Leprechaun Returns (2018)

13 years has gone by since the the last Lep with Leprechaun Back 2 tha Hood, and a thing or two have obviously changed since then. Trimark was shut down in 2003, only three movies after Back 2 tha Hood, while Warvick Davis had moved over to Hogwarts with Harry Potter and recently shot the first season of the upcoming Willow series. And yeah, there’s a film called Leprechaun: Origins from 2008, an amateurish nothingburger which has zero to do with the franchise in any shape or form. So we have to jump further in time to 2013 where Leprechaun finally returned, in a direct-sequel to the original, directed by Steven Kostanski.

 

The plot goes as follows: the teengirl Lila Jenkins is on her way to an old house in North Dakota, where she’s going to spend the summer vacation with a group of college friends (body counts). As she gets a ride with Ozzie, the clumsy redneck from the first film, she tells him that her mom Tori (the protagonist from the first film) had died of cancer the same year. Rest in peace. After putting off Lila by the house, Ozzie suddenly gets some green liquid sprayed on him from the well which Lep fell into 25 years ago. The liquid somehow impregnates Ozzie, which leads to a gory rebirth where Lep punches and kicks his way out of Ozzie’s stomach like a toddler with a tantrum. He then gives a quick return monologue just to ensure us that he, after being trapped in a well for 25 years, is still a witty goofball who hasn’t forgot how to rhyme: “There once was a lad they thought DIED, his flesh had melted off his whole HIDE, but he escaped from the WELL, alive and quite SWELL. And now he’ll be killing in stride!” And he’s excited as a kid on Christmas morning to finally catch up with the killings.

 

The B-movie insanity that increased all up to eleven and blew out of all proportions in space, are toned-down and back to the roots with the farmland-setting, woods and overall back the 90s horror campyness. As the eight film in a horror franchise like this, it’s pretty remarkable how more polished and, if not, more professional (for lack of better word) Lep Returns look. Director Steven Kostanski was also co-director on the modern cult-film The Void two years earlier, so there’s clearly some talent behind the camera. There also seemed to finally be some competent special effects artists on set to give Lep some decent kill scenes, and there’s no exaggeration in saying that this is the goriest film in the franchise. Lep eagerly uses some modern technology to slice someone’s throat with drone blades, a whole body gets sliced in two, a fun little nod to Phantasm (I assume) with a mouth getting impaled by a sprinkler faucet. And there’s a … pillow fight.

 

This being said and all the positives, the film itself is pretty mediocre with the same old cliché slasher characters which you couldn’t give a toss about, and a standard mediocre slasher you’d forgotten about if it wasn’t for the – drumroll – Leprechaun. As they got the same guy who played Ozzie in the first one to reprise his role, they for one last time, also tried to get Jennifer Aniston back. But nah. So, the only curiosity is on Lep, and why he looks more like as if Mortiis had a child. This time he is played by the relative unknown Linden Porco since Warwick Davis had his whatever reasons to pass. As low to non-existent expectations I had, he was quite a surprise and did a good job by mimicking the demeanor of Davis while investing some of his own personal flavor to it. And the most important of all, he seemed to have a fun time. So, my life wouldn’t get absolutely ruined if he signs on any future Lep films.

 

Lerprechaun Returns Lerprechaun Returns

 

Director: Steven Kostanski
Writers: Suzanne Keilly
Country & year: USA, 2018
Actors: Taylor Spreitler, Pepi Sonuga, Sai Bennett, Emily Reid, Ben McGregor, Oliver Llewellyn Jenkins, Mark Holton, Linden Porco, Heather McDonald, Pete Spiros, Leon Clingman
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt8155182/

 

Related posts: Leprechaun (1993) | Leprechaun 2 (1994) | Leprechaun 3 (1995) | Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996) | Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)

We’re at some shithole in Los Angeles where Mack Daddy (Ice-T) with a big 70’s afro, and some other dude, discovers a room with Lep’s statue and his pot of gold. Holy shit! You midget Midas mothafuckah, Daddy says before he grabs a mysterious flute from the pot of gold. We later learn that Mr. Daddy is a rap-music producer and the flute has the magic powers to set the listeners in some euphoric trance and some shit. Lep (Warwick Davis) comes to life, kills the other dude with a comb and goes for Mr. Daddy as he steals his gold. After Daddy gets empty for weapons that were hidden in his big afro, everything from a knife to a baseball bat, just to ensure us that we’re still in Looney Tunes land, he manages to trap Lep with the medallion and turns him back to stone. Got yo ass!

