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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Leprechaun

March 20, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Leprechaun

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #547: Leprechaun

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that used to like the breakfast cereal Lucky Charms when I was a kid but, as an adult, am not exactly enamored with it (I’ve even lost interest in the marshmallows in the cereal. The marshmallows! Who the hell loses interest in marshmallows?), The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number five hundred and forty-seven, I take a look at the classic low budget horror comedy that eventually spawned a multi-movie franchise and a remake, Leprechaun, which hit movie theatres in early January 1993.

Leprechaun

LeprechaunPoster

Leprechaun, written and directed by Mark Jones, stars Warwick Davis as Lubdan, an evil Leprechaun that ends up locked in a crate in the basement of an old farmhouse in North Dakota after a man named Daniel O’Grady (Shay Duffin) goes to Ireland and steals Lubdan’s gold. While attempting to get his gold back, Lubdan kills O’Grady’s wife (Pamela Mant) and, in the process of trying to do the same to Daniel, ends up in the crate, held there via the power of a four leaf clover that Daniel puts on the top of the crate. Lubdan spends ten years in that crate, unable to leave because of the four leaf clover. He ends up breaking out of the crate when Ozzie (Mark Holton), a mentally challenged handyman, removes the clover from the crate. And when he breaks out, Lubdan wants to know where the hell his gold is.

Now, up until Lubdan breaks out, no one at the O’Grady farmhouse knows anything about an evil leprechaun in the basement. The people renting out the farmhouse, spunky young woman Tory Reding (Jennifer Aniston) and her father J.D. (John Sanderford), plan to spend the summer there for some reason (they’re from Los Angeles and they’re spending their summer in North Dakota). And the three local workers hired to help clean out the house, Nathan (Ken Olandt), Alex (Robert Gorman), and Ozzie, are just there to clean the place up. They don’t know anything about the history of the house. So when Ozzie “meets” Lubdan and tells everyone what he saw in the basement, no one believes him. And, really, why would they believe him? Since when are leprechauns real? It doesn’t take long, though, for the Redings and everyone else to figure out that something bad is going on at the O’Grady farmhouse. Something really, really bad.

So where the hell is Lubdan’s gold? Alex and Ozzie have it. The thing is they don’t know that they have Lubdan’s gold, at least at first. When Lubdan starts chasing after them and terrorizing them, Alex and Ozzie figure out what the hell is really going on and try to survive. The others (J.D. ends up in the hospital and doesn’t really figure into the main story) try to survive, too, but they sure as hell don’t believe that what they’re fighting and running away from is a leprechaun.

A leprechaun? Again, since when are leprechauns real?

The first half or so of Leprechaun is pretty slow. It isn’t boring but it moves deliberately, sometimes too deliberately. It’s fun getting to know Troy and her father and, to a lesser extent, Alex and Ozzie (Nathan is just sort of there), but they’re not as interesting as Lubdan the Leprechaun. When Lubdan is on screen, killing people, terrorizing people, and acting insane, the movie’s pace picks up considerably. The last half of the movie is essentially a big chase scene where Lubdan goes after Tory, Nathan, Alex, and Ozzie, looking for his gold and getting pulverized while doing it. Since there’s only one way to stop a leprechaun (a four leaf clover), shooting the little bastard with a shotgun only pisses him off. But shooting him does buy the group time to figure out what to do. They just have to accept, at some point, that what they’re fighting really is a goddamn leprechaun.

The first half of the movie does have some cool parts in it. The opening sequence where we see Lubdan attempt to get his gold back from Daniel O’Grady is brutal (what Lubdan does to Daniel’s wife is messed up). And the two other people Lubdan ends up taking out, a pawn shop owner that attempts to authenticate Lubdan’s gold after Alex takes it to him, and a cop that tries to arrest Lubdan while Lubdan drives a go-kart down the road, provide some much needed body count excitement. And the whole “Leprechaun driving a go-kart” thing is just so damn great that I’m shocked no one has done an action figure of it. I mean, who wouldn’t want a Lubdan the Leprechaun driving a go-kart action figure? The lack of a big body count is surprising. I, for some reason, seem to remember way more dead people in this movie. Maybe I’m thinking of one of the sequels?

