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Horror in the 90s: 'Leprechaun 2'

Jumping ahead in the horror in the 90s timeline for the sequel to Leprechaun.

By Sean PatrickPublished about a month ago 6 min read
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Leprechaun 2 (1994)

Directed by Rodman Flender

Written by Turi Meyer, Al Septien

Starring Warwick Davis, Tony Cox, Charlie Heath, Shevonne Durkin, Sandy Baron

Release Date April 8th, 1994

Box Office $2.3 Million

It's an almost universal truth, if the story behind the scenes of your movie is more interesting than your movie, the movie generally stinks. This isn't always true, Titanic has a more interesting behind the scenes journey but Titanic is still quite a good movie. But, as a general rule, my point stands. Leprechaun 2 is a solid proof of concept for my thesis. The story behind Leprechaun 2 is far more interesting than this bland, boring, and unfunny comic horror movie. The first Leprechaun movie wasn't exactly a great movie either but the sequel is quite, quite bad.

The story goes that no one behind the 1993 movie Leprechaun believed that the film would be a hit. Then, the film made 8 times its miniscule budget back in theatrical grosses and became a home video monster, hitting the VHS market and becoming cash machine. So, of course, marketers with dollar signs dancing in their heads needed a sequel and immediately approached director Mark Jones and star Jennifer Aniston for a sequel. And, they both said no. Now, Jones wasn't a hard no, he was just busy making another horror movie called Rumpelstiltskin, a horror movie we all remember and revere to this day, I'm sure.

Jennifer Aniston meanwhile is reported to have laughed so hard at the idea of leaving Friends for a sequel to Leprechaun that her guffaw could be heard across the galaxy. Friends wasn't yet the global phenomenon that it would become, but it was more than enough of a good reason for Aniston to blow off the makers of Leprechaun 2 in no uncertain terms. And so it was, without the man who wrote and directed the hit original and no Jennifer Aniston, the makers of Leprechaun 2 had only their Leprechaun, Warwick Davis, and nothing else in place.

And thus began a screenwriting race that turned around a terrible script in weeks. In it, a love triangle of teenagers would battle the Leprechaun as he tried to use a sneezing based curse to marry a comely blonde teenager. The two male protagonists would have to put aside their antipathy toward each other to save the girl they both loved. In all, five teenagers would have prominent speaking roles, the members of our love triangle, Cody (Charlie Heath), Bridget (Shavonne Durkin) and Ian (Adam Biesk) and their friends, Mandy and Lyle would face down the deadly Leprechaun.

And, if you've seen Leprechaun 2, you're very confused right now. Indeed, none of this is actually in the final cut of Leprechaun 2. Even after filming scenes with these characters, director Rodman Flenders and his collaborators began shedding budget and cast members while re-writing the script on the fly in order to meet a deadline that might have the film in theaters in time for St. Patrick's Day 1994, just over a year after the original Leprechaun movie hit theaters. It's an utterly insane way to make a movie. It becomes especially insane when the final product turns out this bland and forgettable.

Generally speaking, if you are going to maniacally cut up your script during filming and fire actors, and wholly change the story you are telling, you are doing it to improve the film. If this is an improvement, I can't imagine how awful the original plans for Leprechaun 2 must have been. The final product has only one appealing quality, the pared down screenplay left only about 81 minutes of movie, not counting a credits sequence that exists to make the movie approach an actual feature length. The opening credits of Leprechaun 2 are exceptionally dull and drag on for an eternity.

Once we have survived the interminable credits, the story begins with our titular Leprechaun on his 2000th birthday. A pre-credits prologue that undermines the evil genius of our Leprechaun antagonist, has explained that, on the Leprechaun's 1000th birthday he gains the power to take a bride by any means necessary. He lays out his curse to a slave he's holding hostage. The plan involves the comely young lass sneezing three times and no one saying 'God Bless You' after the third sneeze. Naturally, once the girl reaches her third sneeze, her father, the man the Leprechaun has taken hostage, sacrifices himself to say God Bless You and rescue his daughter.

Having to wait another thousand years to take his next bride, the Leprechaun sets his sights on the direct ancestor of the woman who he first attempted to steal. Her name is Bridget and she's a bright eyed dimwit engaged in a dimwitted teenage romance with a dimwit named Cody. Cody works as a street hustler but not the fun kind. He hustles tourists to take a Hollywood death tour of places where famous celebrities died in and around Hollywood. Cody sets up the marks and his best friend, Morty (Sandy Bacon), takes them for a ride while inventing legends about dead celebrities.

On this night however, Morty is far too drunk to drive the tour and thus Cody has to cancel his date with Bridget to lead the tour. Bridget, for her part, tries to be a good sport but she can't stand listening to Cody lie to tourists and abandons him to meet their friends at a go-kart track. Here, she meets up with Ian, a creep with designs on Bridget. As mentioned, Ian was supposed to be a character in this movie but the reconstructed story has him first attempt to assault Bridget and then succumb to the predations of the evil Leprechaun in the best death scene in the movie.

There is only one sort-of good scene in the entirety of Leprechaun 2. The Leprechaun has, off-screen, found out where Bridget lives. He's lying in wait for Bridget to come home and becomes enraged at seeing Ian make a move on her. So, the Leprechaun casts a spell, he has the image of Bridget emerge from her garage and tell Ian that she was wrong to reject him. She then removes her top to reveal her breasts and invites Ian for a motor-boating session. Ian eagerly obliges but those aren't breasts, those are the whirring blades of a lawnmower and Ian soon no longer has a face.

My description is more graphic than the movie is. We don't see Ian lose his face, only a silouhette and the sound. Nevertheless, it's the only good scene in this shockingly dull horror movie. Where the original Leprechaun was bad, it was bad in a relatively interesting and entertaining way. Warwick Davis had fun, Jennifer Aniston was an actual professional actor with genuine appeal, and the bad jokes were groaners but you could laugh at them for being so unfunny. Leprechaun 2 has only modest appeal as a movie to make fun of, MST3K style, but even that appeal is limited. Leprechaun 2 is inept but not inept in a very interesting way that's fun to make fun of.

Leprechaun 2 is the subject of the latest I Hate Critics 1994 Podcast, a spinoff of the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast. Each week, myself, and my co-hosts, Gen-Z'er M.J and Gen-X'er Amy, watch movies released 30 years ago that same weekend. It's a fun way to look back at how movies and popular culture have changed in the last three decades and examine why some movies stand the test of time and others are rightfully forgotten. Hear the I Hate Critics 1994 Podcast on the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast feed wherever you listen to podcasts.

This is also the newest entry in my ongoing book project, Horror in the 90s. I am working my way through the horror movies of the 1990s with the goal of writing about all of the wide release horror movies of the 90s, and a few notable non-theatrical titles, with the goal of examining the horror genre and how the genre shifted, changed and became the genre it is today. It's a lengthy journey and one I am excited to be on with the goal of having the book ready to self-publish by the end of 2025. If you'd like to support the project, you can do so by making a monthly pledge or by leaving a one-time tip here on Vocal. Thanks!

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About the Creator

Sean Patrick

Hello, my name is Sean Patrick He/Him, and I am a film critic and podcast host for the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast I am a voting member of the Critics Choice Association, the group behind the annual Critics Choice Awards.

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