Happy St. Patty’s Day! This year almost none of us will be celebrating in a way we are accustomed to, and while that sucks, I wanted to share something from my personal St. Patty’s tradition — watching one of my favorite movie franchises of all-time, the Leprechaun series! The first movie was what solidified my status as a horror fan, watching the VHS we recorded off of UPN with my cuz until that bad boy was worn out. The entire series is a ton of fun, as they followed the same path as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Child’s Play, leaning heavily into the comedy side. Led by the immensely talented Warwick Davis in the titular role (mostly), the sequels may not be Oscar bait, but they are damn fun. To encourage you to give some of these movies another chance while we all practice social distancing, I’m going to give you my favorite kill or scene from each movie in the franchise.
This movie was attempting to be comedic while maintaining a scare factor that would not be the same priority in the sequels to come. While there are countless awesome scenes and the theatrical debut of Jennifer Aniston, it was the duo of Ozzie and Alex that I feel for the most. They are the ones who find the Leprechaun’s gold in the first place, setting the movie into motion. It’s in the final scene where they shine brightest: Ozzie sacrifices himself to the Leprechaun to save Alex, who in turn snipes a four-leaf clover wrapped wad of gum into the Leprechaun’s mouth with a badass line of ” Hey, Lep. F*** you, Lucky Charms.” Savage.
Leprechaun 2 (1994)
This sequel started a trend for the series, where a sequel establishes their own canon for what impacts the Leprechaun, what his weakness is, and why he’s out and about in the first place. Fine by me, I’d rather they not be bogged down with something silly like continuity and be focused on the material for Warwick Davis. The highlight of this movie to me was the death of Ian. He was a young man who followed the head in his pants, not on his shoulders, and was easily tricked into going face-first into a fan rather than the shirtless chica he thought he saw.
Leprechaun 3 (1995)
We’ve reached my favorite movies in the franchise, 3 and 4. Leprechaun 3 takes place in Vegas because of course it does. Now the Leprechaun can be contained by a medallion if placed around his neck, his bite has a zombie-like ability to turn humans into leprechauns, and destroying his gold is now the way to destroy him. Speaking of gold, this is the movie where the dialogue began to really shine. The Leprechaun uses dialogue, limericks, and rhymes perfectly throughout the movie. To wit, my favorite scene sees him go after our protagonists wielding an ax and uttering “for pulling this trick, I’ll chop off your d***” as he swung. He and his member are saved by the love interest who drills the Leprechaun in the head with a baseball, knocking him down.
Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997)
You know things are gonna be good when a colon is added to a movie title. This movie opens on a group of galactic marines seeking out an alien (our beloved Leprechaun) who has been interrupting galactic mining to the tune of almost a half-billion dollars. That wasn’t even a ton of money when the movie was released, so I love that right off the bat we know that facts can be checked at the door with your coat. The marines blow Lep to bits, but one of them takes it too far and urinates on one of the pieces. Big mistake, buckaroo. He gets Lepre-zapped in his nether-region. Later on, while the marine is getting busy with Debbe Dunning (aka Heidi the Tool Time Girl on Home Improvement), he feels the wrong kind of burning sensation down below and before long the Leprechaun pops out from below with another banger of a line, “Always wear a prophylactic.” Legend.
Leprechaun In the Hood (2000)
Deciding that a venture to space wasn’t jumping the shark quite enough, they decided to venture to “The Hood.” The movie stared Ice-T in addition to Warwick Davis, which was honestly a pretty big get at the time. This is the only movie to actually take into account previous lore, seeing the Leprechaun encased by the medallion and also his weakness to four-leaf clovers. They cleverly rolled it into a joint to attempt to get him to smoke it. Hood life. If it wasn’t obvious that they were doing anything they could to cash in on the hip hop wave at the time, please check out how the movie ends below.
Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood (2003)
When the water is good, why not return to the same well? They established in this, the sixth movie, that leprechauns were summoned by an ancient king to protect his gold. And he has a name, Lubdan! This time our hood adventure involves pot dealers rather than rappers but follows similar beats as the first adventure in the hood. There are still attempts to use marijuana laced with clovers, but this time they want to go the blunt route, so at least we are evolving there. When it comes to bud, you’ve gotta be careful with our Lep, he can weaponize it himself, using a bong to impale someone unfortunate enough to be in possession of his gold.
Leprechaun: Origins (2014)
This movie can go stuff itself. I gave it a second chance to confirm I despise it and can confirm. It’s the first movie in the series to not star Warwick Davis, and I’d argue that there wasn’t even a leprechaun in it. Hornswoggle looks more like a classic vampire than a leprechaun. I award this movie no points, and may God have mercy on its soul.
Leprechaun Returns (2018)
After being burned in 2014, I was beyond skeptical of another movie coming along, especially one without Warwick Davis again. I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised. It pulls a Halloween: H20 and just decides to skip all the sequels and becomes a new direct sequel to the original premise. It takes place at the same location as the first movie with the daughter of Jennifer Aniston there with her sorority sisters out to save the planet. Linden Porco hits all the right beats portraying exactly how Warwick played the titular terror. Credit is also due to the studio for getting Heather McDonald, a Jennifer Aniston impersonator, to voice some scenes to connect it to the original film. The ultimate for me was when they tied up a loose thread from the very first movie, Ozzie swallowed one of the Leprechaun’s coins. It’s through this that he is able to make his return, and I actually yelled out loud when I saw this scene play out I was so geeked.
Let me know what your favorites are and we can discuss all things Leprechaun! Who did space better, Jason Voorhees?!?