The Pot of Gore: Leprechaun Origins

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As The Church of Chang’s foremost lepologist, it’s my duty to review any Leprechaun movie out there. I first heard of a new Lep movie a couple of years ago, when the production company drank in my local boozer. They had the rights and were attempting to get Warwick back to bring us some more zany high-concept Lep fun. Sadly, they lost the rights and it passed on to WWE Studios- who instantly promised to reboot the series. Alarm bells began to ring at this point, if I’m honest. Nevertheless, WWE pressed ahead, and delivered unto us Leprechaun: Origins, and it’s now my sorry duty to bury the corpse of my favourite Horror franchise.

Let’s be clear from the start: this is not a good film. In fact, I’d go as far as stating it’s a terrible film. This time around, because it’s an origins film, we’ve dispensed with the wacky and enjoyably goofy origin introduction. In theory, this isn’t a bad idea as the whole film is going to be an origin, but I’m already kind of missing crappy fake computer animation or book turning fairytale nonsense. It does, however, signify the approach that they’re going to take with the movie. We’re aiming at sub-Nolan realism here, and that sentence, in context of a Leprechaun movie is as depressing a phrase as I’ve ever typed.

I'm sure I saw this scene in Jurassic Park 2

I’m sure I saw this scene in Jurassic Park 2

So, a group of dopy teens are backpacking around rural Ireland- that owes more than a nod to the Yorkshire moors of American Werewolf in London. There’s some bollocks with the poteen swilling locals and a mystery involving stolen gold, but our two couples are oblivious to this, taking up the locals’ kind offer of an isolated cottage on the edge of the woods. Next thing you know, there’s a pissed off Leprechaun on the loose. Shenanigans completely fail to ensue, as our dreary heroes are offed one by one (and an evil villager or two as well), before our heroic survivor girl utters the less than immortal “fuck you lucky charms” and beheads the Leprechaun. But…. it turns out there’s loads of them out there and we’re wide open for a sequel that I’d be surprised to ever see made.

As a film, this is turd. It’s competent enough- and the actors are decent (particularly Brendan Fletcher). It’s, for a change, too dark though and I struggled to make out what was going on at some points. It is, however, monstrously boring as we’re totally indifferent to the plight of our protagonists and the Leprechaun has been completely devolved to a kind of grunting feral beast with the personality of a fruitarian. So, as a film, Leprechaun Origins fails on its own merits, and completely divorced from the rest of the series, I’d be giving it one of these:

1chang.jpg

Crap, but competent.

However, it’s a Leprechaun movie, and on those terms it’s a total fucking disaster. So, I’m going to spend the rest of this review looking at where and why it goes so far wrong.

Mistake 1: Reboot

The very concept of rebooting the Leprechaun series is a bad idea. This is possible unique in terms of franchises where the first sequel said “bollocks to continuity” and threw the previous film under the bus. Every single film has had a “different” Leprechaun with different goals, motivations and strengths and weaknesses. There is simply no need to try to reboot a series that has no continuity and insists on picking a goofy idea and having as much fun in that sandbox as possible. In a way, I can kind of see why they did it: a valiant attempt to get away from having Warwick Davis as “that” Leprechaun (because this is the only thing the original films have in common), but it’s simply a terrible and unwanted idea. Which brings me on to Mistake 2:

Fuckssakes. Bring Back Warwick

Fuckssakes. Bring Back Warwick

Mistake 2: No Warwick

Let me put this as simply as possible. No Warwick= no Leprechaun.

I used to say that Warwick was probably the greatest little person actor that’s ever walked the face of the planet, but The Dink’s turn in the otherwise awful Game of Thrones and the guy in In Bruges have made me rethink that statement a bit. It’s still safe to say he’s in the upper echelons though. More to the point, Warwick has a unique body shape for a little person, with surprisingly “long” (in this context) legs and whatnot. This allows him to appear more sprightly and less solid than other little people actors- which works a treat when dealing with a supernatural homicidal Irish midget. Furthermore, Warwick is a dab hand at accents, and can, thus, pull off the “Japers” Irish accent without breaking a sweat. The unique combination Warwick has makes him the only person on the planet that could pull this role off. While Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl is probably a decent actor in his own right, they’ve reduced the Leprechuan to a grunting animal to minimise the need for actual acting and so I haven’t a clue if he’d make at least a passable Leprechaun.

