Leprechaun– 1993, Mark Jones
Holiday-themed slasher films are a proud tradition for horror fans, and when it comes to larger than life, murderous, movie-maniacs, Warwick Davis in a green jacket sounds like about as logical a choice as any, to me. Evidently, the rest of the world thought so too, because it was with open arms that the we, as a global, human family, first welcomed Leprechaun into our lives way back in the naive, carefree days of 1993. The movie was a relative success, and in the years that followed, we ended up with way more sequels than we wanted, needed, or asked for. It’s the American way. I’ve also heard many people claim that an annual re-watching of Leprechaun has become a cherished St. Patrick’s Day tradition in some social circles, so certainly we can declare this whimsical horror jam to be a true classic, right?
Wrong, Leprechaun totally and completely fucking sucks. This is a terrible movie.
Come at me, bro.
THE PLOT- While renovating an old farmhouse, a group of unlikable morons inadvertently frees a malicious leprechaun, who had been trapped on the property in an old trunk. This gnarly little fairy creature proceeds to kill his way through the local population on a murderous, limerick-laiden rampage, with the intention of finding his much cherished and now stolen pot of gold. Also, none of our main characters die, which is a shame because every single one of them suck, and I wish more than anything that I could watch them breath their last, and know that they are finally gone forever.
We have a lot of ground to cover with this stinker, so I’mma dive right in.
I guess it’s not really the fact that Leprechaun sucks that is the problem, hell, tons of my favorite movies completely suck, especially in this genre. It’s more an issue of HOW Leprechaun chose to suck. This flick is super bipolar, it switches abruptly between more or less enjoyable sequences where Warwick Davis kills people or lurks around in the shadows, and terrible, boring sequences which last forever and manage to out bland Admiral Blandy McBlanderson of the Planet Blandtron. For real, we get the most boring, artless photography imaginable, a lame story, embarrassing dialogue, and characters nobody could possibly care about. Leprechaun feels like an R rated children’s movie. This stuff is the opiate of the ignorant.
The music is maybe the worst part of the whole shebang. The score is all shitty, Casio music which sounds like a mix of PBS standbys and what you’d see in one of Full Moon’s more mediocre productions. Here, in Leprechaun, this horrible music plays over the entire length of the picture, and any film, be it Taxi Driver or The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Movie, would instantly tank and remain forever banished to the realm of cinema’s most heinous rejects if they were shackled to a score this overbearingly fuck-awful. Luckily, however, this isn’t a situation where the music spoils a perfectly good film, because every other aspect of Leprechaun sucks with equal ferocity as well. Director Mark Jones captures the suspense and drama of the film’s scattered “horror” sequences with the sort of constant menace you might expect from an episode of Loony Tunes, except not as funny… And Leprechaun WANTS to be funny. Trust me, it’s not. This film just flat out sucks A to Z, and there’s nothing in here that works.
A legit claim to fame for this groan-fest is that it’s an early on-screen appearance of the now popular actress Jennifer Aniston, but she’s really just here as an outlet for the film to condenscend to women, which is another point that absolutely needs to be brought up; Leprechaun has a very disturbing “That’s cute, now get back in the kitchen” outlook on feminism. Aniston’s character does nothing but complain, fawn over dudes, and scream at spiders for the entire fucking movie. Really, if you twisted my arm and demanded I say one nice thing about Leprechaun’s treatment of this actress, I guess it would be that she’s really not sexualized all that much. No nude scenes, no wet t-shirts, no butt close ups (I’m looking at you Tobe Hooper,) so it COULD be much more exploitative… But she’s still really, really awful, and more than anything else, this whole thing is pretty telling of a harsh, deep seeded sexism, which hangs over every second of Leprechaun’s unforgivably long run time.
The other characters in the film aren’t a hell of a lot better, either. We spend a lot of time with an obnoxious, smart ass kid named Alex, and Ozzy, a mentally retarded man that Alex hangs out with. Even though Alex is like, nine, and knows nothing about the world around him, he seems to be a few notches above Jenifer Anniston in the groups social pecking order. Anniston and Ozzy, however, are more or less on the same level. Regardless, every single moment with those two is about as pleasant as a handjob from Edward Scissorhands. It’s beyond reason, I cannot rationalize why any human being would write a script like this. Firstly, that kid is just an annoying little shit, someone needs to tell him to shut the fuck up when the adults are talking. As for Ozzy, I’ve not seen an adult actor demean themselves to this extreme a degree since Dom Deluise REALLY started slumming it (see Going Bananas for an adequate example of this. jk, don’t ever see Going Bananas. Ever.) It’s basically an insult to the audience that this is our movie and these are our characters. Why did we accept this?!
The only times that Leprechaun feels watchable are during the its adequately imaginative kill scenes. Lep does do some fun stuff, even if he is really is just a squat, Irish, Freddy Kruger rip off. The character does have some potential, and Davis does a good job here. In fact, many of the Leprechaun sequels actually suck much, much less than this first outing, if you really wanted this movie to work, all is not lost, and you won’t have to wait long for a drastically improved sequel. I would just skip this thing if I was you, it’s flat out shitty, and most likely, I’ll never watch Leprechaun again.
…But people like this movie! I don’t know, I guess there is a good chunk of horror fandom that will watch just about anything… Maybe that in and of itself accounts for most of the Lep-Love out there in the world, but I have a different theory…. Bare with me; since Leprechaun is a movie which, as stated above, is often enjoyed annually during St. Patrick’s Day, I wonder if it’s a safe assumption that, by the time they hit play on the DVD player, most of the returning audience is already fully hammered, and possibly not even paying attention… I’m sure that could help make this thing more bearable. Aside from that, I theorize that 100% of Leprechaun’s remaining supporters fall into one of two categories;
1. Nostalgia addicts, people who are happy to overlook glaring inadequacies of literally anything that reminds them of a happier, simple time…
2. …Warwick Davis. Ever the self promoter, Warwick Davis is more than happy to tell you about how great this movie is. Homeboy left the franchise kicking and screaming.
My official take: More like SUCK of the Irish! (zing!) Leprechaun totally blows.