kindertrauma random header image

Leprechaun Returns (2019)

July 31st, 2019 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments

I just had to rent LEPRECHAUN RETURNS from my local Redbox. The pull was irresistible. This is just who I am. I can’t say no to a straight-to-video horror sequel no matter how unpromising it may look. I will watch any HOWLING, CHILDREN OF THE CORN or HELLRAISER that is thrown at me. I’ve also got a massive soft spot for irreverent cartoon villain horror flicks and feel a profound sadness that RUMPLESTILTSKIN, PINOCCHIO’S REVENGE and DOLLY DEAREST are one-offs. It’s in my video store blood. Something in my heart assures me that even if the movie is bad if I drink enough beer while watching it, I will feel one hundred percent safe from the horrors of the world. I know what I’m doing. I even told myself that if LEPRECHAUN RETURNS was horrible that I was not allowed to grumble while making the long walk back to the grocery store in the summer heat to return it because what the hell did I expect? Of course, it wasn’t going to be good. The reality is the idea of renting a LEPRECHAUN movie has always been a lot more fun than the actual watching of a LEPRECHAUN movie (except maybe Part 4 IN SPACE which is pretty darn hilarious). My expectations were low. All I wanted was a time killer and maybe the nostalgic rush of feeling like I was renting from a mom and pop video store circa 1996-ish. Here’s the twist…I kind of loved it. In fact, I think it’s the LEPRECHAUN sequel I’ve always wanted. It’s the best since the first (I realize that’s not saying much but I do enjoy the original, silly as it is).

Much like last year’s HALLOWEEN, LEPRECHAUN RETURNS wipes the sequel slate clean and is a direct continuation of the first film. It takes place in the same house (which is now home to a sorority), involves the daughter of the original’s heroine and even sports a twenty-five years older survivor (MARK HOLTON). The most profound alteration is the recasting of the titular menace but remarkably, newbie LINDEN PORCO does an exceptional turn in place of WARWICK DAVIS (and sorry, he might even be an improvement). Director STEVEN KOSTANSKI (THE VOID) got his start in make-up effects, which ensures that the diminutive demon looks more horrific than ever before. PORCO’s take is much more fairy tale cackling witch-like and he’s prone to ripping his face off revealing a grimacing skull for added terror. The effects across the board are consistently top-notch and the creative kills are timed perfectly following the old school slasher template. The cast is pretty great too. Lead TAYLOR SPREITLER as Lila is so down to earth normal and likable and she’s got wonderful comic timing. She kind of reminded me of a young LINDA BLAIR and I don’t say that lightly. As you’d expect, there’s a plethora of one-liners, sight gags, and double entendres; some definitely land better than others but it wouldn’t really be a leprechaun movie without a couple of dad-joke groaners. Most importantly, the movie is fun. It knows exactly what made flippant horror sequels such crowd pleasures back in the day and it delivers the goods.  

This isn’t prestige horror and that’s precisely the point. I can’t tell you it’s not goofy because it was built to be goofy but goofy is such a much-needed commodity these days. It brings me such joy. I know it’s lowbrow but it’s lowbrow in a way that high brow just can’t compete with- sorta like a hot dog. If you don’t like dopey movies feel free to skip right past this but if you enjoy, snickering gore, Mr. Roper-esque 4th wall destruction and MAD Magazine level wise cracks, you’re in for a pot of gold. Personally, I needed the guffaws and let me say there’s a celebrity impersonation within the movie that made me laugh out loud (it’s kinda brilliant). They really went out of their way to honor the first entry (awww, the little guy is still obsessed with organizing shoes!) and it did my heart good to see the OG respected in such a way.  The poor leprechaun has always been regulated to the second tier horror icon ghetto (with folks like WARLOCK and THE WISHMASTER) and perhaps rightly so considering how lackluster his continuing adventures have been. If the little guy got a follow up like this in the first place maybe that wouldn’t have been the case. As someone who had a blast seeing the original in the theater, I have to say this is the very first sequel that didn’t leave me with a feeling of disappointment. Some say the third times the charm but in this case it’s the seventh. Looks to me like this series luck has finally changed or maybe I’m just partial to redheads.

Tags: General Horror




4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 GeoffNo Gravatar // Aug 4, 2019 at 12:57 am

    Okay you have me intrigued! Leprechaun was one of those franchises I never paid much attention to – I think I’ve only seen 3 entries. But years ago I worked with a woman who shamefacedly admitted she had a supporting role in Leprechaun In The Hood so I feel a tenuous personal connection to the little guy. (I badgered her for information about the movie but she didn’t have much dirt. She only filmed for one night and was embarrassed I had recognized her in it.) I’ll add this to my ‘to watch’ list.

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Aug 4, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Geoff,
    Do check it out! I was very shocked at how much I liked it. I think all the other sequels fun as they are, also have a tacky vibe that this one totally avoids. I really liked the lead character’s struggle with her deceased mother’s possible mental illness rather than the usual gimmicks. I’m going to try and catch up on the director’s other work. I thought THE VOID was awesome but haven’t seen MANBORG or FATHER’S DAY yet.

    One curious thing about LR- Like the recent CHILD’S PLAY and POLTERGEIST retellings it also involves a drone scene! I guess drones are thought to instantly modernize elderly horror series. LR at least uses the drone to great comic effect. I just can’t get over liking LR much more than the theatrical CP reboot but here we are.

    Anyway, thanks for leaving a comment on this poor ignored post!

  • 3 Mr. PicklesNo Gravatar // Aug 5, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    I remember renting the original on VHS many years ago and then I forgot about the whole series until the kids made me Red Box last weekend. I have to say that I enjoyed it, I mean who wouldn’t attempt to take a selfie with a mythological arsehole. Now the kids want the box set collection – ah the magic and beauty of youth…

  • 4 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Aug 5, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    Mr Pickles,
    That is awesome! So glad the leprechaun is being enjoyed by a new generation! It’s great that they have a nice cheap collection of the early installments! Hope the kids enjoy them!

You must log in with your Kindertrauma account to post a comment: