WRITER: Mark Jones
DIRECTOR: Mark Jones
STARRING: Warwick Davis as The Leprechaun
Jennifer Aniston as Tory
Ken Olandt as Nathan
Mark Holton as Ozzie
Robert Gorman as Alex
Shay Duffin as O'Grady
John Sanderford as J.D
QUICK CUT: A father and daughter from LA move out to the sticks to find a simpler life. What they find is crazier than they could've imagined; a leprechaun who wants his gold back, and is willing to kill for it.
Tory - Our heroine, for all intents and purposes. She's a typical LA mallrat, transplanted to the country. Hates having no phone reception, all the dirt, and fresh air, and NATURE of it all, a total vegan (save for her shoes!), and she always tries to put up a VERY feminist front and shouts of equality...but then the script demolishes every claim by having her revert to type seconds later.
Nathan - The hunky neighbour/painter/handiman that shows up and gives Tory a reason to stick around for a little while. He's big, handsome, and rather willing to fight against a leprechaun for people he just met.
Ozzie - A big oaf of a guy with some undefined learning disability that makes everyone refer to him as a child. He loves fanciful stories, and claims to see UFOS and aliens and bigfoot everywhere, and he's got a giant heart.
Alex - Ozzie's best friend, and an actual child. He often comes off as the smartest of the trio, and has a knack with machines.
The Leprechaun - The bad guy, and MAN is he a *dick*. He claims all he wants is his gold, but when he gets it, he tends to kill the people anyways. And most of his victims actually have nothing to do with his gold, they were just standing there, doing their jobs, and killed for fun or plot points or mischief! Almost everyone with the gold escapes unscathed and he never even harms them beyond a few cosmetic scratches! What a jerkbag...
THE GUTS: Ahh, top o' the mornin' to ye...and no. No, I am not doing that. No way. You guys deserve better, and I respect the Irish way too much for that. But welcome to March, welcome to our classic kickoff with Leprechaun, and welcome to Leprechaun Month! Yep, my luck of the Irish has totally run out, and I am doing the first three Leprechaun movies this month. Why not all six? Because no. No no no. Sure, I loved doing Silent Month Deadly Month, but no. Three is enough, and a sensible breakoff point. Also, while I normally try and avoid reviews done by the Channel Awesome folks, Leprechaun again falls under things we should be reviewing here. I've also been planning these reviews for longer than I was planning to add more classic reviews to the site, so decided to give everyone a month of franchise cheese.
Justifications are done, review is GO!
After a brief glimpse of our titular baddie, giving us just a taste of things to come, we jump over to a guy arriving home totally shitfaced from a long trip. They probably tease the Leprechaun a bit too much to start with, but they do wisely keep his face hidden or in shadows for a good long while.
Turns out Daniel O'Grady has had a change in fortunes at his mother's funeral in Ireland, and instead of coming home with her ashes, he has returned with a bag filled with gold coins, claiming they're from a Leprechaun. I'd call that crazy, except for, y'know, the title of the movie.
While his wife makes some tea to try and steam the whiskey out of her Danny boy, she hears a little girl's voice crying out from his suitcase. Boy, that must've been fun getting through customs.
She releases the Leprechaun from the suitcase, and he terrorises her right down the cellar stairs and into a broken neck. Dan returns from hiding the gold to find Lucky with the tea, and asks how he got there. Well, it's all because of magic! And it kinda bugs me that they can use magic to find and travel to people and not their gold. I mean, sure, magic rules and such, can't go straight to the source of the magic, that would be wrong (And bad for the plot), but geeze, magic can be a real bitch...
Dan grabs a gun, and the Leprechaun's kryptonite, a four-leafed clover. Which is good, because the bullets did nothing to the guy.
The bullets do eventually put Shamus O'Shanty O'Shame down, at least long enough for Danny boy to dump the body into a crate and nail it shut, leaving the clover atop it to hold him in there forever. Well, at least until even the slightest breeze moves it away.
Fortunately, Dan has a plan beyond that, and starts pouring gasoline over the crate. The Leprechaun taunts him the entire time he's setting things up, and dragging his wife up the stairs. And wouldn't y'know it, just before he's about to toss a match down the stairs, the poor guy has a heart attack.
"Ha ha ha, take that! Ye won't be burnin' me now, will ye! Now to just get...out...sodding hell, I didn't think this through."
Ten years later, and we see Jennifer Aniston and her dad pulling up to Dan's old house, and we are immediatly graced with her character's personality of spoiled California girl. Joy.
Just as she's about to run away from the giant spiderweb her dad wants her to call home, Tory runs into a hunky love interest...er, neighbour, whose first instinct it is to make fun of girls for being scared of spiders.
