Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In honor of everybody's fourth favorite holiday, I wanted to talk a little bit about everyone's seventh favorite horror movie franchise. That's right! Leprechaun! A name so scary that I constantly have to check the spelling every time I type it.

Now, Leprechaun lives in a very special place in my heart. This was the first horror movie I ever saw (I was seven, and my cool aunt was babysitting me). I loved the horror. I loved the humor. I loved seeing Jennifer Aniston embarrass herself. It was a blast from start to finish.

Because today is St. Patrick's Day, here's a very special look back at the Leprechaun franchise.
The first Leprechaun is very low budget. The whole thing takes place in a farmhouse in the one area of "North Dakota" that looks exactly like Southern California. It's probably most famous for having Jennifer Aniston in it, but Warwick Davis is really the star here. It's a neat little roller coaster of a movie, with one of the all time best moster-kill catchphrases of all time... AND there's murder-by-pogo-stick!
Leprechaun 2 takes our titular monster to Hollywood, where he uses a cappuccino machine to murder that guy from MadTV that reminded everybody of Will Ferrell. I think you know who I'm talking about. Whatever happened to that guy? He probably still works. Anyway, the movie is the most forgettable entry in the franchise, but it's fun. And there's a kiss scene with a giant fake tongue that is truly horrifying.

Leprechaun 3 (the one in Vegas) is pretty much the consensus pick for the best in the franchise. It's funny, there's some gnarly special effects (a magic trick gone wrong, an inexplicable robot lady, the umbrella scene...), and the script is chock-full of dirty limericks. It's my personal favorite.
Leprechaun 4: In Space is the wackiest of the bunch. It's almost as fun as part 3, but it also tries a little too hard. The movie starts with a really gross shout-out to the chest-burster scene from Alien, and it never lets up from there. There's a giant spider mutant, a space princess with magical healing powers, and some pretty great death scenes. No limericks, though.
People like the idea of Leprechaun: In the Hood more than the actual film. It's a great premise, and Ice-T is having a blast, but it's just not that fun. There are moments, though. Coolio has the most random cameo in the history of cinema, and the whole thing ends with a glorious rap song that Warwick Davis can barely get through.

Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood is cheaper, dumber, and a whole lot more fun than his first trip to the hood. This is the first time the franchise has repeated itself, though. I would've much preferred its original concept (Leprechaun Does Spring Break), but the execution isn't bad, and its climactic scenes are some of the best in the series. There's a lot of dumb drug humor, so that's always fun.

And now we come to the nadir of the series: the sullen, dull "re-imagining" known as Leprechaun Origins. Instead of a horror comedy starring a little person actor who is clearly having the time of his life, we get a straight-up horror survival story starring a WWE wrestler who has zero lines and about ten seconds of screen time in the whole movie. Wikipedia says that WWE is currently working on a sequel, which I will watch because I'm a movie masochist, but eek. This is bad.
Rather than ending on such a down note, I wanted to share a little factoid that I just found out. Apparently in Irish mythology, there are leprechauns and clurichauns. Clurichauns are basically the same thing as leprechauns, but they only come out at night, they're constantly drunk, and they enjoy riding sheep. If you treat them well, they'll protect your wine cellars.

God, I love the Irish.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everybody!

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