Top o’ the morning to ye!
What with St. Patrick’s Day coming up fast, it is now finally time to unearth my long-buried Leprechaun series. When I originally reviewed these, I did a “Lep Survival Guide” and it was, to be honest, kind of shit. In my defence, it was terrible entirely because of the films themselves- they’ve just got too little in common to remotely pretend that it’s the same monster, so attempting to condense it into a mock survival guide was an exercise in futility. I have now learnt my lesson and as a result, I’m going to review them in order, and then for the last part of this series add my hopes for the next film. This should be fun.
First up, the original Leprechaun film.
For the life of me, I cannot see how they managed to squeeze a whole franchise out of this. Seriously. I mean, I like it, but it doesn’t exactly scream out “needs 5 sequels”. However, this is the film that introduced Warwick Davis career defining role as the titular psychotic Irish magic midget. This is the film that also features a pre-nose job/ crash diet Jennifer Aniston and it’s a crying shame that the stuck up cow denies the existence of this film. It isn’t as if the rest of her career is deep fried gold.
Actually, now I come to think about it, that pisses me off. Leprechaun is not only a cracking piece of schlock, but also a better fucking movie than half the trash she stars in (Picture Perfect leaping to mind).
Anyhow, on with the film. Leprechaun opens with this crusty old dude that’s robbed Warwick’s pot of gold and taken it back to his farm in Asshole, middle America (it’s near Buttfuck, Ohio). Little does he know that the Leprechaun has stowed away and is, frankly, pissed that the old geezer has stolen his gold. He takes angry vengeance, before a series of events that border on the bizarre see him trapped in a crate. Anyhow, a few years later the nauseating Reding family move into the farmhouse to escape from the stress of LA. Obviously, as they’ve just moved in, they hire a few local inbreds to do some DIY on the old place. However, employment is clearly rough in the flyover states so they hire a local crew that comes complete with ret-er, lovable fool. Lovable fool frees the Leprechaun, who is pissed, and escapes to tell his story. Except nobody believes him because he’s “special” and also because it’s a fucking leprechaun. Oh and, he manages to eat a piece of the Leprechaun’s gold as well.
Cue, shenanigans, bloody murder, bad poetry and the Leprechaun being eventually defeated.
So what’s good about this film? To be honest, in comparison with the rest of the series, not that much. Human tripod Warwick is OK as the Leprechaun, but it’s certainly one of his lesser performances. He’s a bit lacklustre, and hasn’t turned the malevolent glee up to 11 (or 5.5 in his case) yet. Jennifer Aniston is Jennifer Aniston and therefore annoying by definition (she certainly isn’t hot yet either). The rest of the support aren’t really worth talking about, except I’ve seen this film far too many times for a well balanced individual and I still want to throttle the annoying child.
Nevertheless, this is a fun. The Leprechaun, aside from being psychotic, is also a miniature car thief (he robs a go-kart), kills people in inventive ways (the pogo-stick is genius), and has a quite inexplicable shoe fetish. Apparently nothing distracts a homicidal cod-irish supernatural dwarf like a good shoe. He’s also got a neat line in doggerel (I suspect it is deliberately bad)- “This old Lep, he played one, he went pogo on your lung” being a prime example.
However, this is (aside from the utterly shit part 6) the worst of the series. Muchlike with Chucky, they didn’t understand that they had a concept that transcends ridicule. It’s a psychotic Leprechaun, for the love of God! As a direct result of this, Mark Jones attempted to make a straight horror film and it has to be said that it has mixed success. The kills themselves are probably the only convincing ones in the series, and the makeup and effects are also above par, but at the end of the day, Leprechaun is a concept that screams out “comedy” rather than Horror, and by downplaying the very evident humour of the situation, this decision produced the most serious and second least entertaining entry.
At the end of the day, this is a reasonably entertaining piece of schlock. It never touches the greatness of the later sequels, because for some reason they thought they were making an actual horror film (why?), but it certainly doesn’t wallow in the depths of such utter shit as Child’s Play 3. It’s fun but it isn’t exactly Earth shattering stuff, and if anything the serious tone of it hurts the film. There are glimpses that they knew they were dealing with something ridiculous (the shoe scene), but these glimpses are few and far between.
As each Leprechaun film has fuck all in common with its predecessors (with one exception- the worst of the series) and gives nary a damn for continuity, then this one is easily missable. I still give it the occasional spin, and it isn’t the worst Horror film I’ve ever seen (it isn’t even the worst one I’ve seen this month), but it’s probably the Leprechaun film I watch the least.
I’m just astounded that they managed to make a franchise from this…
To be continued,