Leprechaun 4: In Space

One small step for man. One giant leap of terror!

Year of Release: 1996
Genre: Horror/Comedy
Rated: R
Running Time: 95 minutes (1:35)
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith


Warwick Davis ... Leprechaun
Brent Jasmer ... Books
Jessica Collins ... Tina
Tim Colceri ... Metal Head
Miguel A. Nunez Jr. ... Sticks
Guy Siner ... Dr. Mittenhand
Gary Grossman ... Harold
Rebecca Carlton ... Princess Zarina
Debbe Dunning ... Delores
Mike Cannizzo ... Danny
Rick Peters ... Mooch
Geoff Meed ... Kowalski
Ladd York ... Lucky


On a planet in a distant galaxy, a power hungry Leprechaun holds a beautiful alien princess hostage in order to marry her for her royal title. With her title and his beloved gold, he'll be able to rule the universe. While making his maniacal plans, what he doesn't count on is an invading platoon of marines from Earth, to save the princess and foil his plans. An accomplished trickster, the Leprechaun stows himself away on the orbiting spaceship and wreaks havoc on the crew in an attempt to recapture his bride.


Leprechaun 4, remindin' us that you can take your balls and go home, but that don't mean the game's over.

And speakin' of wasted baby formula, I apologize if I sound a little haggard this week but I haven't gotten much sleep since Sadie Bonebreak invited 'erself over Tuesday night and commandeered my hide-a-bed after some domestic trouble with 'er bustier half necessitated a brief cooling-off period.

I could prolly learn to live with 'er turnin' on every light in the house at 4:30 in the AM while she's gettin' ready to join 'er loggin' outfit, and I'm startin' to get used to the shower drain lookin' like the dead girl from The Ring's about to climb out of it, but I really wish she'd return my underpants in the same condition in which they were borrowed. Normally these spats only last until Mrs. Sadie sees a spider or somethin' like that but she seems pretty P.O.'d this time, and as yet, I've been unsuccessful in openin' up a dialogue between the warring factions.

Now, I admit that 5"x7" picture of Sadie's face buried in Chastity Dollarhide's cleavage in the Record section of the March 15th edition of the Chickawalka Talka looks bad, but that whole thing was just a big misunderstandin' that got taken outta context and exploited for the purposes of sellin' newspapers and tryna lure a new generation of kids into the journalism industry. Just forget all that bullstuff they printed in the paper and I'll give ya the real story, and I'll do it without all the handwringing about lesbyterianism threatenin' to destroy the traditional way of life and stimulation in small-town America.

It's like this - Sadie, Billy Hilliard, and I were over at Walleye's Topless Dancin' and Bait Shop Monday night for openin' day of Saint Patrick's week. And yeah, some people think that stretchin' the holiday out over the course of a week cheapens the spirit of Saint Paddy's Day, and that's fine, but around here we don't let cynical attitudes like that stand in the way of honorin' our Irish cousins and their long-standing custom of gettin' crocked outta our brains on green beer till the parkin' lot looks like the site of a Vulcan massacre.

Anyway, like I was sayin', Wade Sawyer spared no expense in his merciless appropriation of the Dollar Store's holiday aisle; he had shamrock streamers strung all the way from the topless dancin' runway clear over to the worm fridge, Paddy Reilly's Greatest Hits playin' on the jukebox, Darby O'Gill and the Little People on the TV, and sexy leprechaun outfits on the talent. The place'd never looked more festive, or at least, that's what I thought.

"Guess we just missed Linda Blair," Sadie snarked as we plunged into the sea of green.

"You shoulda seen it before Chastity vetoed the chartreuse carpet on the runway," Tetnis chuckled, scannin' the room for any Irish eyes that might be smilin' a little too brightly.

"Hey, how come you're not dressed for the occasion?" I prodded.

"I am," Tetnis glared, hoistin' an aluminum shillelagh into view and bringin' it to within three inches of my face.

"Atta boy," I managed, tryna catch up with Sadie and Billy without takin' my eyes off the club.

The entertainment was top-notch, and if you've never see a topless Riverdance routine performed in authentic Irish clogs I'd highly recommend remedyin' that at your nearest convenience, but for some reason Sadie just wasn't gettin' into the holiday spirit.

