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March 16, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day! - Remembering Leprechaun 4: In Space

(After being reminded tomorrow is St. Patty's day by Nicki over at Hey! Look Behind You!, I thought I'd lazily recall the first solo review I wrote back when I was just cutting my teeth with DVD columns at (Can I drop more names?). Anyway, here's a look back at what younger, 2002-ish me had to say about Leprechaun 4: In Space....and it's probably better than the drivel I write now!)
Leprechaun 4, as you could guess by the title, is the fourth on screen appearance of that murderous, Irish, mini-monster; The Leprechaun. If all you know about The Leprechaun is Mike Myers’ "I’m the Leprechaun" spiel from Wayne’s World 2, then you haven’t really lived yet. In short, The Leprechaun is a Leprechaun who can’t die and kills people who try to take his gold, or in this case, his Princess.

You may have also guessed from the title that this movie takes place "In Space." You may be asking yourself: "How does a Leprechaun get into space?" I don’t know, and neither does the film. It doesn’t matter. The genius behind Leprechaun 4 lies not in its attention to detail, but in its attention to murderous Leprechauns. It has one of those, and that’s all it needs.

To sum up the story of Leprechaun 4 is to do it an injustice, but I will try anyway. The Leprechaun has trapped a Princess from the planet Dominia, whom he has seduced with gold and will marry. Unfortunately for him, a crew of U.S. Space Marines burst the party, and take onboard while killing him. Unfortunately for them, the marine that kills him relives himself on the dead Leprechaun, who transfers himself through the urine into the soldier and onto the ship. As soon as said soldier gets an erection (from former Home Improvement "Tool Time Girl" Debbe Dunning), the Leprechaun is freed to reign terror over the marines and crew, who are under the reign of the diabolical Dr. Mittenhand.(For those that missed it, those words above were "urine", "erection" and "Mittenhand". Get over it.)

What follows is chaos. Lep kills. Lep rants. Dr. Mittenhand rants. Dr. Mittenhand becomes Mittenspider! The Princess reveals her breasts, signifying a death curse upon the crew. A robot cross-dresses. Like I said, chaos.

Is that not enough to make you love Leprechaun in Space? Well, then wait till you hear about the cast! Warwick Davis returns in the lead as Lep, and turns in a chilling performance that’s quite the opposite of his turns as Willow in Willow or Wicket in Return of the Jedi. He even quotes Shakespeare! Other than that we get the previously mentioned Miss Dunning, an actress who claims she was in "Catch Me If You Can", a beefcake/former soap opera star, and the guy who went on to star in the classic "Juwanna Mann!" Plus it’s directed by British director Brian Trenchard-Smith, who had previously directed (drum roll, please……………….) Leprechaun 3!

Maybe killer Leprechauns that make silly jokes aren’t your thing. Maybe you like characters who have depth, and don’t have names like Mittenhand. Maybe you don’t see the brilliance in lines like "I am not defensive, and I will shoot anyone who says I am defensive!" If so, then I feel for you. You’re missing out on one of the finer things in life.

But to me, Leprechaun 4: In Space is an amazing example of just what movies can be. I watched it unflinching, thinking in every moment – "What is it these people are thinking? Why can’t I think like this? Where on Earth (or In Space) can I acquire such genius? How does the Leprechaun get into space? And where does he get such nice clothes, especially when In Space? And why did they have a Leprechaun sized spacesuit on board their ship? What kind of name is Mittenhand anyway?"

I could spend many years of my life hunting for the answers to these questions. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to reach such a heightened state of being.


R.D. Penning said...

A Leprechaun in space = confusion at it's best haha

Jeremy [Retro] said...

there is gold in space... or just rainbows?

Enbrethiliel said...


It was fabulous camp! I watched the whole thing several years ago and would like to do so again. When I do, my own questions will be, "How do such movies get greenlighted? Should I keep wondering or should I just be grateful?"

Hey! Look Behind You! said...

I ashamed to say I haven't seen this one. Ok, maybe I'm not that ashamed but I love craptastic movies so I gotta put this on my list.

I Like Horror Movies said...

Damnit Mike, I spent so many years trying to FORGET Leprechaun 4, all those years now spoiled!! =D

The best scene in the entire film series is when the leprechaun sneaks in the window in part 2 despite his limitless teleportation abilities. Classic.

TheodorePuertoriquez said...

So is Dr. Mittenhand the real villain of the story? I don't get it? Does the Leprachaun turn good and fight Dr. Mittenhand? Is it like Riddick in "Pitch Black".

The Mike said...

Naw, Mittenhand is more in the vein of the "villain to the victims who is also a victim but tries to be a villain" syndrome. Like Mrs. Deagle in Gremlins, but an evil intergalactic scientist.