Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996)
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Starring: Warwick Davis, Brent Jasmer, Jessica Collins, Guy Siner, Gary Grossman, Rebecca Carlton, Tim Colceri, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Debbe Dunning, Mike Cannizzo, Rick Peters, Geoff Meed, Ladd York
1/2 (out of 4)
My magical light sword! Not that other thing, which would get us sued.
With certain horror sequels going into space for their fourth installment (Critters 4, Hellraiser IV, and this piece of cinematic cheese – Leprechaun 4), you would think there is an unwritten rule in Hollywood about it (Jason X held out until #10, Halloween 6 never went there, making fun of the idea, but I wonder sometimes if maybe they should have). But, I don’t know, it seems that director Brian Trenchard-Smith, coming out of the previous year’s Leprechaun 3, simply ran out of ideas and looked around to see what other low-budget directors were doing. The problem with Leprechaun 4: In Space is that all interesting possibilities of a Leprechaun being in space are never really realized. Whatever you might be thinking of regarding Warwick Davis’ faerie shoemaker doing his thing in outer space, chances are it’s more creative than Leprechaun 4, which is happy to just be a comedic spoof of other sci-fi/horror films.
A horror fan can tick off all the movies Leprechaun 4 makes a spoof out of – Little Shop Of Horrors, the original version of The Fly (and the remake), Dr. Strangelove, Star Wars, and naturally – Alien. In fact, this film is basically the plot of Alien with the Leprechaun substituted for the xenomorph – there’s even a guy on the ship who’s a “robot” in disguise. Even stranger, the word “Leprechaun” is never mentioned – Davis’ little monster is referred to as just that, or most of the time, an “alien.” And trust me, I’m not spoiling anything by saying he’s finally bested by being blown out of the ship’s airlock. The guy who wrote this had no intention of messing up a working formula.
Trust me, this is superior to the Paleo diet.
Leppy isn’t even allowed to rhyme this time around, and despite the fact that his rhyming skills in the first three films leave a lot to be desired, I find myself missing the limericks. In addition, gold doesn’t seem to be much of his concern either – he’s more interested in marrying Princess Zarina (the lovely Rebecca Carlton) so he can be king of some alien world (and get respect!). Getting in his way are a group of interstellar marines (one guy has a head half made of metal) including Brent Jasmer (who looks like a Stallone), cute blonde biologist Jessica Collins, and Miguel A. Núñez Jr. (Friday the 13th Part V, Return of the Living Dead), the black marine who – to my pleasant surprise – survives. Running the ship is a Frankenstein/Strangelove combo who calls himself Dr. Mittenhand (Guy Siner, hamming it up like nobody’s business). One of Herr Doctor’s experiments got out of hand, so now he is part human, part wheelchair, and reminds me a bit of Chris Pike from The Menagerie.
I didn’t get any of this movie on my shoe, did I?
You can still have some fun with this. There’s a Leprechaun resurrection scene that is lifted from the chestburster scene but instead he bursts out of … a guy’s penis (I’m not even going to try to explain it). The vain and greedy princess, hooking up with Leppy when it suits her, reveals her breasts to the heroes saying “This is your fate! Look upon them and know that you are forever doomed!” While you are saying “What the fuck?!”, Jessica Collins’ character explains: “On the planet Dominia, when a woman of royal blood shows you her breasts, it’s a death sentence.” Oh… what happens when a woman from Dominia likes you? The special effects of Leprechaun 4 are anything but special (the space scenes are one step below Babylon 5‘s cartoonish effects), except for the scene where Dr. Mittenhand is injected with alien DNA mixed with a spider and a scorpion, turning him into a freakish arachnid mutation that is part Cronenberg, part Corman (I was impressed with it). More absurdity is thrown in when the Leprechaun turns a marine into a singing cross-dresser wielding nun-chucks. What does any of this have to do with gold, wish-granting, Far darrigs or Tuatha Dé Danann? Nothing. Why does everybody insist on treating Leppy as just another space bug to kill, despite his repeated resurrections and magical powers? Beats me. Leprechaun 4: In Space is most likely the “worst” entry in this low-budget series of films, but it is so filled with absurdities that I feel like I must recommend it. I mean, it does have a dismembered Leprechaun hand floating in space, flipping the bird, so, you know, isn’t that worth a viewing for this upcoming Saint Patty’s Day?
– Bill Gordon
Buy Leprechaun 4: In Space on DVD