Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Professor Flitwick Fights Some Discount Space Marines, or I Watched Leprechaun 4: In Space, So You Don’t Have To

Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997, italics mine) is a glorious example of that horror franchise tipping point where every scenario for a sequel has been exhausted and the producers inexplicably decide on a sci-fi reboot.  I can’t think of a successful example in any sense of the word (box office or entertainment value) but that doesn't stop me from watching them because of a certain morbid curiosity (how bad can it be) and an overdeveloped appreciation of bad cinema.
Warwick Davis, who made his film debut as Wicket in Return of the Jedi (1983) and went on to star in Willow (1988), and portray Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter Series, Marvin the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) and Wollivan in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) returns as the titular Leprechaun who can’t be killed, and chronicles his continuing obsessions with gold, homicide, bad puns and rhyming riddles.  A direct to video Hail Mary from director Brian Trenchard-Smith of Leprechaun 3 (1995, in Las Vegas), Leprechaun 4: In Space follows some community theater space marines raiding a mining planet in essentially a retelling of James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) but now with leprechauns.  There’s even a variation of the chestburster scene except now the Leprechaun emerges from an unlucky marine’s pants, because neither you nor the filmmakers are supposed to take this movie too seriously.  There’s also no explanation as to how the arrived at this mining planet except there’s a lot of gold there and you know how much Leprechauns love their gold. 
Warwick Davis would return to the role two more times in Leprechaun in the Hood (2003) and Leprechaun Back to tha Hood (2003 again, italics mine) before the series rebooted in Leprechaun: Origins (2014) with another actor.  Also look out for Guy Siner, Lt. Gruber from the classic British comedy ‘Allo ‘Allo (1982) as Dr. Mittenhand and Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Spider from The Return of The Living Dead https://goo.gl/vajIHN (1985) as Sticks, one of those discount space marines.
There’s an Arthur C. Clarke quote about any sufficiently advanced technology seeming magical, but the theme of magic in space, taking a traditionally supernatural creature and putting them in a spaceship is a tricky proposition for the viewer, and Leprechaun 4: In Space currently holds an impressive 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.  When the concept works, you get Alien (1979) or Event Horizon (1997), but when it fails you get Jason X (2001).
I actually have this movie on DVD, in my personal collection along with Jason X (2001) and Hellraiser 4: Bloodline (1996), because I have a sentimental affection for this genre.  I blame classic Star Trek, which drifted into horror lanes with episodes like The Man Trap (1966, salt vampire!) and The Devil in the Dark (1967 lava blob!) and those monster of the weeks from The X-Files



my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).