And I like that Tory gives him crap for having such an old fashioned chauvinistic mindset...except for the fact that being afraid of spiders is EXACTLY why she ran out of the place, so... But on the upside, it shames her into staying just to prove Nathan wrong.
Tory brings Nathan a peace offering down in the basement, but gets spooked and spills the tea all over Lucky's crate, beginning to wake him up. And not helped by Nathan's suggestion to see what's inside. The power of the clover lasting FOREVER!
Sadly, the plot gets stopped from moving forward thanks to the comic relief duo of Ozzie and Alex the painters causing a ruckus and Ozzie ending up covered in paint.
Ozzie gets cleaned up, but falls prey to the Leprechaun using his little girl's voice to draw him down to the basement, brushes away the clover atop the crate and enables him to escape. FOREVER!
The painter only escapes because the Leprechaun's powers are weak because of plot convenience so all he can do is shine Ozzie's shoes, so he runs out of the house screaming about leprechauns in the basement. Now, this would be bad enough, but Ozzie has a history of telling tall tales, so it's even worse here.
Nathan's a pretty cool guy though, so he says they'll all go check things out, and Tory comes along just because of hunky arms...er, just in case. Naturally, they don't find anything besides shadows and rats, but when they head outside, Ozzie sees a rainbow and goes searching for the end of it, and the pot of gold.
You would think Lucky would use the same trick instead of murderous sprees and bad rhymes, but that's magic logic for ya, folks.
Surprisingly, chasing rainbows works and Ozzie and Alex actually find the gold. And when he checks to see if the gold is real by biting on it, Ozzie swallows the coin he found. That's not gonna be fun for Lucky to retrieve, one way or another...
Meanwhile, the Leprechaun is busy stroking Tory's legs until he gets startled and leaves some nasty gashes on them. Everyone assumes its an animal, and they hear a cat in the distance. Geeze, cats and rats and elephants, but as sure as you're born, you ain't never gonna see no leprechauns...
Tory's dad tries to pull the 'cat' out of a nearby hollow in a tree, but all he gets is almost half his hand bit off. Lucky said he was hungry, but I didn't know he had a taste for Soylent Green.
Dad gets rushed to the hospital and is never heard from again, while the painters head over to the nearest collectibles shop in town to get their gold appraised. All this with the Leprechaun following on a tricycle. Oh, Wicket, it sometimes feels like you traded your dignity for this role.
Joe the collector keeps the coin overnight, and that was the worst decision he could've made, because naturally, Lucky comes calling. And because magic, he ends up in Joe's safe, giving him a fright when the store owner opens it up.
The poor guy hands over the coin, but that's not good enough for Lucky. He grabs a pogo stick and stomps all over the shop owner. After he's crushed the poor guy's ribs into powder and proved unable to resist shining Joe's shoes, he sees a toy car and decides to trade in his trike.
Lucky goes for a joyride and draws the attention of a cop that pulls him over, which is HIS worst decision of the night, since he gets his face clawed up, and his gun stolen.
That doesn't quite kill the guy though, so the Leprechaun chases him through the woods, and loses him. I gotta tell you, this guy is *terrible* at finding things he wants. Eventually though, he does show up and snaps the cop's neck.
While all this is going on, we keep jumping back to Tory and Nate at the diner, which only serves as comedic interludes to lighten the mood while a cop is tormented, but also remind us what a spoiled LA child Tory tends to be. Not the best way to make us sympathetic, film!
As "Bevery Hills 9021Oh god make it stop" goes on at the diner, Darby O'Gill heads back to the farmhouse to try and find his gold, and he finds anything but as he ransacks the kitchen.
Once again, his obsessive tendencies get the better of him though, and he grabs every single pair of shoes and boots and heels he can find, to clean them up. That'll keep him nice and busy until everyone comes home, at least.
Tory takes one look around the trashed kitchen and figures she's had enough, walking out the door with no intention of coming back. TAKE ME WITH YOU! Or, y'know, walk right back in the door because waaah, it's too dark out. For someone trying to be all feminist, you are doing a terrible job at it.
After cleaning the kitchen, she AGAIN says she's going to leave and check into a hotel. This is pretty much the extent of her character, right here. "This sucks, I give up, I'm going to check into a hotel, nope I'm back!"
Meanwhile, Ozzie and Alex talk about whether or not you can kill leprechauns, and Alex clearly is from the, "If it bleeds, we can kill it" school of thought, going straight for the ultraviolence of blowing the imp's brains out with a 357.
They hear a bell ringing, and Nathan goes to check it out all by his lonesome. And he manages to accidentally trip straight into a bear trap and come face to face with Lucky. Lucky with an axe.
