Archive for April, 2011

Leprechaun 6: Back 2 tha Hood (2003)

Directed By: Steven Ayromlooi

Starring:  Warwick Davis, Sherrie Jackson, Tangi Miller, Page Kennedy, Laz Alonso

Subgenre: Slasher, Supernatural

Synopsis: The Leprechaun in back in the hood for his latest sequel.  Once again, the Leprechaun is chasing down a group of friends that have stumbled upon his gold.

Thoughts: Been there and done that.  That is what my thoughts were after the sixth Leprechaun movie in a short period of time.  The studio felt heading back to an urban setting was the best route, but it sure seemed like they went back to the wrong well.  Apparently the original storyline took place in a tropical location during Spring Break.  Hard to say if that would have been any better, but Back 2 tha Hood sure was a step back from the original Hood.

As usual, Warwick Davis was magically delicious in his role as the Leprechaun.  He is the one constant throughout the series, and honestly, I hope they never replace him if they decide to make more movies.  The rest of the cast here is pretty bland, with some performances bordering on bad.

The Direction was similarly uninspiring as well.  Ayromlooi went on to direct Love & Other 4 Letter Words and My Girlfriend’s Back.  Can’t really chalk that up to a Hollywood success story, although that is exactly three more movies than most of us have ever directed.

 There really isn’t anything special about the script either (also written by Ayromlooi).  The Leprechaun is back after his gold after chasing a Flute in the last movie, and once again, he loves the weed.  It just so happens that one of the main characters sells weed and another one is a pot head.  Another amazing coincidence is that they find four leaf clovers in some of the weed.  I am sure that is a pretty common occurance.

Back 2 tha Hood isn’t the worst sequel in the franchise, but it throws its hat in the ring.  I guess it is a good thing that In Space was so damn bad.  Watch this to complete the franchise, but viewer beware.

Directed By: Rob Spera

Starring: Warwick Davis, Ice-T, Anthony Montgomery, Rashaan Nall, Red Grant

Subgenre: Supernatural, Slasher

Synopsis: Mack Daddy O’Nassas, a record producer, has successfully captured the Leprechaun and his magic flute, giving his great powers of influence over other people.  The Leprechaun is accidentally freed from his prison and is on a mission of revenge and reclaiming his magic flute.

Thoughts: I have no idea how someone convinced an executive to make another Leprechaun movie after the terrible In Space debacle, but here we are in 2000 with ol’ Leps back for more, and in “the hood” none the less.

The first sign that this movie is an improvement over the last is the always awesome Ice-T is a major part of the movie.  You can also tell that a bit more money was dumped into the production and the script is much improved, but still a little hokey.  It feels a lot like the second installment that way.  Leprechaun isn’t about to take itself seriously at this point.

I’m not sold on the magic flute story line, but how many times can the Leprechaun be searching for his gold.  I guess it works for this movie, but the thought of Ice-T, the Original Gangsta, blowing on a flute is odd.

We all know the Leprechaun loves his Irish Whiskey, but that can be tough to find in the hood.  He does find a replacement though, in the form of the old sticky icky.  The Leprechaun fast becomes a fan of smoking up.  To be expected I guess.

Warwick Davis is back as the Leprechaun as well, a role he is familiar with and very well suited for.  He is the Leprechaun, much the same way that Doug Bradley is Pinhead and Tony Todd is Candyman.

In the Hood isn’t the greatest movie, but it is a return to what made the earlier Leprechaun movies fun.  It’s campy with a little red stuff thrown in for good measure.  It’s worth checking out for fans of the little guy.

Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997)

Directed By: Brian Trenchard-Smith

Starring: Warwick Davis, Rebekah Carlton, Debbe Dunning, Guy Siner, Brent Jasmer, Jessica Collins

Subgenre: Supernatural, Slasher, Science Fiction-Horror, Comedy-Horror

Synopsis: The Leprechaun is back, this time on a distant planet wooing a Princess, battling Space Marines and dealing with a robotic spider mad scientist.

Thoughts: Not sure what the next logical place for the Leprechaun to go is after Vegas, but pretty sure I would have come up with something other than launching his ass into space.  We catch up to the Leprechaun on a distant planet, courting a space princess with a plan to kill her father and take over the crown.  No mention of how he made his way off the planet, no backstory, nothing. 

The Leprechaun actually loses quite a bit of screen time in this one to the group of Space Marines that blow him up and to the insane Dr. Mittenhand, who is half robot and soon to be half arachnid.  Yeah, this movie is a train wreck.

This is a direct to video feature, and it really shows.  I am talking sub ScyFy quality.  The acting, sets, and FX are all terrible.  The story is a mess.  All in all, this movie sucks, and sucks hard.  The first three movies of the series are Oscar worthy compared to it.  I don’t refer to IMDB often, but this gem is sitting at a rating of 3.0, which may be generous.

It shocks me that this isn’t the last film in the franchise, as In Space could easily be a franchise killer for any franchise.  If you are interested in the Leprechaun franchise, you could easily skip this one and head right for Tha Hood, but if you are like me and have to see them all, I recommend knocking back a few drinks first.

Creepiest Bunnies in Film History

Posted: April 24, 2011 in List, Opinions

There just are not very many (any?) good Easter themed horror movies.   Where are the guys that made Thankskilling! When you need them?  As a substitute, I am going to count down the five creepiest rabbits to find themselves in a movie. 

5. Night of the Lepus – While giant mutant bunnies are nothing to scoff at, the superimposed rabbits here really weren’t that scary, unless you have to clean up after them.