 

We then meet our protagonists Butch, Postmaster P, and Stray Bullet, a group of young struggling rap artists. They get in touch with Mack Daddy who sees some potential in them. The only problem is that their rap songs are too positive and family-friendly, and that shit is whack“, yells Mr. Daddy. After they refuse to follow Daddy’s advice to make their lyrics more R-rated, he tells them to fuck off. They then take revenge by breaking into his office, stealing the golden flute and the medallion from a certain stone figure which finally (again) awakens Lep, and … well, it’s yet another Lep movie, made for shits n’ giggles for the video market with the production value of a well-used Lada.

 

First Lep took Vegas, then space and now the Hood. So what’s new here? Crack-smoking, rapping, some vulgar gangsta talk (of course), more crack-smoking, more rapping, dopey effects where Lep shoots green lazer into someones eyes, gun fights and just overall incomprehensible buffoonery all across the board. Lep smokes so much crack to the point he wants a cross-dresser to give him a blowjob. Oof! Warwick Davis really needed the money this time, didn’t he. And I almost forgot to mention the three-second cameo of none other than Coolio himself. And just to put the cherry on top, and let Lep embrace his inner gangsta, he finally grabs the mic and performs his own rap song, Lep In The Hood, I’m so Bad I’m Good”, which alone tells it all.

 

And last, but not least, here’s the drinking game: take a shot for each time someone says mothafuckah”.

 

Leprechaun in the Hood Leprechaun in the Hood

 

Director: Rob Spera
Writers: William Wells, Alan Reynolds, Rob Spera, Doug Hall, Jon Huffman
Country & year: USA, 2000
Actors: Warwick Davis, Ice-T, Anthony Montgomery, Rashaan Nall, Red Grant, Dan Martin, Lobo Sebastian, Ivory Ocean, Jack Ong, Barima McKnight, Bebe Drake, Donna M. Perkins
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0209095/

 

Related posts: Leprechaun (1993) | Leprechaun 2 (1994) | Leprechaun 3 (1995) | Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996) | Leprechaun returns (2018)

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996)

In known Trimark fashion, they had no clue what to do with Lep or which setting to put him next in the fourth installment of the franchise. And after the success Leprechaun 3 did on the home video market, there was no time to waste. It wasn’t until an executive at Trimark saw the promo art for Apollo 13 (1995) and replaced Tom Hank’s face with Lep’s when the genius idea came to fruition. That pitch-meeting must’ve been amusing to witness, to say the least.

 

The year is 2096 and a group of space marines are on their way to Planet Leprechaun where their mission is to search for Lep (Warwick Davis) after he, during the past six months, has disrupted the galactic mining operations. And the order is clear as a gamma-ray: Kill The Bastard! The timing couldn’t be worse as Lep is about to propose to the alien princess Zarina (Rebecca Carlton) so he can become king for some planet that never gets mentioned. The marines storm his low-budget-looking cave where Lep gets blown to pieces by a grenade after a quick gun-fight. The princess survives and gets taken back to the shuttle before they take Lep’s precious gold. Movie over, then? Ha-ha.

 

The marine who threw the grenade takes a piss one Lep’s remains just to boast his victory like a high school bully. The plot seems pretty normal so far, but just hear this: As he urinates on him, Lep’s spirit travels through his stream of piss and into his dick like a bolt of lightning. We later get the most unmemorable and lazy kill count where Lep gets resurrected by jumping out of his dick and pants, implied more than shown, since there was no one in the effect-department who had a clue how to pull it off. No gore – nothing. Boooo!

