Leprechaun (1993)

Leprechauns steal more than lucky charms

As someone who comes from a predominantly Irish family, I have become quite sick of Hollywood’s typical depiction of my people – the harmless, fun loving drunk with a heart of gold. Thankfully, in 1993, director Mark Davis showed us there is another type of Irish – those that are greedy, powerful, and under four-feet tall.

This week’s selection is the film that started an award winning franchise, a film that marks the motion picture debut of Jennifer Aniston, and a film that features such eloquent writing that it makes Ernest Hemingway look like a muttering, confused hobo. Ladies and gentlemen, this week’s selection is Leprechaun.

Still image from Leprechaun

It is well known that there are two things one must never try to take from a leprechaun – their gold and their Lucky Charms – no matter how precious or magically delicious these items might appear to be.

The residents of a small town in North Dakota learn this lesson the hard way when a dim-witted drunk, by the name of Daniel O’Grady, returns home from a trip to Ireland, with a bag of gold coins. Little does Daniel know that the rightful owner of the gold, a leprechaun, has followed him back to North Dakota.

The first person to run afoul of the leprechaun is Daniel’s wife. It is upon meeting Mrs. O’Grady that the leprechaun utters his firsts words in the film, and what words they are – “Ha, ha, do ye like the gold buckles on me shoes? I want me gold now.” You can take your “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” or your “Here’s looking at you, kid” – for my money, you cannot top “do ye like the gold buckles on me shoes?”

The O’Grady’s manage to trap the leprechaun in a wooden crate, thanks to the use of a four-leaf clover, which is the equivalent of kryptonite to the wee-Irish ones. However, a mere 10 years later, the leprechaun is released from his wooden prison by a new group of inhabitants in the O’Grady house – among these inhabitants is Jennifer Aniston!

Aniston plays Torrie, a spoiled rich girl who is forced to move to North Dakota with her father. Despite all the men Aniston has been attached to over the years (Brad Pitt, Vince Vaughn, “Weird” Al Yankovic), I don’t believe I have ever seen the kind of chemistry that exists in the scenes that Ms. Aniston shares with the leprechaun. You can literally cut the sexual tension with a knife when the leprechaun looks into her eyes and says those magic words – “little girls shouldn’t look for four-leaf clovers.”

Unfortunately, Aniston made the mistake of agreeing to appear in a pilot for a show called Friends a few months after this movie was released. The luck of the Irish certainly was not with Jennifer, as NBC picked up the series, and kept ordering more episodes, preventing Jen from appearing in any of the five Leprechaun sequels. I can only imagine that she must sit alone at home some nights, looking out the window to the stars, thinking of what might have been.

While Aniston’s career never did reach the heights that were expected after this film was released, the same thankfully cannot be said about Warwick Davis. Young Mr. Davis needs absolutely no introduction, however if I don’t give him one, you’ll probably have no idea who he is.

Warwick is a giant in the film industry. Well, not literally a giant, as he stands about three-and-a-half feet tall. After appearing in films such as Return of the Jedi and Willow, Warwick put himself on the map in Hollywood. However, it was not until donning the leprechaun attire for this film, and its five sequels, that Davis became a legitimate international superstar and a multi-thousandaire.

Whether he’s cheerfully exclaiming “me golden delicious gold” while putting coins in his mouth, or killing a man by repeatedly jumping on his chest with a pogo stick, you simply cannot take your eyes away from him.

Few films work on as many levels as Leprechaun. As a thriller, it is bone-chillingly scary. As a comedy, it will have you howling with delight. As an instructional film on how to thwart a leprechaun attack, it, in combination with a large quantity of clovers and shoes, are invaluable.

What’s that about shoes, you ask? Just run down to your local video store immediately, before it’s too late.

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