Audiences love a wise-cracking killer. James Bond started it. Bruce Willis made a career of it. And over in the horror realm, there's the quippy Freddy Kreuger and that little ray of sunshine Chucky. But it wasn't until 1993, that the worlds of black humor and Irish folklore would collide in the surprise hit Leprechaun. Four direct-to-video sequels would follow, including Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996, 95 minutes), with fans still clamouring for more from the diminutive jester.
The movie: Part 3 found Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) chasing his gold in Las Vegas, now he's looking for love on the planet Ithicahn. No joke. Oh, and this installment is also set in the future. He's gone to all this trouble in search of a broad who'll marry him, and he finds one in Princess Zarina (Rebekah Carlton), but only after he kidnaps her and promises her all his gold. Before they can get hitched, bump off her father and rule the planet hand-in-hand, a squad of Marines storms the little guy's pad and blows him to bits. Not one to stay dead, Leprechaun stows away in a VERY unpleasant place before emerging to taunt the crew of a space cruiser as he kills them one-by-one. A tin-headed Marine (Tim Colceri) reminiscent of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2's Chop Top refuses to go quietly. While a mostly-machine and entirely mad scientist attempts to use Zarina's regenerative blood to return himself to normal. The experiment goes grotesquely awry thanks to you know who. CineSchlockers should note that Brian Trenchard-Smith returned as director after having done Part 3. No stranger to sequels, the director also helmed Night of the Demons 2 and is set to delve into Christian exploitation with Omega Code 2.
Notables: Two breasts. Six corpses. Light saber attack. Cross dressing. Gratuitous urination. Space disco. "Amos 'N' Andy" impression. Kung fu fighting. Flame throwing. Face flattening. Bug blending. Multiple gun battles. Electrocution. Shrink ray (and reverse shrink ray). Low-rent CGI footage.
Quotables: Master Sergeant Metal Head Hooker threatens his cyborg superior, "If I lose any of my troops your ass is grass -- if you even HAVE an ass!" Leprechaun's poetic plan for the princess, "I'll wed her, bed her and bury her all in the same day!" And quotes the master, "As Shakespeare said, 'S@#% happens.' " This Marine has had enough, "I don't give a damn if she's the Queen of Soul! That bastard killed Delores and I'm taking them out."
Time codes: Attack of the blue beast (11:25). Heavy petting turns deadly when a strange stirring in the loins becomes deadly (21:00). The princess bares her bosom (1:05:55). Leprechaunus Giganticus (1:21:05).
Audio/Video: In its direct-to-video fullframe. Relatively clean picture with no evidence of pixelation even during its many dark scenes. Utilitarian Dolby Digital 2.0 track.
Extras: Trailers for all five Leprechaun movies. Motion-video menus with audio. No printed insert or liner notes.
Final thought: This is a series that has never taken itself TOO seriously, demonstrating that a sense of humor and a body count can go a long way, even into deep space. Recommended.
G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.