Thursday, March 19, 2015

Leprechaun Retrospective: Leprechaun 4 - In Space (1997)

Leprechaun 4: In Space
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Starring: Warwick Davis, Jessica Collins, Brent Jasmer, Rebecca Carlton, Miguel A Nunez Jr, Debbe Dunning
Rated: R

The King is dead.  Long live the Queen.
    ~Princess Zarina

Leprechaun 3 was both a success and a fun time for those involved.  Aside from the cast, the gang got back together and did a fourth film.  At a company part for Leprechaun 3 someone made a spoof poster of Apollo 13 and had it for "Leprechaun in Space".  What started as some good belly laughs, turned into "Hey, that's not a bad idea".  And to think how 3 worked out and that the blueprint of "Plug the Leprechaun here" was the key to success, space was only inevitable.  So, they went there right away with the fourth film.  The film was definitely met with less praise and success than the previous film.  I argue though, that its still far more entertaining than the first two.  It also contains an added dimension of unintentional laughs that weren't in Leprechaun 3 either.
First off, the CGI effects in this film are abysmal.  Not only was it early in the experimental period for them, but the film didn't have the money to full render and complete them.  As Brian Trenchard-Smith (Who returns as director) says, it looked "Worse than Playstation".  And oh yeah, these are bad.  Generic, low budget, previsual effects storyboards look better than this.  But here's the thing, every time you see them, you're going to get a good laugh at how bad and stone age they look.  To me, that's a good thing.  That's unintentional humor at its finest.  I'm glad Leprechaun 4 fails with its CGI effects, because its an added element of entertainment.  However, where the CGI fails, the practical effects are actually incredibly impressive for the budget.  It includes a really weird android and a giant mutant spider thing.  Pretty awesome.
Who do we know that spar with the Leprechaun in this fourth outing?  Miguel Nunez Jr.  Juwanna man to many, but forever "Demon" to me.  Yes, the "Oooh baby" shitbox serenade frontman is here to do battle (and survive) the Leprechaun space attack.  This completes a nice horror trilogy for Miguel as he has Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning and Return Of The Living Dead to his resume.  And if you recognize the gorgeous brunette in the film, you're just as guilty as me of having seen more than an episode of Home Improvement.  Yes, its Heidi the "Tool Time" girl.  She's the one who replaced Pamela Anderson after she went onto bigger "stardom".  No, no nudity from her, only a tease.
This fourth film only takes the embracing of the silliness here to another level.  You get to witness comedic takes on things like Star Wars and Alien.  Yes, the Leprechaun wields a lightsaber of sorts.  He bursts through a penis instead of chest.  I hope people who pick up the film don't think that anyone involved in the last two films are taking anything seriously or are expecting the audience too.  If you don't understand what they're at least going for, and chalk it up to "this is terrible because its incompetent and not scary" then you probably are in need of taking a class on how to watch movies.  No, I'm not saying if you don't like Leprechaun 4 you don't know how to watch movies, I'm just saying if your disdain comes from "Its not scary at all" then everything went over your head.  I can understand if you don't jive with the humor though.
I just wanted to point out something for a quick moment before we wrap this up.  If you're an avid listener of A Touch Of Crass (which you should be), there was a discussion on women's underpants in the 90s.  It was referred to as making their "ass look long".  You'll remember what I'm talking about if you think about it for a second (Think "Buns Of Steel" video covers).  Well, there is a nice display of it going on in Leprechaun 4 (pictured above) and I got an extra chuckle out of it from thinking of that recent episode.  Why in the world was this an arousing thing?
There's not a whole lot more I have to say on Leprechaun 4: In Space here.  Its more of a "business as usual" sequel following the mold of 3.  There are times where this is a funnier movie than the 3rd one, but during the end of its 2nd act the movie just does a bit too much and starts to drag in some places.  It does pick up for the finale.  At best, I'd say its even with the 3rd one, keeping the momentum running in place.  Usually when someone goes to space, that means we're at the end for a character, but alas, 3 years later, our little green ghoul would return!

NEXT TIME - The Leprechaun finds his pot of bling bling

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