It isn’t uncommon to pit villain versus villain in the horror universe. As individuals, we all typically lean towards a single franchise more-so than the others. We’ve all had these discussions – Who would win, Freddy Kruger or Jason Vorhees? Michael Myers or Leatherface? People could go back and forth all day about this, and sometimes they do because they haven’t discovered the unsung trump card of the entire horror genre – The Leprechaun!
I discovered the LEPRECHAUN franchise at an integral time of my development. I was in the sixth grade, and due to lack of social life, I quite literally spent all my time gorging myself with films. This was before I had ever encountered other horror fans, so my tastes developed without influence. If I liked what I consumed, I sought out more of it – And I could not get enough of this little, green terror!
Because it was such a taste-shaper for me personally, I never really considered these films cheesy or lesser than anything else. And truthfully, I still hold this opinion despite having a much more intimate understanding of the genre. Perhaps you’re inclined to write me off as a purveyor of bad taste – Hell, maybe you’re right. But I cannot help but feel that the LEPRECHAUN deserves to be elevated to a celebrated horror icon, and I think there are several solid arguments attesting to that.
GIVES HORROR FANS A REASON TO CELEBRATE ST. PATRICK’S DAY – I’m getting this out of the way since it is the reason I’m writing this in the first place. Find me a horror fan that hasn’t made it an annual tradition to throw on one of the LEPRECHAUN films and I will lend them a copy. Seriously, one of the most beautiful things about our community is how these weirdo films have become a staple in our celebrations – In this case, there is so much to choose from!
HE IS FUNNIER THAN FREDDY – I’m sorry, but it is true. I love Kruger as much as the next guy, but man… The Leprechaun literally speaks in limericks. You like puns? He has a lot of ’em in his verbal arsenal. And I mean, he is obviously overly intelligent. You wanna call these movies stupid? Try speaking in Limerick all day and get back to me. I rest my case.
HE IS CRAFTIER THAN FREDDY, TOO (AND EVERY OTHER MANIAC) – How many times have you seen someone murdered by being crushed by a pogo stick? How about a pretentious barista steamed to death? What about a marine meeting his end due to a Leprechaun exploding out of his genital region? This is only the tip of the iceberg, too. You never see the same kill twice, and despite the apparent silliness, the violence is not toned down in the slightest.
HE WOULD BE THE FUNNEST TO PARTY WITH – Okay, so he is always ripping around on something – A pogo stick, a go-kart, rollerblades, big wheels, you name it. Not only that, but he is down to drink you under the table, he’ll smoke you up, gambles like a maniac… Swivels his hips like Elvis… He taps into the culture around him, and would probably be a really good buddy if he wasn’t a homicidal maniac driven by greed.
HE GOES TO SPACE AND IT ISN’T TOTALLY WEIRD – If this seems like a jab at Jason X, I will not confirm nor deny. But hey, that is part of the beauty of these movies being so wildly bonkers. Nothing ever feels like it crossed a line because there are truly no lines to be crossed. He can go anywhere, he can do anything. He is a strong, independent movie monster.
CONTINUITY WHERE IT COUNTS – There isn’t a rulebook that is carried throughout the original franchise. Functioning almost like an anthology, each film typically has its own backstory and set of rules. That being said, the two most important elements remain constant – Warwick Davis as the Leprechaun and Gabe Bartalos as the makeup artist. This may seem like a no-brainer but is somewhat a rarity in horror franchises. Both these men deserve to be commended for their dedication to this character, for we as fans are capable of enjoying a succession of six films without a tarnished image.
DEFLECTS THE ’90S HORROR ARGUMENT – ’90s horror has a bad reputation, which is a little unfair given that they had to follow up the infallible ’80s. However, y’all need to step back and remember that the first Leprechaun movie was released in 1993. Yeah, they’re silly movies, but they’re legitimate, R-rated horror films. Yeah, the characters are cartoony, but peek that gore and tell me it isn’t top tier! One second he will be verbally biting into you with childlike exuberance, next thing he is ripping gold teeth out of your face! If that won’t satisfy you, I’m not sure anything ever will.