"Whah'v ea'hin' you, woman?" Billy asked after Sadie remained unmoved by Tawny Sissel clappin' 'er blarney stones together in perfect unison to the beat of The Clancy Brothers' "Jug of Punch."

"It's what *ain't* eatin' me," Sadie snapped, flickin' the tiny sword from 'er drink at Billy like a paper football.

"No service at the clam bar, huh? Whaddya do now?" I mumbled without takin' my eyes offa Tawny's clackers.

I'm not sure if she answered me or not, as I was a little distracted at the time, but whatever'd caused the original stink was about to be forgotten and replaced by an open sewer line's worth, 'cause about that time the audience was gettin' a little too green around the O'Gills, and I noticed Tetnis repositioning himself into a corner behind Rusty Dockweiler (who's generally pretty skeevy even before he gets seven or eight beers in 'im) in advance of Chastity's entrance. This, to the best of my moderately inebriated recollection, is where the troubles began.

"Aye, Lassie, wanna see me caber?" Rusty slurred up at Chastity.

"That's Scottish, ya retard!" Don Wampler hollered from the opposite side of the runway.

Chastity ignored both remarks and continued violating various laws of thermodynamics with 'er pole routine, but the asshattery didn't stop there.

"'Ey, baby, howz 'bout you bring them spuds down 'ere and put an end to my potato famine?" Rusty called again, this time reaching toward 'er ankle and only just missing.

I think Billy was about to go compress Rusty's head into his pitcher but I got 'im stopped by gesturin' over to the corner where Tetnis was takin' a coupla warm-up swings with his prop en route to Rusty's seat.

"Whassamatter? Ya stuck uh..."

Tetnis spun Rusty around like a drunken dreidel and caved his face in with the shillelagh, sendin' a shower of teeth into the crowd and, unfortunately, onto the runway just as Chastity's clog attempted to find purchase in preparation for a round-off. An ill-situated incisor, in conjunction with her majestically improbable upper body proportions, caused an inertial shift that sent 'er slidin' directly towards us, and all that mammarian momentum carried 'er directly onto Sadie who reacted instinctively to catch 'er, but was unable to halt the irresistible force. As if that wasn't bad enough, Harvey Yoder, who was there "researching an article" for the week-long event had his camera along and snapped the offending image of Sadie trapped in the valley of the shadow of breasts that made it into the paper the next day.

So ya see - that coulda happened to anyone. I mean, almost anyone, some of us just aren't that lucky, but the point is NOTHING HAPPENED. So Mrs. Sadie, if you're readin' this, I think it's high time you forgave your ole lady and asked 'er to come home, alright? Seriously - one more night sleepin' in the barcalounger and I'm gonna end up the final exam for the community college's chiropractitioner's course.

Ya know what really upsets me in all this, though, is that Wade refused to show any of the Leprechaun movies all week long - claims the little creep's ugly and bad for business. I said the same thing 15 years ago when he brought Trixie Willager on as a dancer but apparently, that was different. If it wasn't for me puttin' these flicks on the set at the Videodome some people might not get to see 'em at all anymore, and I'll tell ya somethin' else - this country is in one sorry state when its citizenry hasta depend on me for *anything*. Unfortunately, part four is where the series really starts goin' to the dogs, and if there's anything worse than a turd in the punch bowl, it's a turd in zero gravity. 'Course, if you're the optimistic type, you might assume that with a plot this buggered the educational possibilities're of the once-in-a-lifetime variety, so before we get into its tragically delicious absurdity, let's all take minute to expand our consciousness instead of our waistlines for a change. First, if a woman's hand regenerates itself complete with nail polish, it can be conclusively proven that Maybelline played no part and that she was, in fact, born with it. Second, never give handicapped people an inch or they'll take a parsec. And third, if your military transport vessel contains a disco lounge, there's no need to ask or tell.

