Filmhydra
Warwick Davis as the leprechaun.
Above: “I want me gold!”

Why don’t you just give the Leprechaun his gold? (1993)

🌈 A leprechaun murders only the incidental characters when his sack of gold goes missing.

Reading time: 3 minutes.

Leprechaun is well-liked in a lot of circles, especially among horror fans eager to find a horror movie for every holiday. (Arbor Day’s movie is The Happening.) I’ve watched this one twice hoping I’d see what others see in it, but so far it’s a nope. It’s not that I don’t like awful movies — I absolutely do. But what I look for isn’t here.

Tory (Jennifer Aniston) is selfish, spoiled, and unlikable — so not too far from the Rachel she played a year later on Friends. She’s joined in the anti-Leprechaun hijinks by her dad J.D. (John Sanderford), and painting contractors Nathan (Ken Olandt), Ozzie (Mark Holton), and middle-schooler Alex (Robert Hy Gorman). Nathan is the buff one, Ozzie is the dumb one, and Alex is the annoying one.

Tory somehow confuses North Dakota (where she is) and New Mexico (one of the many places she’s not). This is after travelling from California. How she’s navigated airport concourses, I don’t know. And although she’s arrogant and selfish, Nathan can manipulate her into anything, apparently, by calling her chicken.

Tory makes a saracastic-looking face at her dad.

Or maybe it’s Kansas?

Ozzie accidentally releases a leprechaun trapped in the basement by the house’s previous tenants. There’s some goofiness because everyone treats Ozzie like he’s Big Bird, prone to seeing imaginary friends. Even when they find the leprechaun’s gold, young Alex refuses to entertain the idea. “Finders keepers,” Alex declares, and we are off to the races. “Try as they will, and try as they might, who steals me gold won’t live through the night,” warns the leprechaun (Warwick Davis), in a bit of poetry that doesn’t quite scan.

Indoor and night scenes are murky, but the outdoor daytime scenes are as bright and colorful as an episode of Teletubbies. Tory throws in with Nathan the Hunk (the actor is ten years her senior, but doesn’t look it), and ends up with artistic little paint strokes on her arm and face. The film’s tone is PG, with few scares, and little gore. It feels like a horror Mac & Me (which a young Aniston also acted in) or Short Cuts. The movie seems made for the pre-teen crowd. The kids Alex’s age.

JD reaches blindly into a hollow stump.

Truly an Elvira-level paint job.

Eventually, the leprechaun finds characters inconsequential enough to kill, and things take a grisly turn. In one scene, Tory pokes the leprechaun’s eye out with a stick; he turns to a nearby corpse for a graphic eye-transplant scene. Eventually we get random F-bombs, which are as welcome as a Jason mask on a Care-Bear.

The tone shift happened, apparently, because the studio thought they wanted a kids movie and then changed their minds. The grisly scenes are all reshoots; I assume the naughty language is as well. It suffers much the same problem as Tammy and the T-Rex, but with a lot less success.

JD reaches blindly into a hollow stump.

Painting is more of a plot point than you might expect.

“This movie does not make a lick of sense,” my partner says.

I have to agree; there appear to be no rules. He can teleport around a forest, but has to pedal a tiny tricycle around, or chase Tory down in a wheelchair. Shoes can distract the leprechaun, but only sometimes. He has to stop and polish them, which means picking up the shoes, wiping them twice, and then throwing them back down on the ground. He may be a “shoemaker by trade,” as he says, but he’s a lazy one.

Bad movies can appeal to folks for many different reasons and I will not judge you if this is your favorite St. Patrick’s day watch. But I don’t get this one.

JD reaches blindly into a hollow stump.

I must not fear; fear is the mind-killer.

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