Small town America? Check. City of Angels? Check. Las Vegas? Check. Where do you take a horror franchise that’s been everywhere? Where only the Hellraiser franchise (at this point) had gone before, of course! That, ladies and gentlemen, is how we wound up with Leprechaun 4: In Space. Lucky us!
There are three kinds of horror comedies out there: the good ones, the bad ones, and the so bad it’s good ones. Leprechaun 4: In Space is most definitely in the so bad it’s good category. That’s the attitude you need to have going in to truly enjoy this misunderstood masterpiece. Fortunately, all you need to know about what to expect you can find in the first 10 minutes.
We are introduced to a group of Aliens-inspired space marines on a quest to run down a rogue ET. That alien is our old friend Warwick Davis who is busy wooing hottie Dominion Princess Zarina (Rebekah Carlton). The marines land planet side, bullets and grenades fly, and the slaughter begins. Carnage featuring…a Leprechaun with a Lightsaber! You see where this is going, right? It’s gold! Cinematic gold!
What the heck we’re doing in space at this point isn’t explained, but it doesn’t really matter. Our anti-hero sums things up in a mischievous little poem:
Small, though I am, mighty is my spirit when bloody battle calls.
Come at me with what you will: shoot me, stab me, kill me a hundred ways. Still, I fight on.
I’m eternal as the Sun. I am a thousand demons from Hell.
Death and destruction are my game! Agony is my name!
The short story: it doesn’t have to make sense. He’s eternal. He still needs gold and desires a wife. Don’t ask questions, just sit back and enjoy the ride!
Outside of Warwick Davis, the movie stars a bunch of no name (for the most part) actors. You’ve probably seen Debbe Dunning before on TV’s Home Improvement. You’ve definitely seen Miguel Nunez, Jr. before. He played Demon in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning and Spider in Return of the Living Dead. The aforementioned Rebekah Carlton did a stint on Baywatch.
Sgt. Books Malloy, the hero, is played by Brent Jasmer, who pulled off a serviceable Johnny Rico a year before Starship Troopers hit the big screen. Jessica Collins plays Dr. Tina Reeves. She looked really familiar. Turns out she spent years on my wife’s soap opera, The Young and the Restless, as Avery. Shhhh… I’m embarrassed to know that. Brian Trenchard-Smith returned from the previous installment to direct.
Leprechaun 4: In Space was made on a modest $1.6 million budget. The makeup and visual FX shine at times. Other times, they’re laughably bad. If nothing else, the wild inconsistency adds to the charm.
The film progresses through a Jason X-like ship search and culminates in a familiar (*cough* ripped off) cargo bay airlock blowout scene. The villain is defeated (“Blown up, sir!”), but leaves the marines and the audience with one final message.
Along the way, you’ve got marines in drag, a bio-hazard meltdown, a self-destruct sequence, a mutated spider scientist, bombs, boobs, and countless nods to classic sci-fi and horror films like Alien, Frankenstein, The Fly, and Aliens. There’s even a John Wayne impression thrown in for good measure. This movie has it all.
*END OF SPOILERS*
I won’t tell you about the best part. I’ll let you discover it for yourself. It’s Alien-inspired. It’s ridiculous. It also helps set the tone, even more so than the Lightsaber bit, for the entire experience. It’s about 20 minutes in.
Just…you know what? If you’ve never seen Leprechaun 4: In Space, you owe it to yourself to rectify that questionable life decision STAT!