 

We also get introduced to film’s second villain, Dr. Mittenhand (Guy Siner). He’s the commander of the marines and is a bald-headed cyborg with only his upper torso remaining after a failed experiment. He’s a bizarroman version of Dr. Evil the James Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who tries to look evil with the effect of a mouse trying to be as big as an elephant, and speaks like a deranged Hanna-Barbera cartoon character on amphetamine. His plan is to use Zarina’s regenerative DNA to recreate his own body and … good luck with that.

 

Leprechaun 4: In Space

 

The effects are worse and more primitive than ever, and I think that director Brian Trenchard-Smith sums it up best by saying that he was disappointed by the final quality of the special effects, calling them “below Playstation”. Lep in Space falls off the tracks really fast where the plot, script, talent and all braincells just seemed to get sucked away in a black hole. And what we have left is a demented, bizarre, ultracheap-looking, completely out of control schlockfest with zero direction, and one-note cartoon characters only trying to over-act each other. It’s basically Looney Tunes in a mental asylum in space with a riot. And Lep? Don’t worry, he’s here, still portrayed by Warwick Davis who seems to have fun as usual and goes with the flow the best as he can. But the award for best-worst actress of the decade goes to Rebecca Carlton as princess Zarina who has acting abilities like a broken Hello Kitty toaster. 

 

The one and only legitimate positive thing to mention, is a certain spider-monster creature which (dare I even say it) gave me some Dead Space vibes. And talking about video games, here’s a fun, little trivia: The sound of the doors opening and closing are taken from the original Doom, where it was the sound of the elevators.

 

And I can’t allow myself to not mention a trailer that popped up on my YouTube recommendations recently for an obscure family film, called A Very Unlucky Leprechaun, which came two years after Lep in Space. And guess who plays the unlucky one. There’s little to no info to find, but the only post on its trivia section on IMDb can at least inform us that “Warwick Davis also plays another Leprechaun which is a serial killer.” Huh…

 

Leprechaun 4: In Space Leprechaun 4: In Space Leprechaun 4: In Space

 

Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Writer: Dennis Pratt
Country & year: USA, 1996
Actors: Warwick Davis, Brent Jasmer, Jessica Collins, Guy Siner, Gary Grossman, Rebecca Carlton, Tim Colceri, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Debbe Dunning, Mike Cannizzo, Rick Peters, Geoff Meed
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0116861/

 

Related posts: Leprechaun (1993) | Leprechaun 2 (1994) | Leprechaun 3 (1995) | Leprechaun in the Hood (2000) | Leprechaun returns (2018)

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leprechaun 3 (1995)

Lep 2 didn’t hit the box office gold as Trimark Pictures had hoped for, and because of that it was the second and final film in the franchise to be given a theatrical release. Despite this, Trimark had no plans to call it quits when they still had Warwick Davis on board and saw further potential to dig for more gold in the home video market. And the best way they could ever go from here was to no other place than the city of sins, casinos, strippers and pawn shops: Las Vegas.

 

Leprechaun 3 starts with a guy, with one leg and a hook for a hand, enters a pawn shop. He’s stressed out and frightened, carrying a Leprechaun statue with an amulet around its neck, and a pot of gold in a bag. He wants to sell it so he can buy gas and get the fuck away. And before he leaves, he warns the shop owner that he must never take the amulet off its neck, which … he of course does shortly afterwards. Lep comes back to life, bites the man’s ear and one of his big toes off, before he eventually kills him with his magic powers. One of the gold coins goes missing and falls in the hands of the naive young man Scott, the film’s unlucky protagonist, (played by the future Oscar nominee John Gatins) who has already fallen in love with the blonde girl Tammy (Lee Armstrong). She works as an assistant to a douchebag of a magician, and spends most of the screentime giving the viewer some eyecandy in her kinky, black corset. After Scott has lost all his money on gambling, he uses the coin to grant his wish to win it all back, plus some extra, on the casino roulettes.