Leprechaun is also way funnier than I remember it being. Warwick Davis is responsible for most of the movie’s comedy as he is brilliantly off the wall as Lubdan, but the rest of the main cast is often times hilarious. Mark Holton and Robert Gorman make for a terrific comedy duo (their back and forth is one of the movie’s highlights. And Holton’s innocence makes for some hilarious moments, like when he calls 911 and tells them about the leprechaun). The cultural differences between Tory and Nathan provide some great moments, like when Tory tells Nathan that she doesn’t eat meat while he’s eating a heaping plate of meatloaf. Tory still has the hots for him (she’s smitten with Nathan the second she sees him) but she just can’t deal with the whole meat eating thing (watch her face in the diner). And Aniston is totally committed to the part she plays and the movie as a whole. It’s a shame that, nowadays, she seems to shy away from the fact that she’s in this movie at all. She does a damn good job. And, hey, you gotta start somewhere, right?

The movie belongs to Davis, though. It’s his show, he’s nothing short of brilliant in it, and when his Lubdan isn’t around you want to know where the hell he is because you want to see him wreak more havoc. Only an actor as gleefully involved as Davis appears to be could kill a guy with a pogo stick and make it look like a hoot and a half. And when was the last time you saw a movie monster with a need to clean up and fix shoes? It’s ridiculous, and yet Davis makes it work. Even before it eventually became a franchise with Davis in the lead, you could easily see Leprechaun as the first of many. It had that feel to it.

Leprechaun is a bonafide modern horror comedy classic. If you haven’t seen it in a while or, well, never, you need to track it down and check it out. It really is that kind of movie.

See Leprechaun. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 4

Explosions: One. It’s pretty cool.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: An underground cave, a pot of gold, a limo, tea making, a creepy child singing, leprechaun in a suitcase, neck breaking, a giant crate, four leaf clover hooey, heart attack, North Dakota, cobwebs, dust, dank, attempted hotel booking, people fucking around, off screen paint dumping, bug eating, crate escape, a rainbow, gold finding, coin swallowing, a serious leg scratch, attempted cat rescuing, hand biting, gold coin examination, a pile of National Geographic magazines on the floor, serious leg biting, pogo stick to the chest, multiple instances of sudden shoe cleaning, go-kart stealing, face pulverizing, nightstick throwing, serious neck breaking, a goofy mirror gag, off screen house cleaning, bear trap to the leg, a flashlight beatdown, rock to the back, shotgun hooey, windshield smashing, ear biting, car cigarette lighter to the nose, a killer leprechaun go-kart, truck flipping, bloody hand removal, a disembodied leprechaun hand, cop impersonating, gold coin counting, hand burning, penis grabbing, shotgun blast to the head, a phone that just won’t stop ringing, hand through the phone, shoe throwing, leprechaun in a wheelchair, dead body falls out the top of an elevator, night stick through the eye, eyeball removal, trap setting, face slashing via belt buckle, four leaf clover to the mouth, body melting, shotgun butt to the head, gasoline dumping, a massive fire, exploding well, and the obvious potential for a sequel.

Kim Richards? : Attempted.

Gratuitous: An Irish guy named O’Grady, Warwick Davis, Warwick Davis as an evil, killer leprechaun, four leaf clover hooey, leprechaun shit talking, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Aniston saying “This is the nineties,” Robert Gorman and Mark Holton, shiny shoe buckles, leprechaun magic, “3 Guys That Paint” painting company, a leprechaun riding a tricycle, leprechaun driving a go-kart, meatloaf eating, Jennifer Aniston not eating meat, hypocrisy, a Lucky Charms cereal parody, a kid talking about shooting a leprechaun in the head with a .357 magnum, portable phone, Jennifer Aniston holding a shotgun, leprechaun on a skateboard, leprechaun on roller skates, and the obvious potential for a sequel.

