Low budget horror movies that are so bad they’re good are often followed up with a string of sequels. The Leprechaun franchise has developed a cult following, in which the creators seem to have tried to beat their own record of bad reviews each time they release a new one.
Leprechaun 2, 3 and 4 each have scores of 0% of Rotten Tomatoes, despite each having at least a handful of reviews. One critic said that this third installment is a “stupid idea” that has been made “progressively more moronic”, although it’s achieved a mediocre score of 5/10 on IMDB, an improvement on films 1 and 2. Perhaps then, the moronism is what makes the Leprechaun franchise so popular.
Despite what the critics say, the Leprechaun films have all been commercial successes, with fans getting excited every time a new title is announced. The second sequel, Leprechaun 3 was certainly no exception.
Leprechaun 3 Plot
Released in 1995, Leprechaun 3 had a budget of $2.5 million and saw the title character move from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
Millions of people head to Las Vegas, whether to play slots, roulette, blackjack or in poker tournaments like those organised by PokerStars or to attend events like the Electric Daisy Carnival to party with their friends. The vast majority of these likely think of a Leprechaun as a sign of good luck. Except when this Leprechaun made his way to the Nevada Desert, he brought nothing but destruction and carnage with him.
The opening scenes show a man with a missing eye, leg, and hand take a leprechaun statue to a Las Vegas pawnbrokers. The leprechaun wears a gold medallion around its neck, and despite being warned against it, the owner of the pawnshop takes it for himself.
Upon removing the medallion, the leprechaun comes to life, killing the shopkeeper and escaping. As he does this, a college student called Scott comes to the pawnbrokers to sell his Rolex. Upon seeing the medallion, he picks it up and gets granted a wish. Scott asks for a winning streak in a casino, which he gets, but his money is stolen by some of the casino employees.
At the same time, the leprechaun is searching Las Vegas for his medallion and eventually finds Scott. He attacks him, infecting him with a drop of leprechaun blood. This turns Scott into a leprechaun and he must eventually decide between sharing the leprechaun’s pot of gold but spending eternity as a leprechaun, or foregoing the riches and being turned back into a human.
One of the reasons that the Leprechaun franchise has been so successful is the performances of Warwick Davis as the leprechaun. His role in the first six movies was a large part of its success, and Leprechaun 3 is no exception.
Throughout most of the film, his dialogue is said in rhymes, playing up to the stereotype of leprechauns talking in riddles. As you’d expect, Davis pulls this off perfectly. In an interview conducted recently, Davis said he loved creating all the Leprechaun films, but number three was his favourite.
Davis is not alone though, with other great actors in the cast. Scott is played by John Gatins who has gone on to appear in Norbit, but mainly works as a writer. He too puts in a great performance, helping the film to punch above its weight.
A Guilty Pleasure
Leprechaun 3 is a great film if you view it for what it is – a low budget horror-comedy that was never intended to challenge for awards or to impress critics. It’s cheesy and will make you cringe, but this is its charm.
Leprechaun 3 doesn’t have a deep story. It is unashamedly silly. If you expect this when you watch, then you won’t be left disappointed.
Fans continue to love Leprechaun 3 and the rest of the franchise, with two new sequels released in 2014 and 2018. There are occasional discussions about potential new films, including from new potential directors. So no matter how bad it may seem, millions of people love this film, and they can’t all be wrong.