Leprechaun 3 (1995)

Paul Andolina, whose writes the site Wrestling with Film, may love Russian and Mexican films, but today he’s here to talk about a movie that features an Irish legend. Good to see you back on the site, Paul!

The great thing about the Leprechaun film franchise is each entry offers something a bit different than the last. Even the Leprechaun in the Hood films are different from each other. Of the 6 films Warwick is part of it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite for me, however, after a lot of stressing about it, I have decided to cover Leprechaun 3 next.

Leprechaun 3 is set in Las Vegas and follows Scott, a young man on his way to college and his misadventures in sin city. He encounters a young lady, Tammy, stranded on the road and takes her to her job as a magician’s assistant at the Lucky Shamrock Casino. He begs her to let him in the casino and she agrees as long as he doesn’t gamble. He doesn’t listen though. Before we are introduced to Scott, we meet Lucky, an amputee who has dragged a bag into a local pawnshop. He pawns the statue of a leprechaun with a medallion hanging from it for $20 to the owner, Gupta, while warning him to never touch the medallion.

Gupta removes the medallion, the leprechaun comes to life, and proceeds to make poor Gupta’s life a living hell for what little of it remains. Scott loses all his money and heads to the pawn to sell the watch his grandfather gave him. He finds Gupta dead and after calling the police, finds one of the leprechaun’s coins and wishes he was back at the casino on a winning streak. He is magically transported back and the leprechaun follows him because he needs his last shilling.

The thing that makes this film so unique is that Scott is bitten by the leprechaun and begins to transform into a leprechaun, it’s one of my favorite aspects of the movie. I’ve been known to lovingly refer to it as Leprechaun 3: The Leprechauning on multiple occasions. This entry really plays up the humor that is here and there throughout the films. It takes the humor to an entirely different level than most of them, in that it is extremely well done. It’s not just goofy for the sake of being goofy. In fact, the director Brian Trenchard-Smith understands the silliness of a killer leprechaun and uses it to make a highly enjoyable story.

There is some exposition with a CD-Rom of folklore giving us all we need to know about the lore of the leprechaun in this particular film. The lore concerning the leprechaun, his gold, and his weaknesses changes wildly throughout the franchise so this really is a neat way to set up the rules of this particular movie’s universe when it comes to the evil green guy. The movie has amazing practical effects, probably more so than the rest of the franchise. When Scott transforms into a leprechaun it looks horrendous. Green bodily fluids are splattered around as well as copious amounts of the red stuff. There’s a body horror moment where a casino worker explodes after her wish to be beautiful again goes awry with the help of the wee person. 

This film is one I often think about often when the Leprechaun movies are brought up. It has a great setting, excellent humor, and the characters are fun to watch go about trying to fulfill their most wanted desires. It’s full of rhyming, comedic timing gold and if I had to show someone only one film that best captures the spirit of the franchise it would be this one. My favorite part is probably when Scott realizes how much he enjoys potatoes in all forms of preparation when he begins transforming into a devilish leprechaun. Give this one a watch if you’re a fan of the more silly than scary Nightmare on Elm Street movies or just want to see Warwick Davis do his best Elvis impersonation.

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