Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Once again it’s that time of year to spend an entire day bundled up on the sofa with your favorite green blanket, eating green potato chips and watching a marathon of films from the Leprechaun franchise. Today, I’ll be reviewing the original in the series – the one that started it all. Before he went to the ‘burbs, before he went to Vegas, and yes, before he even went to space, Leprechaun started terrorizing Jennifer Aniston in a farmhouse.
This was Jennifer Aniston’s first feature film, having been previously involved only in television shows, and she does a decent enough job. It’s apparent her acting skills were honed later on in her career, but to be fair the attention of the audience is stolen by Warwick Davis and his genius performance as the Leprechaun. Davis is a brilliant character actor and that shines through in his gritty, dark, hilarious interpretation of an evil Leprechaun. From the haunting “Mary Had a Little Lamb” singing in the beginning of the film to the constant twisted rhymes he uses to express his motives, it’s like someone took the Joker from Batman and shrunk him down into an Irish Hell-spawn.
This film holds a bit of nostalgia from my childhood as this was one of the first horror movies I’d ever seen. Usually I wasn’t allowed to watch the more gory, disturbing films like Child’s Play or Nightmare on Elm Street or Texas Chainsaw, but for some reason my dad made an exception for Leprechaun. Certain scenes in particular I will never forget, like the old man hanging upside down in the elevator, or the Leprechaun jumping on the Pogo stick on the man’s chest, or the Leprechaun melting in the end from choking on a four-leafed clover. I suppose those scenes are not appropriate for children, but it helped make me the horror enthusiast I am today, so that’s okay, right?
Granted, a lot of what I love about this movie stems from the feeling I got while watching it as a kid, but I find I still enjoy popping this in the DVD player every St. Patrick’s Day and reliving those moments. It’s not a suspenseful, terror-filled horror movie, but instead an adventurous, enjoyable horror comedy. When viewed on its own Leprechaun keeps your attention and keeps you entertained, and when viewed as a series it stands as the pedestal on which all sequels fail to climb. The special effects, story, cinematography and direction are treated with care and quality. It’s obvious the filmmakers cared about making a good, enjoyable horror movie, which is something the remaining films failed to grasp.
In the end Leprechaun reminds me of simpler times and quality horror comedy of the 90’s. It will always be THE go-to horror movie for St. Patrick’s Day, and I always get a laugh every time I watch it. Whether you choose to marathon the whole series or just watch one, make sure you watch the original because you will not be disappointed.