A Cinefessions Series Review is a periodic column that sees one more writers watching and reviewing an entire film series. Cinefessions considers any film franchise that has two or more films a series, and thus available for review in this column. This is an excellent way to get a quick look at an entire collection of films in one column. Today, Chris celebrates St. Patrick’s Day the only way he knows how: beer and Leprechaun.
So there I was on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, getting wasted at home, playing some Playstation 4, and I thought to myself, “Hey, I own this four-pack of Leprechaun films. I should totally watch them!” I made some comments on Twitter, and Branden “forced me” to watch through the entire series. Misery loves company, so I’ve brought you guys along for the ride!
Leprechaun (1993, dir. Mark Jones)
It’s been 21 years since the original Leprechaun film came out, and a solid 15 or so since I’ve actually seen it. The biggest draw to the film is that Jennifer Aniston is in it. She rocks that ‘90s hair and short shorts. I did a little research on the cast and director, and she’s the only one to ever really advance beyond this film series.
Leprechaun starts with a guy dropping gold off at this old lady’s house. She hears a voice of a child coming from a box, and out pops a not-so-cute little man. The story then jumps ahead a bit as our unlucky heroes move to a new house. The cast, outside of the little boy, is fairly likeable which is rare for any horror film.
Leprechaun is not a good film. After the opening, we don’t get another kill until about 45-minutes in. When some more blood is finally shed, the kills are just absurd, as are most of the Leprechaun’s antics, from riding his tiny tricycle to riding around in a wheelchair. It does offer some good effects, even if they make zero sense (like the eyeball scene, for example).
I wouldn’t really recommend Leprechaun unless you’re a huge horror buff. I don’t remember the sequels at all and/or haven’t seen them, so this shall be a fun adventure!
Leprechaun 2 (1994, dir. Rodman Flender)
Leprechaun 2 has nothing to do with the original except that it stars the same Leprechaun, played once again by Warwick Davis. This time around it’s his 1000th birthday, and he gets to pick any woman as his bride. However, he picks his slave’s daughter, and he breaks the spell, so now the Leprechaun has to wait another 1000 years to pick a new bride.
Lucky for us, 1000 years later is now. Actually, we’re not so lucky because the silly humor is now gone, and the acting goes completely down the tubes. The girl who plays Bridget (Shevonne Durkin) is one of the worst actresses I’ve ever seen, and she tries to do so much in the role that I can’t imagine what the director was thinking from scene to scene. Speaking of the director, Rodman Flender also directed Idle Hands, which I really enjoyed. There’s also a brief appearance from Clint Howard.
While Leprechaun 2 fails in almost every area, it still offers some great deaths. The one that always sticks in my head is when a guy is tricked into thinking lawnmower blades are a naked girl. And yes, we do get nudity, but I think it’s a body double because we never see the actress’ head and boobs at the same time, and they appear larger than what the actress seems to have hidden away. There’s one other death that’s pretty good, involving a pot of gold.
Leprechaun 3 (1995, dir. Brian Trenchard-Smith)
Oh man, you guys won’t believe the plot in this one! A one-legged, one-armed, half blind man brings in a Leprechaun statue to a pawn shop in Vegas. Meanwhile, a kid is driving through on his way to L.A. to start school. He helps a pretty magician’s assistant, and winds up stumbling upon the Leprechaun’s missing gold coin. Some things go down, and he gets bitten by the Leprechaun, and slowly starts to turn into a Leprechaun himself!
So with that plot and the location you can only expect cheap gags and silly kills, and that is exactly what we get here. The film easily offers the best kills in the series, plus the best acting all around. It’s much easier to digest than the second film.
Sadly the gore is rather tame. The best kill involves a woman exploding, and it seriously looks like clumps of dirt falling out of her. There’s mild blood splatter elsewhere, but it’s very tame. Once again Warwick Davis returns as our serial killer Leprechaun, but this time he has super cheesy rhymes that just make the film that much sillier.
Three films in and, honestly, I see no reason for anyone to visit this series for a first time. They visually hold up fairly well but provide little T&A, and the gore is most often simplistic. This third outing is probably the most fun one can have with the series, though.
Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996, dir. Brian Trenchard-Smith)
This is one series that is full of surprises. I thought the last film was absurd, but Leprechaun 4: In Space takes it to a whole new level. The Leprechaun is on a distant planet, and has the princess of said planet as his soon-to-be wife. Some space marines show up, knock her out, and blow the Leprechaun up. A guy pees on a piece of him, and gets the Leprechaun gets absorbed into his penis.