 

The luck seems to strike for Scotty until the boss gets his eyes on him and makes sure that he won’t leave the building with his fresh new fortune. Things goes from bad to worse when the coin is rolling from hand to hand, granting one wish after another which escalates into full chaos. And the night has just begun when Lep is roaming the streets of Las Vegas in search of his precious coin. He seems pretty stimulated by the dazzling surroundings and even gets the pleasure to be a part of the greatest moment in the history of cinema by meeting the king himself, Elvis. The luck also seems to completely run out for poor Scotty when he himself slowly gets transformed into a Leprechaun, after having gotten bitten by Lep and infected with his green blood. He’s not aware of the transformation until he can’t say a sentence without adding a rhyme to it. Two Leps in one film? How much worse can it possibly get from here?

 

The gory aspects in the Leprechaun films is pretty minimal and as cheap as a moldy piece of bread, but there’s at least not one, but two memorable death scenes to mention here. The first one involves Lep using his magic to make a blond stripper crawl out of a TV screen to give a sleazy guy some pleasure. Well, think again. As she lays upon him and getting ready to suck his dick, Lep transforms her into a cyborg that electrocutes him. And a wet, special thanks goes to the nude Penthouse model Heidi Lynne Staley for making this scene happen. Then we have the scene where Caroline Williams makes her wish: to be young and beautiful again. The result is the whole film in a nutshell, where her lips, boobs and ass blows up like a balloon and explodes in pure Looney Tunes fashion, then followed by on of the best punchlines from our favorite comedian Lep: Now that was quite a LOAD to have to EXPLODE. What a lovely LASS, I had to blow up your ASS, but now I must hit the road!”

 

Lep 3 is regarded as the best in the franchise, or best-worst, if you will. The film is delightfully bad on every level and surely deserves its place on the Hall of Shame of so-bad-its-good-movies, and no one seems to take the franchise seriously for a second at this point. The acting, the dialogues, the shoddy effects filled with outlandish cartoon logic, a flavor of naughty nudity only to piss off the parents, makes this a great time and perfect film to watch on little junior’s birthday party! Warwick Davis is at his peak here with his best lines and embraces the insanity to its fullest with his performance. The tone and the humor, whether is intentional or not, suits Lep’s wit and personality perfectly and the Las Vegas setting adds even more to the fun. This is also Davis’ personal favorite in the series, and it’s hard to not be on the same page with him on that one. Leprechaun 3 was shot in 14 quick days, and  became the highest selling direct-to-video film of 1995 which kept the spaceship ready to send Lep to his next adventure.

 

Lerprechaun 3 Lerprechaun 3 Lerprechaun 3

 

Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Writer: David DuBos
Country & year: USA, 1995
Actors: Warwick Davis, John Gatins, Lee Armstrong, John DeMita, Michael Callan, Caroline Williams, Marcelo Tubert, Tom Dugan, Leigh-Allyn Baker, Richard Reicheg, Linda Diane Shayne, Heidi Lynne
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0113636/

 

Related posts: Leprechaun (1993) | Leprechaun 2 (1994) | Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996) | Leprechaun in the Hood (2000) | Leprechaun returns (2018)

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leprechaun 2 (1994)

Leprechaun 2 starts way, waaay back in ancient Ireland where William is being hunted down by Lep through the forest, while he utters his first line that sets the tone immediately: “scream as you MAY, scream as you MIGHT, if you try to escape, you’ll be dead on this NIGHT, haha.” William has been his slave since he stole his pot of gold, but that’s no longer important. Now that he has finally reached his 1,000th birthday on St. Patrick’s Day, he can now claim something more precious: a bride. And the lucky one has already been chosen, the only thing holding back is that she has to sneeze three times. And if no one saves her soul by speaking  the magic phrase “God bless ya”, the poor girl is his forever, and then William is a free man. The only problem is that the girl is William’s daughter, and he cant have any of that. After he ruins the whole set-up by saving her from the worst marriage ever, Lep says he will wait for another 1000 years, and hunt down William’s whole bloodline, before he snaps the guy’s neck.