Basically, the attempt to minimise the lack of Warwick renders the film charmless and mostly boring.

leprechaun-origins1

Grab my chopper.

Mistake 3: Realism

For fuck’s sake. Some ideas are bad, but you can kind of ignore them, some ideas are bad, and make everything better by existing, and some ideas are bad and severely damage whatever they’re attached to. Making a film about supernatural Irish magic midgets with a gold craving and a bent for homicide “realistic” is a howlingly bad idea. I honestly can’t understand why you’d do this- it’s Midichlorian level bad and as such a colossal, franchise killing fuck up, as all it does is reduce the film to being another dreary slasher set in a cabin in the woods, effectively performing a charm-ectomy on the film. Which brings me on  to Mistake 4:

leprechaun-origins2

They holding her at gunpoint, just in case she’s a Leprechaun in disguise

Mistake 4: Discarding the high concept

The Leprechaun films are, at their best, entertaining high-concept disasters. This is a series where each individual film effectively functions in the service of a gimmick- Vegas, In Space, In the Hood, etc etc etc. The point of the series, when it’s at its best, is to drop a seriously unlikely movie monster into a ludicrous situation then gleefully wallow around in the mess made. The error made here, in part, is tied in to the reboot and realism mistakes, because in their attempt to make a “serious” origin film, they flushed the greatest selling point of the franchise down the toilet . Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to watch a glum Leprechaun slasher film, but we might want to watch some arrant stupidity like Lep in Feudal Japan, or Lep in the old West.

leprechaun-origins3

This, despite appearances, is not a scene from Alien v Predator: Requiem

Mistake 5: Losing the gimmicks

Similar to Mistake 4, each Leprechaun himself had a gimmick of some description. Whether zombie hos, turning to the green side, regenerating alien princesses or even shoe fetishism, they all had some goofy gimmick that made the Leprechaun essentially a comic character. I support the gimmick here was sub-Predator level Lep-vision, but that’s kind of boring and hackneyed. What all these gimmicks have in common though is that they supply some levity to the Leprechaun- something a bit unusual that allows us to laugh at the monster.

Let's hide in the woods. If they can't find us, they can't make us finish the film

Let’s hide in the woods. If they can’t find us, they can’t make us finish the film

Mistake 6: Losing the laughs

Now I mention it, the idea of a homicidal Leprechaun is inherently silly and humourous. The original films understood this, Origins does not. Seriously- break it down look at it objectively- the whole concept is completely ridiculous. The Leprechaun does not fit easily into the  mold of horror villain. He’s at his best in inherently humorous comic situations- Lep in Vegas doing Elvis impersonations, or wielding a lightsabre in space and mesmerizing cyborg drill seargants into dancing in drag. This is inherently funny and goofy shit, and arguably what provides the entertainment in the series. Origins, by becoming sombre and glum, actually makes the silliness more apparent and thus the film more boring.

I could go on here, but it’s getting me down now. Anyway, you get the drift. My rating for Leprechaun Origins is a well earned Orangutan of Doom, and that they chose to go with this glum, boring and unentertaining version of the Leprechaun when they could have gone for Lep by Gaslight, or Lep in the White House (both actually mooted ideas) makes me depressed. Bring by the joy to the Leprechaun film, and give us Spring Break- wall to wall boob, and laughs galore.

Orangutan of Doom

Depressing, really.

Until next time,

Jarv.

The Pot of Gore

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

24 responses to “The Pot of Gore: Leprechaun Origins”

  1. Jarv says :

    Er, whoops. 1400 words was honestly not needed on this one.

    Still, done now.

  2. Judge Droid says :

    If you can’t distract him by throwing shoes for him to shine, I don’t want to know about it.

  3. Jarv says :

    I actually think this is the most depressing nuhorror remake thing around. It’s just so goddamned dreary and anti-fun. totally misses the point, and doesn’t get that the Leprechaun was never a good horror villain. To reposition it as “A Horror icon is born” is total gubbins. In a nutshell, Jonah was right.

  4. tombando says :

    Lep in the White House-?! Jarv you’re halfway to Producer land w that. Cast it, do a kickstarter, and you’re sure to do some serious mint. CGI Billy Barty. Make it so.

  5. Continentalop says :

    A serious Leprechaun movie? An Aunt May movie?

    These are signs of the apocalypse people.

    • Jarv says :

      Just fucking stupid. It really is. If anything I’ve been gentle on it.

      • Echo the Bunnyman says :

        The only possible usefulness for the film at this point, is to inspire a Return-to-Warwick, ‘Leppy Goes to Hollywood’ movie, where it opens with him slaughtering the entire office of execs who geenlit this thing with his shoebuckle.

        This should have been called ‘Irish Mole-Rat: Origins” for all that it has to do with so-called Leprechauns. Darby O’Gill and the Little People was spookier than this (albeit, that was the banshee not the leprechauns).

      • Jarv says :

        That’s a great idea. I’d watch that.

        Crap as a film and disgraceful as a Lep film.

  6. Continentalop says :

    And WWE did it?

    Well, now I know it’s a quality film.

  7. Toadkillerdog says :

    Good job Jarv. Took one for the team again. With no Warwick, I see no point in watching this though. I have three questions.
    1) How are Finn and the Mrs doing?
    2) NFL team in London, does anyone over there really want that?
    3) Is there a secret level of unholy dogshit awful above and beyond OOD that you have never used?

    • Jarv says :

      Finn and the Mrs are great- He’s a handful with absolutely no sense of self preservation

      Re NFL in London- it’s heavily marketed and ex-pat Americans all go, but nobody really gives a shit beyond novelty value.

      Worse than OoD? You’d think, but unless I resurrect the Murph, no, there’s not

  8. ThereWolf says :

    A realistic Lep movie?

    And Warwick-less too?

    Bollocks. In the words of Mr Shia Leboof – “No-no-no-no-no-no-no…”

    And I shall also add one more ‘no’ to the list.

  9. kloipy says :

    That’s the design they chose for the Lep? What in the ever loving fuck were they thinking? I refuse to watch this turd. No Warwick, no watchy. I like Jonah’s Lep goes Hollywood idea.

    I’d watch any Lep film with Warwick in it and here are some ideas I think could work (in an albeit awful way)

    Lep Goes West: The Lep goes to the wild wild west and fucks with a bunch of prospecters who unearth his gold

    Lep vs Lep: the Lep gets cloned and we got one good one, one bad one. The dual. No matter who wins; we lose.

    • Jarv says :

      Lep Goes West: The Lep goes to the wild wild west and fucks with a bunch of prospecters who unearth his gold

      The Good, The Bad, and The Leprechaun.

      Gold.

      • Echo the Bunnyman says :

        They should have churned more of these out back when this thing was under Trimark/Vidmark, whem there was no shame or fear of low quality. I guess that’s an unfair criticism since they did churn out six of them.

        Still, I was always partial to the VS angle, and would have loved to have had the two big Vidmark baddies, Warlock and Lep, go head to head. Warwick and Julian Sands unleashed, tongue-in-cheek (or for Warlock, tongue bitten out of cheek) and campy as hell.

        The other humorous angle would be to actually have him VS some really crap children’s character–maybe not as a whole movie, but just in a cameo or something. Leprechaun VS. Munchie, for example.

      • kloipy says :

        Fistfull of Gold

      • Judge Droid says :

        Lep offers Demi a million in gold to spend the night with him. Woody objects. Demi accepts. Murderous hilarity ensues.
        – Indecent Leposal

      • Judge Droid says :

        It’s St. Patrick’s Day and Lep has flown in to see the estranged Mrs. Lep, who is working in a high rise. (You see where this is going) Thieves take over the building, intent on stealing Leps gold which is stored in the vault. Murderous hilarity ensues.
        – Lep Hard

      • Judge Droid says :

        Lep is a cantankerous romance writer who suffers from OCD. He befriends the gay neighbour, a waitress and a dog. Murderous hilarity ensues.

        – As Good as it Leps

      • Judge Droid says :

        You can pretty much insert Lep (Warwick version of course) into any scenario and it would be amusing.

        Lep is a morally corrupt investment banker swindling gold from the naive. As the Feds close in murderous hilarity ensues.

        – The Lep of Wall Street

      • Jarv says :

        Yes, it’s a great ongoing joke.

        Just got to avoid scenarios that have already been used- Sci-Fi for example.

        I still want to see 150: Leprechaun turns up in Ancient Sparta to discover that Xerxes has his gold and helps out king Leonides and his honour guard.

      • kloipy says :

        LOL!

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