The movie begins on the Battlestar Impractica where Sergeant Choptop Ermey's briefin' his platoon of universal soldiers (Books, Sticks, Delores, Danny, Mooch, Kowalski, and Lucky) on the details of their search and destroy mission, only before he can finish this lady scientist (Tina) shows up with reassignment orders and tips the hormonal balance of the unit so dramatically that the Sarge hasta Skype with the bald-headed Max Headroom runnin' the ship before anybody starts gettin' in touch with their feelins and turns homo. Lex Headroom (Dr. Mittenhand) tells the Sarge to stop projecting and to get his chrome-plated jarhead in the game. Meanwhile, on the planet below, the leprechaun's kidnapped a princess (Zarina) in hopes of schmoozin' 'er into marryin' 'im so he can finally get some respect and high-quality nookie, only their meal gets interrupted when the marines storm his subterranean leprecondo and he hasta bust out his limelightsaber and go all Grody Wan Kenobi on Lucky for tryna plunder the dowry. The rest of the unit hears the scream and assaults the dinin' area, at which time Kowalski lobs a grenade that threatens to blow a scheme-endin' foxhole in Yucky Charms' P.O.W. and he hasta cover it up like a fumbled snap and get blown into collard greens to protect the booty.

The princess's paw rolls in the explosion but Dr. Tina's confident that they have the technology to rebuild 'er and so, with the target neutralized, Kowalski gets cocky and lays a golden shower down on the remains until a bolt of green energy zaps his mercenary meatballs like he just whizzed on an electric fence and the crew return to the ship. Then everybody retires to the Oohrah Room Disco Lounge to celebrate till Kowalski and the 2nd tool girl from Home Improvement (Delores) step out for a little privacy so they can reenact the battle of the bulge, 'cept when she starts riflin' his personal effects the leprechaun explodes outta the guy's soldier of fortune and puts Tool Time on permanent hiatus. Nobody twat-blocks Delores, so she rallies the troops and the Sarge sends Books and Mooch into the flesh eatin' bacteria storage room lookin' for the Foaming Gnome, as one does, and sure enough he's in here waitin' with his shivlelagh and uses it to slice Mooch's hazmat suit open, allowin' the bacteria to reduce 'im to man mulch. The Sarge is P.O.'d, and he tells Mittenhand that he can take this job and shove it, only when the marines start makin' for the exit Mittenhand emerges from his ready room and it turns out he ain't GOT nowhere to shove it 'cause he's basically just a one-armed bipolar Nazi torso rollin' around in Captain Pike's Star Trek Hoveround, and he threatens to have the lot of 'em sent to the Klingon front if they don't shape up.

So now everybody hasta creep around the windy, steam-filled corridors of the ship's boiler room havin' close encounters of the absurd kind till Danny turns chicken and gets smooshed by a 10-ton shipping container and Delores gets splattered off a catwalk before she gets a chance to do 'er little turn. While all that's goin' on Zarina grows a replacement hand in the lab and Mittenhand and his skeevy runt of an assistant (Harold) try harnessin' the regenerative properties in 'er DNA to clone a new hinder for the doctor in the hope that he may again know the comfort of a La-Z-Boy recliner. That's a non-starter though, 'cause pretty quick His Weeness shapeshifts into a nekkid Dr. Tina to gain entry to the lab and proceeds to pancake Harold's face with a surgical pizza pan so he can ball gag the doctor and combine the designer genes he'd been brewin' up with a coupla tarantulas and scorpions in a Cuisinart and inject the cocktail into the crown of Mittens' skull. By the time the remaining marines arrive Mittenhand's doin' the twitch and shout all over his Medicare-subsidized bumper car, so they follow the trail of princess glitter into an ambush where Darby O'Kill rigs the Sarge with dynamite like he's on the fast track to scorin' 72 virgins and then Zarina whips out 'er nobile knobs and threatens to boob everyone to death even though her cups runneth under. If you watch carefully you can actually see the exact moment Jessica Collins' career prospects die as she explains that on the princess' planet, bearing witness to a royal rack reveal amounts to a death sentence.

Next thing, Books, Tina, and Sticks track their quarry to the lounge where the Sarge comes out in drag singin' show tunes and generally demonstratin' why that whole "don't ask, don't tell" thing was never gonna work. Sticks manages to break the mind control about halfway with a haymaker, only now the Sarge is havin' a serious gender identity crisis and sufferin' from premenstrual traumatic stress disorder and ends up accidentally dischargin' 'imself after jammin' a bayonet into a breaker box while tryna gore Dr. Tina through the ta-tas. 'Course by now Scrawny Bean's rigged the ship to self destruct and caused a pretty serious lover's quarrel by turnin' Zarina's face into a topographical map of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, but things really go sideways when Wee-lo Green starts screwin' around with the de-bigulator ray that shrunk all his gold down into fillings and accidentally zaps 'imself with a miracle grow particle beam that turns 'im into the Brawly Green Giant. As if that ain't bad enough, back in the laboratory Mittenhand wakes up lookin' like what you'd expect to see if Marvel'd given the Spider-Man gig to Cronenberg instead of Sam Raimi, so when Sticks tries sneakin' in to disable the self-destruct mechanism he gets cocooned like a dwarf in Mirkwood Forest and hasta do all his computer hackin' while attached to the ceilin'. This's about as far's I can go without spoilin' the ending, but I feel like I oughta warn ya that some of the stuff comin' up kinda strains credulity.

