Today’s feature is yet another entry into the infamously goofy Leprechaun franchise: Leprechaun 4: In Space.
The screenplay for Leprechaun 4 was written by Dennis A. Pratt, who most notably also penned the screenplay for Kickboxer 3.
The director on Leprechaun 4 was Brian Trenchard-Smith, whose other movies include The Omega Code 2, Night of the Demons 2, BMX Bandits, and the previous entry into the franchise, Leprechaun 3.
The cinematographer on the film was David Lewis, who also shot UHF, The Hills Have Eyes Part II, Night of the Demons, Leprechaun 3, Chairman of the Board, and numerous episodes of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.
The editor for Leprechaun 4 was Daniel Duncan, whose horror movies include Witchboard, Leprechaun 3, Night of the Demons, Poseidon Rex, and the remake of I Spit On Your Grave.
The team of producers for the film included Mark Amin (Evolver, Leprechaun, The Dentist, Leprechaun 3, Leprechaun 2, Chairman of the Board, The Dentist 2), David Robert Cobb (Rover Dangerfield), Jeff Geoffray (Night of the Demons, Wishmaster 3, Leprechaun 3), Andrew Hersh (Return of the Living Dead III, Philadelphia Experiment II), Walter Josten (Wishmaster 4, Leprechaun 3), and Jonathon Komack Martin (R.I.P.D.).
The makeup effects for Leprechaun 4 were done by a team made up of Damon Charles (Striptease, Hellraiser: Bloodline), Clayton Martinez (Wild Wild West, Leprechaun 3), Darren Perks (Die Hard Dracula, Theodore Rex, Children of the Corn III, Spawn, Kull The Conqueror), and Marlene Stoller (Wishmaster, Leprechaun 3).
The special effects unit for the film included the likes of Roger Winiger (Invasion U.S.A.), Hal Miles (Leviathan, 976-EVIL, Howard The Duck, The Garbage Pail Kids Movie), Al Magliochetti (Waterworld, RoboCop 3, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector), Dana Klaren (The Island of Doctor Moreau), Marilyn Dozer-Chaney (Congo), Charles Cooley (Iron Man, DinoCroc), Frank Ceglia (Critters, The Lawnmower Man, Leprechaun 3, Surf Ninjas), and Gabe Bartalos (Dolls, From Beyond, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Leprechaun, Leprechaun In The Hood, Frankenhooker).
The visual effects on the movie were done by Giac Belli (Candyman 3), Nadja Bonacina (Bee Movie, Frozen), Brian Jennings (The Faculty, Lawnmower Man 2, Super Mario Bros., Mortal Kombat), Paul Kulikowski (The Core, Con Air), Daniel Miller (Sucker Punch, Mortal Kombat), George Oliver (Eragon, Spawn), and Craig Seitz (Mortal Kombat, Lawnmower Man 2).
The musical score for Leprechaun 4 was provided by Dennis Michael Tenney, who also did the music for Night of the Demons, Pinocchio’s Revenge, Witchboard, Night of the Demons III, and Leprechaun 3, among many others.
The plot of Leprechaun 4: In Space unsurprisingly follows the eponymous Leprechaun on a journey into space. It is summarized on IMDb as follows:
Our deadly leprechaun is in space to woo a beautiful princess who is impressed with his gold and desires to separate him from it.
Leprechaun 4, in spite of having much of the same crew of Leprechaun 3, is a bit of an outlier in the franchise on the whole. The Leprechaun essentially takes on the role of a generic alien menace, and behaves somewhat differently than he does in other entries in the franchise. For instance, his dialogue includes no forced rhyming, which is considered a staple of the character. The setting is also much more focused on science fiction, which is a big change from the standard slasher setup of the other movies.
Leprechaun 4: In Space went straight to video on a budget of just over $1.5 million. In spite of this limited distribution, it has gained quite the reputation as one of the worst horror sequels of all time, and its concept is often mocked. Currently, the movie holds a 3.3 user rating on IMDb, along with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 0% from critics and 21% from audiences.
The Leprechaun franchise isn’t one particularly known for quality, to say the least. It has never been a serious horror series, and was always quick to jump the shark into outlandish situations. While Leprechaun 3 is certainly the gateway into that realm with the introduction of a were-leprechaun and the exotic setting location of Las Vegas, Leprechaun 4 is where the series famously went off the rails, never to return. Personally, I would rather deal with a horror series taking a risk with the setting than deal with one that just repeats the exact same movie from sequel to sequel. While this is a gimmicky way to keep a franchise from getting stale, and almost always results in something campy, at least the results are rarely boring.
Leprechaun 4 is, at its heart, essentially a television sci-fi movie with the Leprechaun thrown in, as opposed to a Leprechaun movie with sci-fi elements added, which I found kind of interesting. It doesn’t look or feel like the previous Leprechaun movies, and if it weren’t for Warwick Davis’s banter, I would have tagged this as something like Dracula 3000 or a Starship Troopers sequel as opposed to a Leprechaun sequel.
Unfortunately, that is just about the only positive thing to say about Leprechaun 4. This might be the most cartoon-y entry into the entire franchise, which is saying quite a lot, given Leprechaun 5 has a Leprechaun rap number. The characters are a little too shallow and unrealistic, which might have been done in a jab at the tropes of the genre, but is annoying to watch regardless of the intention. There are also some really terrible effects, like when the Leprechaun is hit with a magic growing ray that causes him to inflate to a monstrous size. The writing is also as lazy and crass as ever, with jokes that include mocking a soldier for cross-dressing and the Leprechaun somehow enchanting a condom to kill a man. There is even the groan-inducing inclusion of nudity, with the half-assed plot excuse being that in this future society, women showing their breasts condemns the viewers to death. It isn’t exactly feminist cinema, I guess you could say.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Leprechaun 4. I think Leprechaun 3 is the most fun entry in the franchise, and Leprechaun 5 is far more of an outlandish and bafflingly terrible viewing experience. Leprechaun 4 is kind of just the bridge between them, and is mostly memorable for the concept alone. It is still far better than the absolute garbage pile that is Leprechaun 2, but I’ll leave that open for another day.
If you like crass sex comedy in your bad movie watching, then I think you are far more likely to enjoy Leprechaun 4, which has plenty of it to go around. Even if you don’t, I think Leprechaun 4 is worth checking out once for bad movie fans, just because it is sort of a staple of the pseudo-genre.