Everyone comes running out at the commotion, and see that, hey! Ozzie was right! There is a Leprechaun! Or one seriously determined cosplayer! But when he takes a bite out of Nathan's leg, they all pile on the wee guy, hitting him with anything they can grab off the lawn.
Of course, they made the mistake of sending Ozzie to call the police. They get at LEAST one call from him a week about the crazy stuff he thinks he sees, so naturally they brush off the leprechaun attack.
Alex comes running with a shotgun and Nate blasts away Lucky. Once he's free of the trap, he fires off a bunch more shots and Tory observes that sure wasn't a bear. I dunno. It coulda been a really tiny bear in a green top hat...
They get Nate patched up enough to drive back to the hospital, but the truck won't start. So, they send the kid out to check on things. Nice. You maybe couldn't have sent out backup? No? Send the youngest, weakest, most succulent one out all alone where you know some creature is? What's the worst that could happen??
Alex dives back into the supposed safety of the cab, only to have St. Patrick bust through the windshield and chew off Ozzie's ear. Well, at least we're already on the way to the hospital! Tory does something smart and uses the truck's lighter to burn the imp's nose and send him running to the barn.
He soon comes crashing out after pulling a total A-Team on his toy car, turning it into an armoured mini tank armed with a sharp rake on the front. This vehicle somehow manages to crash into the truck and flip it over all the way back to its wheels. Yeah, no, I call bullshit on that, without any clear magic. No WAY is a tiny electric toy car, even with a rake on the front, going to flip over a two ton pickup truck.
They all make a run for the house, with Lucky giving chase, and they manage to get inside before him. Somehow, they slam the door on his hand and the thing pops right off. Nice to know Splitter from the Legion of Super-Heroes found a thriving movie career...
Finally, Tory remembers she has a mobile phone and calls the police herself. Unfortunately, the sheriff gets the Leprechaun on the line doing his impersonation schtick. Oooh, do Richard Nixon next! If this pot o' gold thing doesn't pan out, he could have a thriving career as a voice actor.
Tory gets tired of waiting and leaves all the injured people under Alex's protection, while she grabs the shotgun and goes munchkin hunting. Oh, and to retrieve his bag of gold from the well where Alex hid it, now that he's admitted to having it.
Once she has the bag, Mister Greenjeans shows up and she hands the stuff over, just so he can declare that his powers are returning. Maybe this wasn't such a great plan. Of course, he's been pretty impressive already, and his 'returned' magic sure doesn't do anything special we didn't already see.
They all think they're safe, but remember that coin that Ozzie ate? Yeah, so does Lucky, and he wants it back. This time it's personal.
Alex goes to get some ice for Ozzie, and it turns out they have frozen Leprechaun in there. That's not gonna be good for dinner. Tastes too much like corned beef...
Chaos ensues in the kitchen, leading to a shell game with the cabinets, a couple shots being fired, and eventually moving the hunt to the living room. Which pretty much translates to Nathan limping around with the gun and Tory cowering behind him. Feminism!
After shooting him in the living room, the hunt continues into a hallway, where Lucky rides back and forth on a skateboard, making increasingly mocking poses at Nathan, who fires every time he rolls by. Seriously, how can you miss him so badly each and every time?
They Scooby Doo around the house some more, until Lucky the Leprechaun leaps up through the linoleum in the kitchen, and again gets shot. Guys! THE SHOTGUN, IT DOES NOTHING.
He FINALLY demands to know where the rest of his gold is, a question no one thought to ask in the last five minutes of running around like goons. Y'know, maybe wonder WHY he's still being a little terror, when he has what he wants? He keeps using the phone to torment Tory, eventually freaking her out with a trick he stole from Freddie Krueger, who did it much better with a tongue.
Ozzie finally remembers his snack earlier, and is about to sacrifice himself for the greater good, but he gets stopped. Tory is sure there has to be another way, so Ozzie conveniently remembers that Danny boy didn't die at the start of the movie after all, and is in a rest home.
Nathan also shows some brains by gathering up a bunch of shoes to use as a distraction so Tory can drive all the way across town to the rest home, rather than just give Ozzie over to Lucky and be done with it. ...What? It's simpler! But I definitely give the movie credit for setting up rules with the shoe obsesion, and using them.
Our heroine spends an annoyingly long time wandering silently through the halls of the rest home until she comes to O'Grady's room. It's okay for tension building, but it ultimately doesn't go anywhere. It's not a LONG scene, but it could have easily been trimmed. And yeah, this is a SUPER nitpick.
She speaks to the back of O'Grady's head, but he then says he won't tell her how to kill a leprechaun, because GASP! Surprise! It wasn't Danny boy! And Lucky gives chase in a wheelchair.