Alrighty, so those were the voyages of Leprechaun 4, one of the earliest adopters of the "no business bein' in space but it beats lettin' our intellectual property collect dust" gimmick of the late '90s and early 2000s. Hellraiser IV beat 'em to launch by a year, though the idea was originally conceived as a parody of Apollo 13 before being abandoned in favor of... whatever this was. That plan never made it beyond the marketing stages, as the similarities between them begin and end with the poster art, but it would have been interesting to see had that premise actually come to fruition. Most people consider it to be the weakest of the series, or at the very least, the weakest of the original TriMark series, but while there's really no arguing that point, it kinda grows on ya with the passage of time. I remember actually reservin' it to check out on the day of its release back in '97 and bein' so disgusted that I purt'near demanded my dollar back when I returned it, but ultimately the more flicks you see, the more perspective you acquire, and 25 years later I can't hardly count the number of flicks I've seen that pale in comparison in terms of entertainment value. 'Course, most of the scorn can be attributed to its complete departure from what people expect the series to be, and this bears outs when you consider that at no point in the movie is the leprechaun ever actually referred to as such. He's an "alien," and so you've got a Jason Goes to Hell situation where people have expectations about what the film should be based upon historical precedent, and when those expectations aren't met the reviews can be pretty unforgiving. It's not necessarily that folks hate the sharp turn the franchise took into comedic territory 'cause many people cite Part 3 as their favorite and it was the first entry where humor really took center stage, but everyone has their own personal line in terms of how silly you can be before they've had enough, and for many of them, this one used that line for the long jump competition. For me personally, the series started to tank with Part 3 because I'm that guy who'll argue that the first two were actually good movies without the aid of alcoholic beverages, but lookin' objectively at Part 4, whaddya got? Ridiculous premise, yes, but also - quirky characters, snappy dialogue, excellent pacing, and a general level of give-a-shit that exceeds most direct-to-video fare. Flick gets a terrible rap when it plainly deserves a so-bad-it's-good rap.

In any event, it's prolly about time we bit into this thing and found out whether we're dealin' with 14 karats or a busted, pyrite-inflicted incisor. So, first order of business - plot. Plot's bad. Why's the leprechaun an alien? Does Mittenhand know he has the princess before the marines storm the planet? Does he know about her species' regenerative powers? What's the greenie meanie's weakness *this* time? If the leprechaun marries and kills the princess before the king dies, doesn't he lose his spot in the line of succession? These questions and more... were obviously never brought up during the script meeting. By which I mean the collect call placed from a urine-soaked payphone to the front office at TriMark. Probably woulda been worth addin' another four minutes to the running time to help iron out a few of those details - and yes, I am callin' foul on the script of a movie depicting a Celtic alien and his scheme to rule the galaxy through political subterfuge, and I am prepared to die on this hill.

The acting prolly woulda been the highlight if the human leads were as talented as the supporting cast, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Tim Colceri is brilliant as the steel-skulled, hardass free-agent Master Sergeant. Gary Grossman is great as the skeezy, weasely lab assistant impersonating a spinster aunt. Guy Siner kills as the impotent, bipolar torso on motorized life support. And Miguel Nunez, who's probably the best pure-dee actor of the cast, gets all the best lines, like "I'd give ya a round of applause, but I see you've already got the clap," and, responding to Jessica Collins' plea not to kill the princess because of her royal status - "I don't give a damn if she's the queen of soul." Warwick Davis shines again as the leprechaun and gets to follow up his Elvis impression from Part 3 with a pretty fair John Wayne this time around, but Brent Jasmer (Books) is just not up to snuff. Jessica Collins, who'd primarily worked in soaps up to this point, is better than Jasmer but still a bit awkward, and Rebecca Carlton is, pardon the expression, green as well. 'Course, Carlton got stuck with a part whose primary function was to pop her top for reasons absurd enough to live in B-movie infamy, so as far as I'm concerned they got what their script deserved on that deal. If your name wasn't called, ya did alright, but just alright.

