Leprechaun in the Hood ★½

(My 99 90's marathon is on hiatus for the time being. I was recently incredibly sick and had to recover. I want to give that my full attention. So, it'll probably resume May 1st and probably run from the 1st to the 20th or therebouts, after which Disney in Reverse will commence during the rest of the month.

There are casual spoilers below. I'm not marking it officially because: don't watch this. Just DON'T. Trust me. DON'T!)

It started out... so well. It really did. For the first 15, maybe 20 minutes, this really looked like it might actually be on par with Leprechaun 3. It had characters with individual personalities. They had clearly defined goals. They were almost likable. It was nothing to write home about. But it wasn't... the next 70 minutes.

What transpires in the next 70 minutes is legendary. Enough, apparently, to net this film cult status. Apart from the rest of the franchise (which we know actually happened, since it has its own Part 2 sequel). It's not the fastest I've ever seen a movie plummet into the toilet. But, fuck me if it isn't the most complete crash.

Where do I begin?

1 & 2. The Leprechaun kills people for a reason he isn't sharing with us watching at home. Until the word "flute" magically appears in his mouth upon meeting the drag queen. Who doesn't even have the fucking thing!! He kills characters we meet after telling them he wants his "shillings." He doesn't have any!!! He has a golden medallion and a golden flute! We know what the medallion does because we've seen the 3rd film, and this isn't even running in continuity with that sequel. The film never explains what the fucking flute does. We get very generic clues; we're forced to guess.

3. The director doesn't want us to see almost anyone dying. The amount of times the screen goes black as someone is dying or cuts away from a death scene is unbelievable. Maybe 3 people die onscreen, total. And, after the one cool death, all the deaths are the same: hole through torso. Everyone gets a hole punched through their torso. Everyone. Making Full Moon's Gingerdead Man franchise look novel by comparison.

4. This thing is so cheap, there is only one camera set-up for a ridiculous number of scenes. An Asian store owner wants to do a "freak-sexy" dance and we spend nearly 60 seconds watching him grind from behind... from outside the store. We never see him from the front during this. He's inside, beside the counter. We're 10-12 feet away. And he's in the background, with another character hogging the foreground who isn't even looking into the building. And NO ONE STOPS HIM!

5. The Leprechaun doesn't know what fucking marijuana is... but he knows instinctively how a modern American homosexual behaves. AND that they are commonly nicknamed "fruit"s.

6. Before the torso-hole parade, we're stuck watching a series of choking deaths. He... just chokes people. And they die. How inventive. (You still don't see anything.)

7. The movie thinks it's a Great Idea to run with the theme of this black trio of wannabe rappers... how I do put this? You know how in a gangster plot, a vendetta forms after one side shows someone on a warring side some inciting act of disrespect? Which then turns to murder to prove they're "bad"? Blah blah blah? Of course you do! Well... again, how do I put this? These guys steal the Leprechaun's flute because the movie has them planning to make it big in rap. So, when they are forced to give it back because he won't stop chasing them (and this leads to at least one Seriously Funny Damn Scene), all of a sudden the Leprechaun is treated as an oppressor. As though this were The Goonies and he were the Fratelli's and they were both trying to steal it from Ice-T... who, by comparison, is what I might call an honorable crook. And these rappers get REALLY pissed off... that the Leprechaun wants his property back. And will kill them for it. Even though they know he's killed others and has no qualms about killing again. But, he'll let them live... if they give him back the flute. He keeps his word too. But, that's not good enough. They really get "how dare you" about this whole thing.

Where in the hell does this automatically translate to the rappers being owed the goddamn flute??!! This movie does not bring up the "I got it fair-and-square, so I own you" Leprechaun Lore until after he kills one of the rappers. Well after they give him back the flute. These characters are thieves. In an Irish sense, they didn't rob from tyrants. They're not Robin Hood's merry men stealing for the good of the poor. They want to go to Vegas and rap in a contest so they can win a cash prize and get a record deal. They're opportunistic shits. They're parasites! With a sense of entitlement and no moral code. And the movie just really milks this for all its worth. But the logic is ingrowing. Self-lobotomizing. So, they didn't earn Dramatic Showdown rights. They didn't earn Outsiders / Untouchables intense, fateful closeups vowing vengeance or redemption through Dramatic Showdown. They stole from the Leprechaun, ran around with their tails between their legs for 45-50 minutes, and suddenly at the last minute they're owed something? Take it away, Louise!

And I haven't even told you the worst part of it yet... they used to be socially conscious rappers. They organize a raid on Ice-T's office to steal his cash, jewels, and guns because he's corrupt in their eyes. He's the neighborhood crime boss extorting from others. They somehow rationalize that this is just. Not because of what he's doing to the neighborhood or anything: just to fund their trip to Vegas. Never at any point do they realize how corrupt they've become. How sexist, two-faced, using everyone they come across, willing to do anything to humiliate themselves just in the name of getting the flute back (I'm pretty sure this is where all the claims of the film being racist come from- I could easily see the writer having an agenda to suggest black people have no sense of morality or hypocrisy). They just turn into We Want Our Cash Prize and Record Contract and We Deserve It and GIVE US!

8. The Leprechaun gets his gold back... then decides to become a "pimp." Sorry, let me drop the Movie's chosen pretense there: he just kidnaps women through hypnotic coercion and rapes them. Is what he does. He also gets a song about it at the end. Yes... A Leprechaun Rape Anthem. Now... I know how this sounds. Horror has dealt with rape for a very long time. I'm not saying horror cannot add rape to its plot if it can handle the subject with the proper care and intelligence which we the audience deserve. But, this is a fucking comedy. The only thing the movie isn't shy about is that this is intended to be amusing. The Leprechaun in 2000 is Freddy Krueger in 1988. Well... in the 80's, Freddy Krueger wasn't even so much as an implied rapist. Here: the Leprechaun gets a fucking song about it.

9. The ending clearly implies that the Leprechaun was frozen by the cursed golden medallion. Before a magical coda that completely changes that. Suddenly, the Leprechaun is unfrozen and the last-standing survivor character has died offscreen somehow and is now a zombie. This movie's idea of zombies is unique, by the way. Think Ulli Lommel's Zombie Nation zombies. (What; you were expecting Sugar Hill?)

If there's any way on Earth the sequel could be worse than this, I would be amazed!

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