[caption id="attachment_168835" align="alignleft" width="300"] Trimark Pictures[/caption]
NextMovie kicks off Leprechaun Week today! Look for new "Leprechaun"-related content every day this week in the lead-up to St. Paddy's Day. Because it's what Leprechaun would have wanted ...
"I have not come to play with fruit. I just want me magic flute!"
So sayeth the ever-rhyming Irish demon played by Warwick Davis in "Leprechaun in the Hood" (2000) to the lusty cross-dressing Miss Fontaine (Lobo Sebastian). A little later, these two engage in a passionate romp under the sheets during which Miss Fontaine's cries of pain will be mistaken for gasps of orgasmic delight by at least one bewildered passer-by as the Leprechaun claims another victim.
It's astonishingly tasteless, crass and almost (almost) admirably brazen ... which kind of sums up the "Leprechaun" series in its entirety. And that's a pretty impressive entirety — there are six of the damn things in that pot of cinematic gold, after all.
[caption id="attachment_168834" align="alignright" width="300"] Trimark Pictures[/caption]
The Leprechaun got to spread his particularly violent brand of "unluck" on the big screen before being banished to the magical land of direct-to-video at least twice, as the first two films in the series actually got a theatrical releases. This writer was indeed "lucky" enough (or "unlucky" ... yeah, it's often hard to tell which is the more effectively ironic term to use when it comes to this thing) to see the original "Leprechaun" opening weekend in the appropriately bleak, bitterly cold January '93 in Bowling Green, Ohio. The film that introduced us to the rhyming little s**t that will do anything — anything — to protect his goddamn pot o' gold is one of those that can only be experienced to its full potential with as many inebriated people in the house as possible.
Unfortunately, my friend and I were two of only about six people in the audience ... and those other four left about halfway through. "How can you leave this?" my friend asked them as they walked up the aisle toward the exit, full of shame. "Hrrmm huhruhh," they responded, and disappeared into the night.
I'll never know the reason why they left. I wonder what they're all doing now with their lives, 20 years later. Are they happy? Probably not.
[caption id="attachment_168837" align="alignright" width="300"] Trimark Pictures[/caption]
Their loss. It's truly something to witness the Leprechaun terrorizing Jennifer Aniston (yep — you think this was ever on her resume?) and the guy who played Francis in "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" in and around a North Dakota farm, staking his claim in the slasher genre as he wrecks pint-sized havoc whilst spewing bits of Irish folk wisdom like "Try as they will, and try as they might, who steals me gold won't live through the night" -- all while you're alone in an empty dark movie theater.
The movie's exhausting, with so many killings and words that rhyme and Aniston screaming and shots of hay and horses and stuff. And kind of exhilarating, too. By the end of the film, when the Leprechaun has once again been imprisoned via the power of a four leaf clover (whatever) and vowed, "Curse this well that me soul shall dwell, till I find me magic that breaks me spell," you're actually kind of rooting for the bastard son of Erin. Were he to exclaim, "Follow me to the end of the rainbow!" (which he never has ... yet), you'd probably respond with, "Just let me put on me rainbow shoes!"
The Leprechaun came back -- five more times. And with him more gruesome death scenes and ever-quotable Irish quips. Lucky us! Or "unlucky," rather, or ... yeah.
The Leprechaun first returned in "Leprechaun 2" (1994), a retelling of the legend of how a Leprechaun gets to choose his bride every 1000 years by making her sneeze three times (oh, that old story!). "She sneezes once, she sneezes twice, she'll be me bride when she sneezes thrice," cackles the little creep as he causes all sorts of bloody hurlyburly throughout modern-day Los Angeles, though no Irish rhyme can beat the film's tagline: "This time, luck's got nothing to do with it!"
[caption id="attachment_168839" align="alignright" width="300"] Lionsgate[/caption]
Speaking of luck, "Leprechaun 3" (1995) finds our hero on a rampage in Las Vegas in search of one of his wish-granting coins after he's freed from being frozen as a statue by the removal of a magical medallion around his neck courtesy of some doomed pawn shop owner (man, so much plot in these things!). The Leprechaun then left the Earth in "Leprechaun 4: In Space" (1997), where we find him on a desolate planet attempting to court Princess Zarina, whom he has kidnapped in a plot to marry her and murder her father in order to become king of her home planet, Dominia.
Really. There are also space marines that show up and start blasting the holy hell out of everything, including the Leprechaun, though he's later reborn on the marines' ship after exploding out of one of their groins (yep) and later grows to giant-size after getting hit with an enlargement ray.
Believe it or not, "In Space" wasn't the series' highlight. That honor goes to the Compton-set "Leprechaun in the Hood" (2000), in which the Leprechaun is once again a stone statue as pimp Mack Daddy (Ice-T) uses his mind-controlling magic flute to become a successful music producer. The film has a completely random and pointless cameo by Coolio, introduced by one of the characters actually exclaiming, "Look, it's Coolio!," after which we cut to a close-up of the rather confused-looking hip hop artist. The movie ends with an obligatory Leprechaun rap, which makes for the greatest piece of music ever recorded:
The Lep went back to the hood to do no good in "Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood" (2003), but the old magic was missing from the tale of the little demon stalking Father Jacob (Willie C. Carpenter) and a group of teenage girls who use the ever-elusive pot of gold to make their wildest dreams come true. The film ends with the Leprechaun sinking into wet cement, but not before he actually gets a chance to deliver non-rhyming dialogue like "Don't you presume to tell me right from wrong. You compromised all you believed in once you got the gold, just like all those before you. Your kind is weak, and will always give in to your selfish yearnings." Whoa, slow down, there, Shakespeare!
And that was the last we ever heard of him. Lionsgate and WWE is supposed to do a reboot of the series with Dylan Postl (who works under a leprechaun gimmick in the WWE as Hornswoggle) starring in the lead role as "Lubdan" (oh, his name isn't just "Leprechaun?"):
That stunning artwork came out in March 2012 with Postl's Twitter announcement that the film would be released in March 2013 (in time for St. Patrick's Day, hmm?). That was a damn lie, obviously.
Ah, who needs a reboot, anyway? "Leprechaun" is already the best horror series ever made without it.