Here's who matters and why ('sides Warwick Davis who needs no introduction): Brent Jasmer (An American Vampire Story, Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout), Jessica Collins (Ritual), Guy Siner (Vlad 2003), Gary Grossman (Halloween 2007), Tim Colceri (Space Girls in Beverly Hills, Evilution, Razortooth, Babylon 5: In the Beginning), Rick Peters (Night of the Demons 2), Geoff Meed (Wonder Woman 2011, The Day the Earth Stood Still 2008, 100 Million B.C., I Am Omega, Resident Evil: Extinction), Ladd York (Night of the Demons 2).

And the shameless ones: Jessica Collins (Avery Bailey Clark on The Young and the Restless, Dinah Lee Mayberry Alden on Loving), Guy Siner (Lieutenant Hubert Gruber on 'Allo 'Allo!), Debbie Dunning (Heidi Keppert on Home Improvement), Rick Peters (Bobby Manning on Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye).

The special effects can be broken out into computer-generated and practical categories, and the short version is that the computer effects are almost without exception unqualified disasters, while their practical cousins pick up the slack. I think Brian Trenchard-Smith, the director, said it best when he referred to the computer effects as "below Playstation," and the worst part is that they probably cost as much or more to animate than all the practical effects put together. Admittedly, we're talkin' 1996 computer effects work, which was in its infancy at the time and could never have hoped to look even half as good as the miniatures used in Star Wars 20 years prior, however, with that in mind, you've really gotta wonder why they even tried because they're the first thing you see, and they don't exactly start the movie on a positive note. The practical effects, on the other hand, include two spectacular leprechaun explosions and the incredibly elaborate Mitten-spider created by the returning Gabe Bartalos, who worked on every Leprechaun flick up to that point. Gabe also worked on Chainsaw 2, From Beyond, Gremlins 2, The Guyver, and Frankenhooker - all flicks that required a lotta glopola expertise, so the man knows whereof he slimes. The rear view of Mittenhand's Hoveround, the blue cave critter, and the princess's severed hand aren't so hot, but the most important pieces look great, and the miniature cargo bay built for the scene where the leprechaun gets embiggened is also nice.

The sets are mixed, with the cave sequences filmed on the planet early on looking pretty rough. That said, if you get a warm-fuzzy nostalgic feeling from sets built to resemble those of Lost in Space or Star Trek: TOS, you'll probably love these, as they're done in a similar style, and are of comparable quality. Most of the ship interiors follow the time-tested construction of Alien, and although they're generally more in line with those of its imitators, they're sufficient. So if you're gonna rag on 'em, expect to be disappointed by every Alien clone made between 1980 and 2010. The refreshment lounge is pretty cheesy and not really the kinda place you expect guys with tribal and/or barbed wire tattoos to hang out so that's a definite misfire built for a specific scene in the later stages, but the laboratory's decent and in general there's really nothing here that's out of step with the "boiler room in space" archetype we've become accustomed to in spite of its complete lack of practicality.

The soundtrack, while lacking in variety, bridges the leprechaun and space themes with a level of precision you wouldn't think possible. Don't get me wrong, I still maintain that these two concepts have no business sharing a stage, but Tenney's soundtrack somehow brings the two ideas together while also striking the right balance between horror and comedy. The synthesizer gets a pretty good workout, but all the instrument families are represented, and each track succeeds in its purpose, from the opening score that establishes what may be the movie's only tenuous connection to the leprechaun's folkloric origins, to the intense action pieces that accompany the firefights. Truthfully, there are very few tracks, and that limited variety does continuously remind the viewer of the film's low budget, but they're all catchy enough that you don't mind hearing them more than once, and for this reason, the soundtrack is probably the flick's strongest asset.

Overall, I think time has been surprisingly kind to this one to the point that it almost earns a passing grade for entertainment value. That said, it'd need to do a lot more than just break even in that respect to dig the flick outta the crater left beyond by the plot hole-riddled script and primitive computer effects, but if you wrote this entry off after a single viewing at the time of its release you might give it another chance just to see if your previously established contempt holds.

Rating: 51%