Yes, you read that right.
That moment leads to the funniest scene in the film that has a Leprechaun popping out of a guy’s penis. This film is beyond cheesy, but it has some wonderful cheesy moments. Hell, there is a character – or even better, half of a body – that is the doctor of the ship, and his name is Dr. Mittenhand.
At no point could the people involved with this film take it seriously with names and scenes like that. My favorite thing about Leprechaun 4: In Space is that it actually includes three female characters, a first for the series, which has typically had just one female present the entire film.
Leprechaun 4 is a terrible film, but man is it stupid fun. It has cross-dressing, and a pretty awesome creature near the end. The writing isn’t as funny as the other three, and there are no rhymes, but the cheese factor is so high that it’s almost enjoyable.
I actually feel dirty giving it such a high score…
Leprechaun in the Hood (2000, dir. Rob Spera)
I swore I would never watch this film. It’s probably the worst idea a horror series has ever had. Seriously, “in the hood”? Where does one begin? Well, this time around our little fella is a statue thanks to the magical necklace (once again) and is awaken by a rap mogul (played by Ice-T, not to be confused with Ice Cube). He gets the necklace back on him, but years later, a group of wannabe rappers rob the mogul, stealing the gold and a magical flute that turns them into superstar rappers.
Know what? We went to space, where there was a princess of a planet, and I believed that more than this film. The Leprechaun barely appears in this one. Instead, it mostly has Ice-T running around, looking for our little rap group. The Leprechaun just pops up here and there, gets high and/or kills someone. The gore is pretty good when people are killed on-screen, but that rarely happens.
The series also takes two steps back with the ladies. You see a grandma for about 90-seconds, and there are some zombie flygirls. Otherwise, it’s a man’s world, with a few ladies in the background. This also means no nudity for the third time in the series. I honestly can’t believe I watched this, and paid $3 to do so! This is clearly the series’ low point thus far. There’s just no way it can get any worse…right?
Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood (2003, dir. Steven Ayromlooi)
Was the last film so well received that we had to go Back 2 tha Hood? This time around, a cute African American girl goes to a fortune-teller, and gets told of a not-so-positive future. She finds a pot of gold, and now the Leprechaun wants it back. The first thing I really liked about Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood is that it opens with a cute little cartoon, and explains the actual history behind the Leprechaun!
The Leprechaun is not present for the first 30-minutes of the film, but then shows up and gets high as a kite, toking on a bong. He then stumbles around looking for food, and gets locked in a fridge.
This film has crazy, with white, Kung Fu police officers, and girls with shotguns and gold teeth. They went all out with this film, and – my God, I can’t believe I’m going to say this – I was highly entertained. It is nice to see a strong female lead, plus a few back-up female characters to fill out the movie. The kills are not anything special, but they get the job done. There is a bong through a chest ala a chest tube, and a jaw gets ripped off (although with the jaw scene, everything implies the upper jaw, but then the lower jaw ends up on the ground).
In all seriousness, this movie is stupidly awesome. Maybe it was the beer I had, but I had a ball with Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood. It’s up there with Leprechaun and Leprechaun 3 as the best of the series, which is scary in its own right.
The CSR Awards
(The Cinefessions’ Series Review Awards)
Best Picture: Leprechaun
Though it did not receive the highest score of the bunch, it is the better made film.
Worst Picture: Leprechaun in the Hood
Seriously, this one had nothing redeeming about it but the scene where the Leprechaun gets fed by grandma.
Favorite Scene/Moment in Series: Lawnmower Death (Leprechaun 2)
Easily the best kill in the series, and the one that has always been stuck in my head since the first time I saw this film back when I was 11 years old.
Best Actor: Warwick Davis (All Films)
Not once in the series do we get a solid male actor outside of Warwick Davis, who plays our evil little Leprechaun in all six films.
Best Actress: Tangi Miller (Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood)
That’s right, I’m pulling the carpet out from under Jennifer Aniston. Tangi Miller just gives a strong female performance here, which was way more enjoyable than a scared Jennifer Aniston.
In no way, shape, or form is the Leprechaun series a good one. It has no outstanding films worth watching, but if you’re a horror junkie who likes seeing a little person use cheesy things like Pogo Sticks and bongs to kill people, this might be right up your alley. Be warned: your brain will need to be shut off to fully enjoy these films. I highly recommend getting drunk while watching these, because that’s what I did!
The average film rating for the Leprechaun film series is 1.83 stars.