Daniel O'Grady (Shay Duffin) returns to his farmhouse cottage one night with good news for his wife, who naturally wonders why he has been driven home in a limousine. The reason is that O'Grady has found money, a bag full of gold coins from Ireland, and it belonged to a leprechaun (Warwick Davis) who has somehow made the journey across the Atlantic in an attempt to retrieve his gold. His first victim in America is O'Grady's wife, who takes a tumble down the stairs of the basement, breaking her neck, but O'Grady refuses to give into the little man's demands and nails him into a wooden box with a four-leafed clover on top to keep him in. It takes ten years, but the Leprechaun will have his revenge...
OK, what do we know about Leprechaun? Well, it's (a brunette) Jennifer Aniston's first film, as she plays Tory, the daughter of the fellow who has bought the old farmhouse ten years after O'Grady has a stress-induced stroke, and she takes an immediate dislike to it. We also know that due to the film's unexpected success in the U.S.A., it became a running joke in some quarters, with Wayne's World, for example, having Garth scared at the very mention of it. And we know that after this were a run of sequels, most of them straight to video but giving Davis and his dodgy Oirish accent a regular paycheck nonetheless.
Scripted by director Mark Jones, the movie adopts a formula for horror that was already pretty tired by the early nineteen-nineties, yet another variation on the slasher movie that was soon to have a new lease of life. Our killer here is the Leprechaun, but lacks the imagination for any real standout set pieces - the most notable thing he does is pogo stick someone to death. Our would-be victims (very few people actually get killed) are Tory and her father and the trio of house painters who show up to redecorate the dusty, cobwebby cottage, including leader Nathan (Ken Olandt, whose hair rivals Aniston's), slow one Ozzie (Mark Holton) and unnecessary child who sounds as if he has a permanent cold, Alex (Robert Hy Gorman).
Ozzie has a close encounter with the Leprechaun in the basement (the clover has been knocked off the crate), but of course nobody believes him. Soon, the little guy has taken a bite out of the father's hand while pretending to be a cat, and Ozzie has found the bag of gold at the end of a rainbow, even swallowing a coin accidentally for a plot point later on. The group then head into town, with the Leprechaun in hot pursuit first on a tricycle, then in a customised child's car, which in an absurd moment (one of many) gets stopped by the police. This pretty much sums up the film: it has its nasty bits, but mostly it's plainly idiotic, notable for such wackiness as having its villian suffer an obsessive-complusive desire to polish shoes. And because Davis can't run very fast, he enjoys a selection of transport to speed him up - roller skates, a wheelchair, you get the idea. But really, fitfully amusing as it is this was typical of the laughable state of American horror cinema of the time before Scream came along to revitalise it. Music by Kevin Kiner.