Leprechaun (1993)

Ten years ago, an evil leprechaun (Warwick Davis) lives, protecting his ill-gotten cold collection. Today, Dan O’Grady, (Shay Duffin) after finding what he believes are magical gold coins, steals the gold and returns back home, followed by the leprechaun. Ten years later, Tory Redding (Jennifer Aniston (Yes, it’s the same one)) and her father JD (John Sanderford) move into the same house, which Tory isn’t extremely fond of. Due to heckling from neighbor Nathan, (Ken Olandt) Tory agrees to stay. When friend Ozzie (Mark Holton) finds the leprechaun in the basement, no one believes him. When he finds the sack of stolen gold coins, he tells his little brother Alex (Robert Gorman) and they take it to get it evaluated. The leprechaun tracks it down, killing the shop owner. As the residents around the town start to be killed off, Tory and her friends start to realize that the killer is a leprechaun. Understanding the significance of the gold coins, they use them in a plan to rid themselves of the malevolent creature.

The Good News: First of all, I want to get this out. This is the probably the goriest entry in the series. We have some really bloody kills such as a few really good looking face scratching, some convincing burn marks a face ripped off, a car burner to the nose, and an ear bitten off. The killings did look a little bit more creative than normal, and the effectiveness of them is a real testament to the movie. Another great thing about the killings is that the Leprechaun harmed before he killed. The great special FX is the best part here. This includes the only scare in the film: the recreation of the leprechaun. When Ozzie finds the crate with the Leprechaun in the basement, he leans in closer to hear what the crate is making and the hand shoots forth. The crate is then splintered into pieces as a terrified Ozzie is sent cowering away in fear, with the unbelievable story to tell. The Leprechaun’s make-up in this one is perhaps the most frightening of the series. It’s probably due to the fact that the film is a straight horror film, rather than the sequels’ more hilarious tone. Because of the cracks in the face and the different dimensions it has, with the lighting in the film, creates a really unnerving sight when first viewed. You can tell this was intended to be a great slasher film, as it does follow the slasher rules: the indestructible killer, the false death, the desolate location, the killer chasing the victim and catching them by walking, and the setting up of the sequel. All these things aside, the best reason to watch one is to see Jennifer Aniston in a pair of short-shorts for ninety minutes, as she never changes clothes.

The Bad News: The sequels are what made the series. They were all downright hilarious, which this one really isn’t. This one feels intended to be a straightforward horror story, and there are no real big laughs in this one. There are a few funny scenes that definitely show where the series is going, such as a pretty funny scene where Ozzie is drenched in paint after an accident, but the fans who love the series for it’s wacky gags and smart one-liners will be lost here. Also readily apparent is Warwick Davis’ almost disinterest in playing the leprechaun. I didn’t see the glee that he had in the sequels in his performance in this one. You can almost tell that he didn’t think this was going to be big and never really put his all in. Another big problem is that the film really doesn’t have a lot of suspense or shock scenes. Even the few scenes that follow those conventions are total letdowns. When Nathan goes outside to check on a noise, he wanders around the building for a while before he steps into a clearly visible bear-trap the Leprechaun has set. It’s all too easy to see. You would think that wandering around a big dark house after dark would be a slam-dunk scare, but it’s wasted.