While in Ireland, Daniel O’Grady (Shay Duffin) captures a leprechaun. Afterward, he forces the mythical creature to take him to where he keeps his gold. Once O’Grady returns back to the United States, he is under the assumption that he and his wife (Pamela Mant) are going to be able to live in financial comfort. The leprechaun, portrayed by Warwick Davis (Willow), has other ideas.
The leprechaun shows up at the O’Grady’s home and demands that his gold be returned to him. The longer O’Grady holds onto the gold, the worse things will get for him. For example, the leprechaun kills Mrs. O’Grady. Mr. O’Grady, however, even with his wife having been murdered, doesn’t want to give back the gold. He manages to nullify the problem by tricking the leprechaun into a situation where the creature gets locked inside of a crate. O’Grady was next going to burn the crate and be done with the leprechaun once and for all, but in the process, he succumbs to a stroke. With the placement of a four leaf clover on top of the crate, according to folklore, the leprechaun is rendered powerless to escape until it is removed. (As an aside: The Leprechaun film is an adaptation of a comic book of the same name from the 1980s. The difference is that in the comic book, O’Grady steals gold from goblins instead of leprechauns).
A decade after the incident, J.D. Reding (John Sanderford) purchases the O’Grady’s house as a gift for his spoiled daughter Tory, played in her feature film debut by Golden Globe and Emmy winner Jennifer Anniston (Friends). She initially has no desire to stay there. J.D. bought the house, which is in disrepair, with the intention of having it fixed it up. The leprechaun is accidently released from its entrapment by Ozzie (Mark Holton), Ozzie along with Nathan (Ken Olandt) and Alex (Robert Hy Gorman), are members of a crew who are working on improving the condition of the house. (As an aside: Prior to her starring in “Leprechaun,” before her breakout role on “Friends,” Jennifer Anniston co-starred in two short lived television series, appeared in a video short, had an uncredited role in the 1988 film “Mac and Me,” co-starred in the television movie “Camp Cucamonga,” and had a guest appearance on the series “Quantum Leap”).
One would think that after ten years of confinement, the leprechaun would want to go about other things, but no. He is once more completely focused on the retrieval of his gold and will take any measures necessary to get it back. Ozzie see the leprechaun, but because he is considered a simpleton, no one believes him. They think the leprechaun is a product of Ozzie’s childlike imagination. Ozzie, with the help of Alex, sets out to find the leprechaun. While searching for the creature, they discover a bag of gold coins. Thinking they’ve stumbled on to some riches, all they’ve managed to do is anger the leprechaun. Can and will the leprechaun be stopped?
The film is certainly not one that is known for its acting, but Davis as the leprechaun is fun to watch. He doesn’t have a weapon like a Freddy or a Jason, so when it comes to retribution, the creature gets creative. Davis performed most of his own stunts during the movie. Initially the filmmakers wanted to take the story in a much more serious direction, but Davis had a feeling that audiences would rather see him be deviously playful with the role, and he was right.
“Leprechaun” was written and directed by Mark Jones (Leprechaun 2). The film was released in theaters on January 8, 1993. The movie is parts comedy, fantasy and horror and has a runtime of 92 minutes. Gabriel Bartalos and his assistants, Lisa Buono, Klexius Kolby and Randy Westgate did excellent work with the makeup that was applied to Davis to make him look like the leprechaun. According to Davis the process took three hours each day to apply before filming and an additional forty minutes to remove once filming was concluded. The box office success of the film led to the start of a franchise which produced five sequels. In closing, “Leprechaun” should be viewed strictly as a popcorn film for entertainment purposes.