive processes and stuff.  Of course that backfires and all hell breaks loose when one of the test subjects escapes and mates with the local rabbit population, resulting in a race of giant bloodthirsty man-eating bunnies!

When will science ever learn to stop messing with nature?

Anyway, I think I made my point, right?

Rabbits are evil.

So therefore I decided that I must confront this bloodthirsty little 666 devil bunny who had just appeared on my farm and was planning to do who-knows-what horrible things to me and/or my animals.

And so, perhaps foolishly, I continued to work on the quest in earnest; diligently collecting every badge I could, each bringing me one step closer to my inevitable, grisly fate.

In order to earn badges, I had to craft the special recipes in the Rabbit Rescue Station.  The quest was a three week long event, and each week brought a few new recipes into play.  The craft recipes were for things like Energy Treats, Animal Rafts, Rubber Boots, Wading Pants, Vintage Umbrellas, Drying Towels, Soft Ropes and Animal Raincoats.  

Yes, I said Animal Raincoats.  ¯\(°_o)/¯

Even my farmhands got in on the action, generously donating badges to me when they came to visit, oblivious to the role their benevolence played in ensuring my impending damnation.

But collecting over six hundred badges is quite a lot of work, so it was taking a long time, even with all the extra help.  I sensed the devil bunny was growing impatient at this fact, because he began using his dark telepathic powers to infect my thoughts with his evil notions.

Sometimes I would be able to resist the urge to comply with his nefarious instructions, but other times I was compelled to follow his dastardly directives, as if he were slowly but steadily gaining control over my mind!  Had his demonic possession of me already begun?

Even while I visited my neighbors' farms, the insidious lagomorph would goad me into committing heinous acts against them!

Not even my best friend, Carlos the turkey, was safe from the murderous thoughts with which the malevolent leporid was filling my head.

I had to find some way to end this torment.  I could not take it any longer!  I reluctantly went back to the rabbit, to plead for mercy.

I decided that I must go pray to the Cornfish God for guidance.  If anyone knew what to do, He would!


I then went to go fill Carlos in on what had been happening...

Carlos led me over to the new Springtime Egg Hunt Table, and boy was there a glorious sight to behold!

We immediately went to work on the Springtime Egg Hunt quest and we won the amazing wide-eyed Blue Silkie Bantam chicken in record time!

Carlos and I took Silkie and Devil Bunny out to a clearing in the forest to hold the staring contest.  It was a very tense situation...


Like I said, rabbits are evil!