Thursday, March 17, 2011

Where's M'Casino Player's Card?

I know what you’re thinking. ‘Here it is St. Patrick’s Day and all Emily could do was act as 85% of the horror blogosphere and post a review of a Leprechaun movie? Way to think inside the box.’
Thanks guys, thanks a lot. Excuse me while I crouch in a corner now and cry, drinking my sorrows away with some Guinness and soaking up my tears with Irish soda bread. All I wanted to do was be seasonal.  
Quick Plot: At a Las Vegas pawn shop, a one-legged/one-eyed man frantically accepts $20 from Gupta (the store owner who politely reminds the audience of his name by referring to himself in the third person) for a brass statue of, you guessed it, a leprechaun.

A leprechaun!
Herein lies my first (and later, second) issue with Leprechaun 3: at several points in the film, a character asks our titular villain “Who are you?” His answer always remains as thus:
“I’m a leprechaun!”

Yes, by this time in history, Wayne’s World had already cemented that line as a cultural gold coin, but the last time someone asked me who I was, you can bet your buckled shoe my response was not “I’m a human being.”
But why am I wasting time on the details when I’ve got a movie about a leprechaun turning mob goons into human slot machines? Onward!
So Gupta reawakens the unnamed leprechaun, taking one of his shillings while researching leprechaun lore via an adorably dated CD-ROM with Happy Little Elves-like animation. Meanwhile, Scott, the world’s oldest looking 18 year old, is making a Vegas pit stop on his way to college orientation when he stops to pick up Tammy, a frustrated magician’s assistant. Ten minutes later, he’s lost $25,000 at the roulette table (because he’s an idiot) and is desperately trying to pawn his watch across the street.

Naturally, Scott ends up at Gupta’s counter just as the leprechaun is putting on his final kill moves. Like a good midwest boy, Scott calls the police and picks up the missing gold coin, instantly wishing himself back at the casino for an impossible winning streak that makes dealer Caroline Williams (the lovable Slack from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) rather suspicious. Because leprechaun gold coins can apparently grant your wishes, Scott indeed DOES end up on an impossible winning streak while Tammy (if you still care) slaves in a leotard for a hilariously Gob-like magician named Fazio.
In terms of storyline, Leprechaun 3 feels surprisingly complicated, with Scott and Tammy’s pseudo-romance, the sleazy casino owner’s money troubles, Fazio and Caroline Williams’ heist, and the leprechaun’s rampage all crammed tightly in a brisk 90 minutes. Scott also has a mini-arc regarding a leprechaun bite that transforms him into a gingery potato eating rhymer. Sure.
Despite a cluttered storyline, the film is actually a pretty darn good time. Director Brian Trenchard-Smith (Turkey Shoot) maintains a nice spirit of lightheartedness in every frame, getting energetic performances out of every actor, from the wide-eyed leads to a random Elvis impersonator who yes, teaches a move or two to the leprechaun. Why would he not?

High Points
I love a movie that has fun with its kills, and between the plastic surgery blow-up and robot sex electrocution that seems weirdly foreshadowing that creepy Russian vodka mascot, Leprechaun 3 isn’t lacking

There’s a nice, not too forced comic vibe to some of the supporting characters, particularly with Fazio and the entertaining Williams, but also with a pair of chatty mob goons and some bored surgeons
Low Points
I have an odd pet peeve with unambitious opening credits, which just feel like a time waster rather than mood setter. Leprechaun 3 opens with a black screen and vaguely Irish music playing as we learn about the supporting cast and composers. Just start the leprechauning already
Lessons Learned
A Fazio is a mediocre magician who couldn’t pull a rabbit out of a pet store

Without his gold, a leprechaun is just a gnome
In Las Vegas, it’s perfectly normal for brass statues of mythical creatures to disappear and be replaced by pots of gold coins. No need to jump or look around for a candid camera
The definition of a Las Vegas penis: heat sinking moisture missile
As a rule, people usually can’t tell you where they’ve hidden your gold when they are dead
A check for $25,000 should cover your first year of college tuition and living expenses

Not to be obvious, but by this point, you've probably had more than your share of Irish Car Bombs, so I'll spell it out for you: be careful what you wish for

Look, we all know that the Leprechaun series sort of epitomizes the general consensus that the ‘90s were a nadir in horror franchises, so calling this third installment the best won’t mean a whole lot. Still, Leprechaun 3 is a surprisingly enjoyable little monster flick,  one well aware of its audience and eager to give them the laughs, kills, and occasional nudity (sorry ladies, not of the leprechaun) they expect. It won’t change your life or give you anything close to a nightmare, but for 90 minutes (particularly if found on a bargain triple pack) it will make your Irish eyes smile.


  1. Nice review Emily! I really dug the strange Leprechaun transformation, which I think could have been developed a little better, but it's an interesting idea. It's a shame none of the other movies adopted it.

    I just love how unashamedly mental these films are. There's also a very strange slightly racist/xenophobic vibe running throughout, which I think is perhaps at it's most apparent here (and also when the Leprechaun visits "tha hood"), but it all seems to be good spirited enough. Although I do think if it wasn't for Warwick Davis these films would fall flat.

    So when can we expect a Leprechaun 4 review? :D

  2. Thanks Liam! The transformation was cute, but it just seemed so crammed into an already crowded film. Maybe in Leprechaun 7!

    And I never really thought about the leprechaun's racism, but you're totally right. He also has some pretty uncomfortable lines with the Indian pawn shop owner. I guess Ireland is a very homogenous country. Maybe he's more ignorant than hateful...

    I would LOVE to review Leprechaun 4, but it's not currently on DVD. I'm kind of worried for when that will happen, since the first three are already together on a triple pack and the two Hood installments are separated. I worry that Leppy's space adventures are in limbo.

  3. if limbo means Canada then, yes.


    thank me later

  4. Getting myself a St. Patrick's Day present tonight! Who knew you had to go North for Irish Space Spirit (which also sounds like a fine cologne or Trident flavor...)

  5. I can watch all 3 of these films in a row, no question, unashamed. They're very fun to watch, I totally agree, Emily. My personal fav was Part 2. But 3 was pure camp.

    And yes, looking forward to your take on 'tha hood' installments!

  6. Part 2 eh? I remember being really underwhelmed by it, but maybe I should give it another go.

    I watched both Hood entries when they hit DVD. Actually, I MADE my friends watch them with me and somehow they were TOTALLY UNDERWHELMED. Yes, I have since obtained new friends.

  7. Leprechaun 3 is one of those i remember from my vhs rental days. Re-watching it now on instant it's one of those cases where i remember each scene jsut as they start to play out. Silly and perfectly great time waster. But man oh man, does Caroline Williams look bad in this. Thing is, I'd blame the 90s and all it's awfulness as when i saw her recently at Horror Hound Cincinnati she looked like she'd aged rather well i.m.o

  8. ok i should wait to re-watch the entire film before commenting. Just got to Caroline Williams' transformation

  9. But the more important question: have you gotten to her SECOND transformation?