4. Donnie Darko – Creepy, yes, but come on, it was a guy in a bunny suit.

3. Fatal Attraction – I think we all know what is in that pot.

2. Monthy Python and the Search for the Holy Grail – I know what you are thinking, “Oh, it’s just a harmless little *bunny*, isn’t it?”  Go forth at your own risk.

1. Twilight Zone: The Movie – Pretty sure this scared the shit out of me when I was a kid.

Leprechaun 3 (1995)

Directed By: Brian Trenchard –Smith

Starring: Warwick Davis, John Gatins, Lee Armstrong, Caroline Williams, John DeMita, Marcelo Tubert, Michael Callan

Subgenre: Supernatural, Slasher

Synopsis: The Leprechaun is back, this time in a place tailor made for him, Vegas baby! He battles soon to be college student Scott, who is turning into a Leprechaun himself!

Thoughts: After seeing the Leprechaun start out in the country in the first movie and move to a more urban area in the second, the only natural place to send him for the third movie is Las Vegas and its endless sea of casinos. 

The third installment follows the same formula, with the Leprechaun tracking down his gold.  This time he is chasing Scott, a college kid on his way to his first semester of school who is using one of the gold coins for luck at a casino.

I actually like the premise for this one and it had loads of potential, but shoddy acting and a rushed script only gave us a load.  Warwick Davis is awesome as usual, but other than that, the other actors don’t being much to the table.  About the only familiar face is Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2).

The gore and death scenes are also not up to par, with most of them falling on the ridiculous side.  It is quite apparent that this series is becoming a parody of itself, which is troublesome for a franchise that straddles the horror and comedy genres.

My guess is if you are sitting down to watch Leprechaun 3, you are making your way through the series, so go ahead, finish what you started, but be warned, the quality is dropping off.

Leprechaun 2 (1994)

Directed By: Rodman Flender

Starring: Warwick Davis, Charlie Heath, Shevonne Durkin, Sandy Baron, Adam Biesk

Subgenre: Supernatural, Slasher

Synopsis: The Leprechaun is back, not just for his gold, but to settle an age old grudge and find himself a bride!

Thoughts: While the first Leprechaun flick didn’t blow up the box office, it did make enough to send the studio scrambling for an immediate sequel.  They turned to relative unknown Rodman Flender to helm the second foray into the Leprechaun mythos.  While Flender was unknown at the time, he has gone on to direct a few movies and many TV shows, including the underrated Idle Hands. 

While the first movie has Jennifer Aniston in it, the second installment offers no such superstars in the making.  We are stuck with Warwick Davis and a bunch of unknowns.  The acting in this one is pretty weak, but it is pretty enjoyable.  My favorite character was Morty, even though he was very stereotypical and canned.

A new angle that the sequel brought is the use of wishes.  Of course the Leprechaun twists every wish into something sadistic and bad for the person making the wish, much like the Djinn from Wishmaster, which wouldn’t come out for a few more years. 

Quality death scenes are few and far between as well, and most of them that had any potential occur off the screen, like the lawn mower to the face.  It is pretty apparent that the studio is going for campy horror, although there is a bit of nudity in this one.  It’s nothing special, but there none the less.

If you enjoyed the first Leprechaun, chances are you will like this one as well.  It follows a similar formula and Davis was pretty much born for this role.  It is also worthwhile to see the Leprechaun get completely hammered in a drinking contest on St Patty’s Day.

Leprechaun (1993)

Directed By: Mark Jones

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Warwick Davis, John Sanderford, Ken Olandt, Robert Gorman, Mark Holtan

Subgenre: Supernatural, Slasher

Synopsis: An evil Leprechaun gets pissed off whenever anyone messes with his gold, which is just what Tory and her new friends happen to do.  It is up to them to survive the onslaught of mischievous attacks by the Leprechaun.

Thoughts: The Leprechaun came later than most of the other 2nd (3rd?) tier horror icons, with his debut film landing in 1993, but the franchise would go on to pump out 6 movies in 10 years.  Leprechaun is very similar to Child’s Play in a lot of ways, including a diminutive killer.  It’s fair to say that if you enjoy Chucky, the Leprechaun will be right up your alley.

The storyline plays out like you expect, and the screen writers made sure to include every bit of Leprechaun mythos that they could jam into the 92 minute run time.  Four leaf clovers, pots of gold, and Irish whiskey all show up, as well as what I consider to be one of the most asinine parts of the movie.  The Leprechaun finds himself compelled to shine shoes.  So, he stops looking for his gold to shine shoes at one point. 

There are more than a few over-the-top ridiculous deaths in Leprechaun, but none more so than the pogo stick attack on the Pawn Shop owner.   The Leprechaun also drives around in a little car, which looks it came right from the circus.  Moments like this kept the movie from ever being scary or creepy.  I think that Leprechaun could have been a much darker film, if a few He has things had been done differently.  Instead we get something much more comedic in nature, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Aside from being the first appearance of the Leprechaun, this movie is Jennifer Aniston’s first movie role.  A year later she was starting Friends and starring in an endless array of Romantic Comedies.  She does a decent job here, but nothing special.  Aniston always seems to play the same role in her movies.

Another somewhat notable genre actor is Mark Holtan, who played the dim witted Ozzy.  He also appeared in both Teen Wolf movies and even starred as John Wayne Gacy in Gacy.

You can’t not mention Warwick Davis, who plays the titular villain.  Davis has played such roles as Wicket in Return of the Jedi, Willow, as well as Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter films.  He does a masterful job as the Leprechaun and it is hard to imagine anyone else playing the role.

The Leprechaun series is pretty cheesy, but it doesn’t pretend to be anything else.  The first one is worth seeing for horror fans.  Grab a few beers and kick back for some shenanigans!