 

Then we jump to present day, to Los Angeles, exactly one thousand years later on the St. Patty’s Day, where we meet the teen couple Bridget and Cody. Cody works for his uncle Morty, who runs a shady Dark Tourism Ride which scams people by showing them false resting spots of celebs and murder houses. Morty is also a greasy alchoholic who’s always too drunk to drive as he just sits in the local Irish pub and drowns himself in brown liquor. And now having seen the three protagonists, our favorite host, Lep, emerges from a tree near Harry Houdini’s house to finally get the show started. His first victim is a bum whom Lep rips out his golden tooth before he starts the huntdown for his chosen bride. And who can that possibly be? Bridget, of course, who’s a descendant of William’s bloodline. Lep was a man of his words. It’s now up to Cody to save her.

 

Lep 2 hasn’t got much more to offer than bad acting, retarded silliness and the production value of a porn film. Warwick Davis reprised his role as Lep in the first sequels of five (!), and like in the first one, he’s once again the only reason to give this a watch. He has far more screentime compared to the first film, and more quote-worthy poetry-driven one-liners to entertain us with, as he goofs and giggles his way to one scenario after another. He’s even getting hammered in one scene where he has to prove himself, as the proud Irish he is, that no one can drink him under the table. The ice cream man Clint Howard and the Twin Peaks receptionist Kimmy Robertson has a short cameo as a tourist couple. And the rest of the characters are just bad actors who do their best by remembering their lines and look scared when the script says so.

 

The effects are trash. There’s one scene where we’re supposed to believe that Lep rips one guys finger off. You can see a mile away that he gently pulls the finger off a fake hand. He then licks on it and says with his manic voice: Finger licking GOOD! AAAAH…!!” Then we have the pot of gold that gets ripped out of someone’s stomach. I won’t explain how it got there other than it’s so laughable and poorly executed that I only wonder where the budget of 2 million dollars went.  There’s also a desperate attempt to appeal to the teenage audience by showing a second or two of Bridget’s naked boobs, allegedly performed by a topless double. This scenes also involves two spinning lawnmower blades, which Lep tricks some guy to believe are two big breast that’s waiting for him. A cheap, but memorable kill count.

 

The Leprechaun franchise is infamous for its total absence of continuity which leads to the big question: Is Lep 2 related to the first film in any form? No. Trimark Pictures actually had big plans for making a direct sequel where Lep would seek revenge on Tori (the protagonist from the first film), and they felt confident enough to get Jennifer Aniston back when they offered her a paycheck of 25,000 dollars. She refused, of course, which led any continuation to go completely off the rails, and every sequel was treated like a reboot or stand-alone film with different writers and directors who had no clue what to do with the franchise, other than trying to top the previous one with as much B-movie insanity as possible. Some other theory is that there’s a different Leprechaun in each sequel, just played by the same actor. But sequels or not, the films get crazier and crazier where we follows Lep’s quests for gold in places such as Las Vegas, in space, in tha hood, and it’s overall an amusingly bizarre franchise to dive into, especially if you have a soft spot for schlocks.

 

Lerprechaun 2 Lerprechaun 2

 

Director: Rodman Flender
Writers: Turi Meyer, Alfredo Septién
Country & year: USA, 1994
Actors: Warwick Davis, Charlie Heath, Shevonne Durkin, Sandy Baron, Adam Biesk, James Lancaster, Linda Hopkins, Arturo Gil, Kimmy Robertson, Clint Howard
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0110329/

 

Related posts: Leprechaun (1993) | Leprechaun 3 (1995) | Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996) | Leprechaun in the Hood (2000) | Leprechaun returns (2018)

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leprechaun (1993)

Screenwriter Mark Jones had already worked in the TV industry since the 70s, and wrote for Saturday-morning cartoons like Scooby-Doo, Yogi, Dinky Dog, Mr. Magoo, Heathcliff, James Bond Jr, ALF and the list goes on. At the age of forty he decided to take his career to the next level by writing and directing his first little, low-budget horror film. And one night he sat in a bar and saw the Lucky Charms commercials on TV,  the brilliant idea for a horror spin to the Irish mythical folklore creature, Leprechaun, popped up in his head. And since Halloween and Friday the 13th was already taken, a horror film about an evil Leprechaun would be perfect to air on TV every St. Patrick’s Day and give him an annual paycheck. He pitched a script to Trimark Pictures and got the green light (pun intended) after being rejected twice. On board he had the British actor Warwick Davis in the title role, who was then only known for his role in Willow, and was pretty excited to play an antagonist.  An young and unknown Jennifer Aniston plays the main protagonist in her first movie role.

