With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, it seems fitting to revisit the horror movie that first got me into the genre: 1993’s Leprechaun. Now, Leprechaun was the first horror movie I ever watched after lying to my aunt by telling her that my mom allowed me to watch R-rated movies. Though comedic and ridiculous, the flick scared the living crap outta me and I wound up having nightmares. Come on, how tough were you at five years old? Okay, through laughing? Let’s get on with it then.
Dan O’Grady (Shay Duffin) finds a leprechaun and makes the leprechaun take him to his gold. Returning home with the gold in tow, it seems like O’Grady and his wife (Pamela Mant) are going to live comfortably for the rest of their days….until the pissed off Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) shows up demanding his gold back and kills Mrs. O’Grady. O’Grady seals the Leprechaun in a crate, then suffers a stroke before he can burn him alive. Ten years later, Tory (pre-stardom Jennifer Aniston) and her father, J.D. (John Sanderford) buy the O’Grady place, intending to fix it up. However, the little guy is still sealed in the crate in the basement but is soon accidentally unleashed by Ozzie (Mark Holton). He still wants his gold, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it back. Will Tory be able to stop the Leprechaun? Or will he kill everyone in the search for his gold?
Okay, so the story is ridiculous. But anyone who takes this movie seriously needs to re-evaluate their life. A killer leprechaun has B-movie gold written all over it, so of course it’s gonna be ridiculous. It knows it’s a B-movie and goes with it. Though originally conceived as a straight horror film, Warwick Davis saw more comedic potential in it, which director Mark Jones agreed with. Smart thinking, because had Leprechaun been played straight, it would have been rubbish. Unbearable rubbish.
As a B-movie, the performances are what they are expected/needed to be. No one is going to win any awards here, but someone obviously thought enough of Jennifer Aniston because she went on to star in the TV show Friends the following year. The best performer here is, naturally, Warwick Davis. He knows the role is ridiculous and decides to just have fun with it. Initially, Davis regretted making the flick, but when he saw how many people loved it and how it attained cult status, it’s now one of his favorites. The paycheck was probably good too, seeing as Davis reprised the role in five of the six sequels.
At the end of the day, a good film is really about providing entertainment. Leprechaun succeeds in this. If you don’t find yourself laughing throughout, cheering on the Leprechaun (or the heroes if you’re that kind of person), then you might wanna check your pulse because you’re probably dead. Or, ya know, because your standards are too high.
Despite its ridiculousness, Leprechaun is worth every minute of your time. Those expecting a straightforward, dark horror effort will be greatly disappointed; but those going in looking for some laughs to accompany their six-pack will find themselves faced with a good time. And for those who just can’t get enough of Lep and his shenanigans, you will be pleased to know that Leprechaun: The Complete Movie Collection, featuring all seven movies, is available on Blu-ray. Go pick it up, but stay away from the pot of gold.