Wayback Wednesday: Leprechaun (1993)

Warwick Davis will always understand the assignment.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

To celebrate the holiday, I spent a long time thinking about what type of movie would be most suitable for today’s Wayback. Should I review something set in the heavily-Irish city of Boston such as, Good Will Hunting (1997)? Perhaps a charming romantic-comedy set in the heart of Ireland like, Leap Year (2010)? Or maybe something that’s just straight-up about drinking like, Cocktail (1988). In the end I decided that the only way to properly mark the occasion would be to watch the horror-comedy, Leprechaun (1993). This was my first time watching this movie and let me just say, it certainly won’t be the last. You guys, I very unexpectedly had a hoot and a half watching this terrible, terrible movie. Though I’m pretty sure I was laughing in all the wrong places, I found Leprechaun to be hilarious. Not at all scary, but definitely hilarious.

Credit: imdb.com / Trimark Pictures

Leprechaun tells the story of a vengeful, sadistic leprechaun in search of his stolen gold. When a group of friends get their hands on his gold, the leprechaun goes on a murderous rampage to get it back.

Wow, that may be the shortest summary I’ve ever written for a movie. Honestly though, that’s because Leprechaun is simply very short on plot. It’s less like a movie and more like an episode of Goosebumps (1995 – 1998) or Tales from the Crypt (1989 – 1996) and I mean that in the best way possible. What it lacks in competence though, it more than makes up for in unintentional hilarity. I swear, I was laughing before the movie even got going. Case in point, I barely paid attention to the beginning of the movie because I was laughing my ass off at a leprechaun pushing an old lady down the stairs to her death, eliciting the MOST fake, cheesiest, death scene I’ve perhaps ever scene. And this was while the opening credits were still rolling! Yep. The opening minutes of Leprechaun established the movie as a schlocky camp extravaganza, a tone the movie solidly delivered on from start to finish. Apparently Leprechaun was supposed to be a straight-up horror movie but star Warwick Davis, who plays the titular monster, kept hamming up his performance and making his role more humorous. What a great call by Davis. If this movie had taken itself even remotely seriously, I can’t imagine how legitimately awful it would have turned out. Make no mistake. The enjoyment of watching Leprechaun, the majority of its humour, comes solely from how it’s so bad it’s good.

In every way possible, Leprechaun is a cheap and amateurish production. The editing is abysmal, the clunky and expositional writing sounds like a high school student wrote it, and the leprechaun’s costume literally looks like it’s straight off the bargain rack from a Spirit Halloween store. Now, as shoddily made as it undoubtedly is, Leprechaun is so undeniably stupid to watch that doing so is so much freaking fun. I can’t be mad at the poor quality because the movie is fully aware of how silly it is and delights in being just the weirdest, zaniest, most clichéd horror-comedy out there. I can honestly say that I was never bored watching Leprechaun. How could I be? Not only is the leprechaun a bloodthirsty supernatural being bent on revenge, but he also roller skates, skateboards, drives a GO-KART, and even Pogo Sticks a man to death! Which, I’ll give the movie credit for, I’ve never seen done before. Oh my God, I just remembered when one of the characters (all of whom are pretty moronic, even by horror movie standards) swallows a whole-ass massive gold coin and isn’t fazed in the least! Damn, this movie is so stupid and so much fun.

Perhaps the most notable thing about Leprechaun, besides that memorable Pogo Stick death scene, is that it’s the film debut of a young Jennifer Aniston. As Tory, the movie’s heroine, Aniston nails exactly what Leprechaun is going for. Which is surprising because when I think of actors who “get it,” Aniston isn’t at the top of my list. Who is? Tim Curry, Nathan Lane, Glenn Close…those kind of actors. But Aniston actually does a pretty decent job of walking the line between camping it up, and portraying a solid horror movie heroine. Is she, or anyone in the cast for that matter, particularly phenomenal? Absolutely not. But like I said, I wasn’t bored for a single minute I spent watching Leprechaun. The entire cast, especially Davis, do an extremely adequate job. By that I mean they were able to say their lines with a straight face.

If you took Gremlins (1984), Tremors (1990), and Child’s Play (1988), then put them in a blender, what you’d get is a something somewhat resembling Leprechaun. In other words, pure ridiculous amusement. I’m not kidding. Turn off the lights, crack open a few beers, and enjoy this wacky mess. Honestly, getting drunk and watching Leprechaun sounds like a Hell of a way to spend St. Patrick’s Day. That’s so going to be my new tradition! Maybe one year I’ll even marathon-watch the seven sequels this movie spawned. That’s right, SEVEN.

Have you seen Leprechaun?

Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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