 

Leprechaun starts off in 1983 where Dan returns to his farmhouse in North Dakota from a trip to Ireland. He arrives in a black limousine, drunk on Jameson Whisky, and shows his wife a pot of gold that he’d stolen from a Leprechaun. But little did he know that the Leppy has followed him, and kills his wife by pushing her down the basement stairs as he screams his trademark line I want me gold NOW!”. Dan suppresses his powers with a four-leaf-clover, which is like cryptonite  for Leprechauns, before he traps him in a crate. After sealing it he puts the clover on the crate to hold him trapped forever. He then gets a stroke.

 

Ten years later, the young lady Tori (Jennifer Aniston) and her dad is moving into the farmhouse we saw earlier. Tori is not impressed and wants to go back to Beverly Hills. After freaking out by some cobwebs and the sight of a spider in the basement, she runs out and bumps into Mr. Prince Charming (a love-relationship that never got developed in the script, I guess). But it gave her enough reason to stay so we can see her with a shotgun at the end. But where’s the man of the party, Leppy himself? He’s still in the basement, trapped in the crate, waiting for someone to finally remove the four-leaf-clover so he can finally pop out, look for his gold, and give us some entertainment. Of course, it had to be some fat, clumsy redneck to remove the clover by an accident. He’s supposed to be the comic relief, but no one had any idea how Warwick Davis would completely outshine the whole cast.

 

Lerprechaun

 

If Beetlejuice and The Joker had a baby, it would be something like Leppy, and the one and only reason to watch the film is because of Warwick Davis. Without him and his witty and unique, cartoonish, wild persona and line-deliveries, this film would be unwatchable and forgotten, and we wouldn’t have the awesome sequels. He’s  dedicated to the fullest, clearly having a blast, and the imaginative prosthetic make-up by FX artist Gabe Bastalos matches his personality perfectly. The rest of the characters have nothing much to offer and are as bland as bed sheets, and the film’s main problem is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. In some scenes it looks like a cheap kids movie made for TV, and the next we have some dark moments where Leppy bounces some dude to death with a pogo stick. He breaks some police officer’s neck and rips someone’s eye out. Too childish for the older viewer, yet too brutal for the minors. So … I don’t know.

 

The highlight is where Leppy chases Jennifer Aniston with a wheelchair, a scene where she actually had to run in slow-motion so that Davis could keep up with her, as he had trouble steering the wheels. I would love to see a raw footage of that, haha.

 

The film is most known for Jennifer Aniston’s first film role, and this is probably her best performance as far as I know. She runs, screams, and when she’s not looking confused and asks herself what the hell she’s signed on to, she tries her hardest to look scared when confronted with Leppy. At some point she looks completely dead inside where she might be realizing that this actually was a feature film and not a deliberate prank. Luckily for her she found success in the sitcom Friends shortly after, and did what she could to pretend that this film never happened. Even though the film was a perfect target to get panned and mocked by critics, it struck gold at the box office, gained a cult-following and the executives at Trimark now saw the opportunity for more gold with a franchise with Warwick Davis who reprised his role in five sequels. And what a bizarre franchise we got. Dear Lord …

 

Lerprechaun Lerprechaun Lerprechaun

 

Writer and director: Mark Jones
Country & year: USA, 1993
Actors: Warwick Davis, Jennifer Aniston, Ken Olandt, Mark Holton, Robert Hy Gorman, Shay Duffin, John Sanderford, John Voldstad, Pamela Mant, William Newman, David Permenter, Raymond C. Turner
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0107387/

 

Related posts: Leprechaun 2 (1994) | Leprechaun 3 (1995) | Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996) | Leprechaun in the Hood (2000) | Leprechaun returns (2018)

 

 

Tom Ghoul