Tory makes it to the elevator, and finds the real Dan O'Grady, bloody but STILL not dead. But he does tell them how to kill a leprechaun, and all they need is a freshly plucked four leafed clover. IS THAT ALL.
She rushes to the clover patch conveniently located outside her home and tries desperately to find one with four leaves. But the little dude shows up first and chases her around a bit before she hides in a cop car.
Tory manages to actually stab him in the eye with the dead cop's nightstick, but Lucky just replaces it with one of the cop's own eyes. And the movie beat me to the obvious eye for an eye gag.
Before he can get used to his new eyeglass perscription, Nathan and Ozzie show up and shoot him in the face, and help Tory look for a clover.
Tory is ready to give up, but Ozzie gives a rousingly generic "You've gotta believe!" speech, and the INSTANT she shouts that she believes, a clover magically appears in her hand. The power of belief! And plot convenience!
Alex has been busily trying to set up a trap in the barn, but gets interrupted by the little green man. Fortunately, the screams bring the clover club running. Ozzie distracts the guy with the gold coin in his stomach, and lures him away.
Lucky pounces on Ozzie and slashes him up, until the kid arrives with the clover, some gum, and a slingshot, launching the thing straight down the Leprechaun's throat. Well, they needed to touch him with it, and I'm sure that counts.
Just when they think the wee guy's dead, his melted, skeletal face climbs back up out of the well, until Nathan kicks him back down and tries the gasoline trick again. Seems like the 'one way to kill a leprechaun' needs a little help. Help it WITH FIRE.
And as the sun comes up, the cops finally arrive. Thanks, guys! We got this!
Video: Solid enough, but a bit on the grainy side, and some of the blacks to engulf the action, although I suspect that's more by design. Also, there's a few scratches and bits of whatnot and hairs here and there.
Audio: A nice enough stereo mix, with no complaints for what it is.
Sound Bite: "Burn in hell, ye wee green bastard!!" Dan O'Grady before he has his heart attack.
"Fuck you, lucky charms!" Alex as he launches the clover down the Leprechaun's mouth. Yes, I went with both, because they're great lines, and nicely bookend the flick.
1 - 5:30 minutes in, O'Grady's wife passes thanks to a wee spill down the cellar stairs.
2 - A pogo stick crushes Joe the collectible shop owner to red pasty bits.
3 - A poor cop just doing his job gets his head crushed and face torn up, and neck snapped.
4 - I think another cop died just sitting in his car doing his job, so the Leprechaun could imitate his voice
5 - Dan finally dies dangling from the ceiling of an elevator.
6 - Technically the Leprechaun gets clovered and exploded, but we all know better.
Best Corpse: Joe the shop owner, because death by pogo stick is damned creative, and would set a tone for future kills later in the series, more than anything else in this movie.
Blood Type - B-: There's not a lot of blood, but they do get in a few bits, and a chomped ear, and some decent slashes. Not to mention poor dangling O'Grady. And of course, the makeup done for Warwick is classic now.
Sex Appeal: For an R-rated flick, surprisingly devoid, aside from hunky Nathan's beefy arms.
Drink Up! Every time the Leprechaun conjures or finds something with wheels.
Movie Review: I'm hard pressed to *really* call this one classic, but it HAS somehow spawned five - FIIIVE! - sequels, AND a reboot coming later this year. But it came out in the early 90s, at the tail end of the direct to video horror boom. You can see some of the derivativeness already, but it still manages to be just unique enough, by not quite being a holiday themed killer, and using some actual legends to create a mythology of its own. However, the Leprechaun is really ill-conceived here. He never quite clicks. He's more of a plot device than a villainous character, and the extent of what he does is, want his gold. That's it. Gold and wheels. And it really is terrible how 75% of his kills are people who legitimately have NOTHING to do with his gold, they're just in the wrong place, and trying to honestly do their jobs. That's a poorly thought out plot, right there. But the movie's shot well, the plot's actually not terrible, and moves from plot point A to B with a large degree of consistency. Four out of five gold coins.
Entertainment Value: I poke a bit of fun at Warwick Davis having sold his dignity to be in this role, and while there's a bit of truth to that with making a little person look terribly silly, it is also VERY clear that Davis is having a lot of fun, totally going for it with the role, and chewing scenery like nobody's business. And the occasional ear. Sure, he's running around in striped tights and buckled shoes, but he totally owns it at the same time, making him a blast to watch. Seeing a young Aniston too is fun, while she's clearly very early in her career, you can still see the acting chops in their nascent forms. The acting isn't great from her, but it's ALMOST there, just rough around the edges, y'know? The Leprechaun has a fun time and the deaths are mostly creative if AMAZINGLY unfair, and the fun factor definitely override and goes along with the cheese level here. Four out of five clover leaves.