Best lines: “What in the world has gotten into you, Mr. O’Grady?,” “What is going on here is we’re rich!,” “Where did ya hide it, Dan?,” “Your wife makes a fine pot of tea, Daniel,” “Your bullets won’t stop me forever! I’ll keep coming back!,” “This is a joke, right?,” “Never judge a book by its cover. Honey, this book doesn’t have a cover,” “Dad, did you see that spider? It’s huge! It could kill us!,” “Boy, I could go for a beer right now,” “Scared? Me? Give me a crowbar I’ll bust it open myself!,” “I’m starved! I haven’t eaten in ten years!,” “There’s a leprechaun in the basement!,” “Nathan, I don’t think that stick is going to be big enough,” “Ozzie, you’re embarrassing me,” “You reckon that coin might have come from a leprechaun?,” “It’s not nice to steal coins from a leprechaun. Bad shop owner! Bad shop owner!,” “One gold coin, ninety-nine to go,” “Say, aren’t we a little young to be out this late? No. I’m 600 years old!,” “It’s not nice to make fun of a leprechaun,” “So you want to play hide and seek, huh?,” “Now that was fun,” “I want me gold!,” “This is crazy. What the hell is going on here?,” “What was that? Sounds like a bell,” “Alex, do you think you can kill a leprechaun?,” “We’re, like, really scared,” “God, Nathan, that was no fucking bear!,” “Distributor cap,” “My ear! My ear! He got my ear!,” “Boy, that leprechaun sure is mean,” “Oh, God, it’s in the cabinets!,” “I’m right here! And I ain’t no Santa Clause!,” “That thing is a leprechaun and we gotta find a way to stop it!,” “An eye for an eye, me dear,” “How’s your leg?,” and “Hey, lep! Fuck you, Lucky Charms!”

Rating: 9.0 /10.0

**

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Nefarious: I saw this messed up British horror flick at the 2019 Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival and it was nothing short of an amazing cinematic experience. I should have taken better notes for it so I could have included it in my The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Buffalo Dreams review marathon. The movie starts out as a sort of crime movie and eventually veers off into “holy shit” territory and grosses you out (in a good way). The movie is also funny, something I didn’t expect. If you’re looking for an excellent, new, indie low budget horror movie, Nefarious is the one you should pick up and check out. If you’re a horror movie nerd it is well worth your time. I can’t wait to see it again.

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Black Christmas: This is the second remake/reboot/whatever you want to call it of the Bob Clark directed, Christmas set slasher movie. It was in theaters briefly this past Christmas season and, as far as I can tell, wasn’t what anyone would call a hit. It might have made money since Blumhouse doesn’t spend big money on its movies, but I really don’t know (and I’m way too lazy to go look it up). Reviews for it seemed to be all over the place, with lots of people hating after seeing it, lots of people hating it before seeing it and then hating it anyway, and lots of people kind of liking it but not really all that enthusiastic about it. I’m curious enough about it to check it out now that it’s on home video. I really didn’t care for the movie’s trailers, but who knows? Maybe it isn’t as bad as the scathing reviews claim it is. Or it could be the worst movie ever made. I have no idea. Anyone out there see this? Is it, at least, goodish?

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Cannibal Apocalypse: I have never seen this notorious Italian horror flick, but I have heard of it and know that it was banned in the United Kingdom at one point (is it still banned in the U.K.?). The great John Saxon stars in it, and it’s apparently about Vietnam vets that engaged in cannibalism in the jungle during the war and, years later, end up engaging in cannibalism on the streets of New York City and spread some sort of cannibalism disease to people. Or something like that. It’s also supposed to be incredibly gory and nasty. I mean, hell, check out the trailer below. Is that fucked up or what? The fine folks at Kino Lorber are behind this Blu-ray, which is chock full of special features, including a commentary track by the great Tim Lucas. With this new home video release, I think it’s time I finally check this out and see just how nasty it is.

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Leprechaun

Warwick Davis– Lubdan the Leprechaun
Jennifer Aniston– Tory Reding
Ken Olandt– Nathan Murphy
Mark Holton– Ozzie
Robert Gorman– Alex
Shay Duffin– Daniel O’Grady
John Sanderford– J.D. Reding

(check out the rest of the cast here

Directed by Mark Jones
Screenplay by Mark Jones

Distributed by Trimark Pictures, Sirius Publishing Inc., Vidmark Entertainment, and Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Rated R for horror violence and language
Runtime– 92 minutes

Buy it here