Monday, July 16, 2012

Movie Series Reviews: Leprechaun

Like a determined Minecraft player, the horror genre will always keep digging until it hits pay dirt. It doesn’t matter if it seems all the diamond has been dug up; surely there is more that can be sought after. Thanks to this mentality we’ve had killer snowmen, ice-cream men, ginger bread men, Santa, William Shatner trick or treaters, and my personal favourite Leprechaun’s. By no means a good series I think I was drawn into this franchise thanks to wanting to see Warwick Davis do something other than a Ewok or great magician. There aren’t many roles for small statured people, and it seems Mr Davis is relishing the opportunity to play a horror bad guy.

Mike Myers leprechaun audition didn't go well.
The thing is something had to connect with other horror genre watchers as there are six movies in the franchise. Let me repeat that, this horror franchise has six movies about a killer leprechaun. Now in this Movie Series Review I’m only going to touch on the first four. The final two which take place in ‘da hood’ will be covered eventually but I want to tackle those one on one. Now I’m not calling these movies good, but there is some enjoyment to be had. Especially if you like weird horror genre killers. So let’s travel over the rainbow and visit the world of the Leprechaun.

Leprechaun (1993)

“Burn in hell, you little green bastard!”

Stealing the Leprechaun’s gold is a bad thing to do as like Liam Neeson he will hunt you down and kill you. Unfortunately for pre nose job Jennifer Aniston (Tory) some local handy men Nathan and Ozzie, along with the amusingly adult kid Alex set the Leprechaun free by accident and what’s worse they take his gold. From there its weird deaths and weirder rhymes as our heroes try to survive the wrath of the Leprechaun.

There is something about this movie that I really like, I think it is the fact that Warwick Davis is just having so much fun and you can sense that. The movie idea itself is stupid, and characters pull some bonehead moves when it comes to survival, but at least our main heroes’ aren’t horrid so I was hoping they would survive. Also how can you not be charmed by a man being killed by repeated blows to the chest thanks to a Leprechaun bouncing on a pogo stick?

Leprechaun 2 (1994)

“Scream as you may! Scream as you might! If you try to escape, you'll be dead on this night.”

At the moment my least favourite of the Leprechaun movies, as not only is it pretty boring, but it is the start of the franchises biggest problem. Consistency. First move was all about the Leprechauns gold, but this movie throws in a magic curse centred on the Leprechaun having a bride as well as the gold, and also introducing a wish element that wasn’t really covered in the first. It’s a bit of a mess with the two leads being boring.

Davis is still having fun, but the Leprechauns powers seem a tad under utilized. Though I did laugh at the motor boating kill, and a pretty nasty wish that deserved to be in the Wishmaster series, it was all a little ho hum. Sandy Baron as Morty was actually fun to watch, and his drinking scene with The Leprechaun hinted at the weirdness that this franchise can create, but it was just a blip in a movie that seemed longer than it was.

Leprechaun 3 (1995)

“Ahhh... lovely golden palaces completely full of riches. I'll rip 'em off and rob 'em blind, those dirty sons of bitches.”

Now this is where things really get fun. The Leprechaun finds himself in Las Vegas and while the movie is on a shoe string budget, it fully embraces the weirdness of the premise and I can’t help but loving this sequel. Yet again the Leprechaun mythos get’s changed, so that for every coin you get from the Leprechaun you can have one wish. There are a few other new things introduced but I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Needless to say this movie really shows how mean the Leprechaun can be with the kills getting into really zany territory. Killer robots and all.

Also surprise, surprise the leads are actually decent enough, I liked both Scott (John Gatins) and Tammy (Lee Armstrong) and was hoping that they would manage to overcome the Leprechaun. Davis is given more to do, as he runs around Las Vegas interacting with some of the interesting characters that only Las Vegas can supply, including an Elvis Impersonator. What I also enjoy about this movie is that Scott and the Leprechaun have a lot more interaction with each other, and both actors are having a lot of fun. They play off one another and it held my attention more than the other two.

Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997)

“Your shrieks, my dear, provide a perfect accompaniment to this romantic evening.”

Wow. Just wow. There is an idea within the horror community that once you’ve put your earth based horror creations in space; you’ve given up all hope for the franchise. Well it sure seems that way with this movie. There is some enjoyment to be had with this movie as it’s just completely bat shit insane, but you know that it’s a bad movie and couldn’t ever really recommend it too people unless you put three or five warnings in front of it.

The Leprechaun is now trying to claim a world for himself, and he does this by kidnapping an alien princess and then persuading her to help with kill her own dad. Add to this a group of space marines who’ve come to get the princess to prevent a galaxy wide war, and a mad scientist who wants to use the princesses genetics to rebuild his body, and you have a very mixed up movie. I do get the feeling that this was never a Leprechaun movie to begin with and they just added it in later. Davis is good yet again, but he does seem a little out of it, maybe even he knows how bad the movie is.

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