It’s Friday the 13th, so you know what time it is! It’s time to look at the LEPRECHAUN franchise. Just in case you thought I was going to review JASON X or provide you with the debate of living mongoloid Jason vs. zombie Jason, I pulled the rug out on you. If you want to read that junk today, go to just about every other horror blog. But if you want an in-depth analysis of why the LEPRECHAUN series of flicks sucks, you’ve come to the right place. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day today, and Happy Leprechaun the 13th!
“leprechaun” is hard to spell
Not only do I have two degrees in English literature and language, but I’m a 6th grade spelling bee champ for Cayuga Elementary School. I’ve always prided myself in my ability to spell just about any word in my native tongue accurately. So you can imagine how much it angers me when I incorrectly spell out “leprechaun” on MS Word and the red line comes up underneath it. Thing is, it’s an irregular spelling pattern, and I don’t write weekly articles about the little gold hording pricks. I bravely use the excuse for my misspelling that the word is not English, but Irish metathesized from Old Irish. Thank you, Random House dictionary, for giving me that excuse. No thanks to Old Irish for giving me such a difficult word to remember how to spell.
Leprechauns are tiny
Kudos to Warwick Davis, who puts every inch of his 3 foot 6 inch frame into playing the Leprechaun and portraying him with conviction. But that three-and-a-half feet is one large reason I can’t get behind these flicks. I stand a full 31 inches taller than the evil little bastard, and if we ever got into a brawl, it would quickly end with me kicking him 12 city blocks through building after building. Same as Chucky, Leprechaun would lose big in the tale of the tape, and I don’t care how much magic he wants to throw at me, if I’m sporting the war on the Lep, I’m not losing that battle.
Leprechauns aren’t funny
I can hear the pitch meeting in my head. “Are you kidding me? Leprechauns are all over cereal boxes in grocery stores. Nobody’s heading to a theatre to see one.” “New Line’s not making those Elm Street films anymore?” “No, but what does that have to do with this concept?” “What if we make the leprechaun funny?” Lights go on in a bunch of execs’ heads. And thus a lousy idea is born.
My bottom line is simple: I hate a wisecracking monster. Robert Englund is a solid actor, but once Freddy Krueger goes all “WELCOME TO PRIMETIME, BITCH!” he loses all scariness. And that’s with Englund playing an iconic horror monster created by Wes Craven. Give Davis his due, but any hope for his character frightening me was gutshot from the first jokey line the screenwriter added into the first film’s script.
Humor in horror work great when it’s situation based—look no further than RE-ANIMATOR or TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2. But when it’s in the form of dialogue shenanigans and one-liners that would make Arnold Schwarzenegger blush, it’s all but going to kill a horror flick for me. And the Leprechaun has some truly awful zingers. Awful.
I hate Friends. I dislike most of the actors from Friends. I especially dislike Aniston. I never thought she was cute or hot, and her pixie girl approach to comedy does nothing for me. How great is it for me, then, that she has to live with the first LEPRECHAUN being her debut film.
The franchise went to Vegas
Ever want to see what a limerick spouting creature from Irish mythology would do in Sin City? The third flick gives you your chance, and you’re probably regretting that you wondered in the first place. The flick manages to take the glitz and grandeur of Vegas and somehow minimalize it so much that you may think you’re watching something filmed in a bingo hall under your local church. Clearly the filmmakers could only afford Sin City on a budget, as this was the first of the franchise to go direct-to-video. If you’re doing Vegas, you have to go OCEAN’S 11 or go home.
The franchise went to outer space
Horror in space can work. Just check out ALIENS. Horror from space can work. Just check out Hell of Famer THE THING. Taking horror and transplanting it into space never works. JASON X is atrocious, I still have no idea what the Hell is going on in HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE, and even when the Critters tried to drag us into space in their fourth entry, it failed on all cylinders. LEPRECHAUN 4: IN SPACE makes it 100% embarrassment for horror franchises headed into space.
With downright awful visual effects that looked to cost 14 bucks, a Nazi cyborg, and a group of fifth rate Marines, this flick had no chance from Square 1. And that’s even if we don’t consider the leprechaun wearing a tuxedo at one point.
The franchise went to the hood
The longer this series goes, the more insane it gets. Heading from Vegas to outer space to a ghetto brings the Leprechaun on a path that rivals the later FRIDAY THE 13TH flicks in lunacy.
Why the powers that be decided to take a creature from Irish folklore and transplant him into the hood is beyond me, but it flat out doesn’t work. A weird concoction of an aspiring rap group, a leprechaun, the gritty streets of a socioeconomically disadvantaged area and Ice T in a bad Afro wig is even dumber in execution than it sounds on paper. The leprechaun’s bad humor doesn’t mix with the attempt at presenting tough inner city life or the plight of the urban African American, and what could have been a legitimate examination of that plight… wait, what the Hell am I talking about? There’s nothing legitimate in this franchise, which examines nothing of any redeeming value.
The franchise went to the hood again
How often does a horror franchise make a sequel that spins the previous entry off into its own subseries? Wow, writing that sentence gave me a headache. LEPRECHAUN BACK TO THE HOOD isn’t so much a continuation of the leprechaun’s shenanigans, but specifically a continuation of the last entry, LEPRECHAUN IN THE HOOD. And it’s even worse than his previous venture into the urban life. At least Ice T classed up the last one a bit. Here we don’t even get him.
The WWE produced a remakebootmagining
Take a silly horror franchise and put it in the hands of Vince McMahon and you’re begging for it to get even worse. This gave Vince the grand opportunity to replace Warwick Davis with Dylan Postl, a dwarf who played a wrestling leprechaun called Hornswoggle in the WWE. Oh dear God, the things I’ve had to type in this post.
Say what you want about the entries in this garbage franchise, but Warwick Davis was a pro throughout, and can hold his head high at the end of the day. His character was goofy, but Davis himself never was in playing him. Postl on the other hand gets reduced to a rejected troll design from Peter Jackson’s Tolkien flicks; which is greatly ironic, because Hornswoggle was more like a goofy leprechaun. The flick strips away all the Leprechaun’s dialogue, and with it his bad jokes, but it replaces them with a generic, growling monster, which somehow is even worse. The flick plays it straight, which makes it ill fitting when in line with the rest of the franchise. Screw Vince McMahon.
If you’re like me, given that it’s Friday the 13th, by this point in this post you’re imagining Jason Voorhees cutting the Leprechaun vertically in half and then turning his blade to do the same horizontally, while mother Pamela says, “Kill the Leprechaun, Mommy! Kill it!” As he finishes the job and the two join me as we sit on a porch at Camp Crystal Lake, Mrs. Voorhees looks at the sliced up remains of the evil little bastard and remarks… IT’S OFFICIAL! YOU SUCK! Jason and I couldn’t agree more.