Leprechaun in the Hood (2000) – Deconstructing the horror stoner comedy

The Deconstructing series looks at the 2000 Leprechaun sequel Leprechaun in the Hood, starring Warwick Davis and Ice-T

Take a seat my horror hounds, the Leprechaun is making rounds. From grassy knolls and Irish springs- to the streets on a hunt for bling. Okay, I admit that was pretty bad- but in my defense, I haven’t been able to stop talking in rhyme since I watched the year 2000’s Leprechaun in the Hood (watch it HERE) which not only is a completely outside of the box film for the franchise, it also, somehow, fits right in with it. The fifth movie in the Leprechaun series, In the Hood takes the wise-cracking and menacing Leprechaun as he once again schemes and murders his way to retrieving his beloved pot of gold. Or in this case- his golden flute.

Fans of this franchise all have our own ranking when it comes to which Leprechaun films are too cheesy, which are not cheesy enough, and which ones are just right. But one thing seems to be consistent across the scope of this particular fandom- this movie is fun to watch with people…. When you’re stoned. And while you may find this movie to be too much, or too little, I think the fact that it exists, and that there is an audience for it makes it worthy of being broken down on our show. Also, Tyler and Lance thought it would be funny.

For those uninitiated in this franchise- Leprechaun began with the 1993 film which followed Lubdan the leprechaun on a hunt for his pot of gold which he believes has been stolen by Jennifer Aniston… The original film was originally written as a straight up blood and guts horror film, which was later re-worked to include more comedy and surrealism in the kills- which quickly became the standard for the subsequent catalogue of movies. But, we’re not here to break down Lubdan’s adventures in North Dakota (although, let me know if you’d watch that) we’re here to follow his first trip to South Central, and see what kind of trouble we can get into when his magical flute is stolen by the “cop killa” himself- Ice T. So, roll one up, pour one up, or whatever it is that you do and let’s get into it. I’m Kier with JoBlo Horror Originals, and you’re watching Deconstructing.

Leprechaun in the Hood stars the iconic Warwick Davis as the titular leprechaun. This is right up there with some of Davis’s most memorable characters and despite how you feel about this movie- his performance is always exactly where it needs to be for the material he’s given. The story goes like this- Ice-T plays Mack Daddy O’Nasses, a hip hop artist with dreams of making it big. When he discovers an underground room full of valuable treasure- he loots the joint and re-awakens the leprechaun. After a hilarious scuffle (complete with Mack pulling a baseball bat out of his afro) he’s able to mollify the leprechaun, turning him to stone and keeping him as a trophy. Hilarious opening scene honestly. Cut to 20 years later with Mack having not aged a day…? Okay. He’s now a successful record executive and producer of his own label. Along come our three main characters- Post, Stray, and Butch- aspiring local rappers who want to make it big time by spreading positivity and unity to their community.

Leprechaun in the Hood Deconstructing

These guys get rejected and decide to rob Mack’s office for revenge. This results in them nearly killing Mack, and accidentally re-awaking the leprechaun once again. From here it’s pretty much the typical setup- Lubdan will not rest until he tracks down his flute and gets revenge on those who took it from him. In some of the cheesiest BUT most fun ways possible. Now technically this isn’t much different from the plot of any other leprechaun film, so why is this installment among the most memorable? In order to find out, we’re going to break down this movie into our four key categories. First, we’re going to cover the origins of this movie and how it got made. Seeing as there were four other Leprechaun movies before this one, I’m mostly just going to give the highlights and stick to THIS film. After that we’ll get into the movie’s legacy. Trust me, it’s more interesting than you think for a sequel. After that we’ll have some fun with a game of JoBlo Horror Movie Trivia and then we’ll go for the gold and talk about the movie’s X-Factor where i find the one small thing that makes this movie such a cult hit after nearly 25 years. So if you’re ready than keep your backs to the wall and don’t forget to like the video. And let’s hit play on Leprechaun in the Hood.

ORIGIN

Let’s go back to the early 90s for a minute. A writer named Mark Jones was working as a writer on a show called Superboy – that was the short-lived Superman nepotism show starring Alexander Salkind. Jones aspired to be a filmmaker and wanted to write and direct a feature. Jones had been developing an idea since the 80s after being inspired by a box of lucky charms- about an evil murderous leprechaun who would do anything to get his pot of gold. Take a shot every time I say the word “gold”. Just kidding. Don’t. You’ll die.

After writing his horror/thriller leprechaun script, Jones was able to get it picked up by Trimark and secure a budget of about $1 million. In fact, this became Trimark’s first film to be released theatrically. Jones would be satisfied with the film he made but didn’t return to work on any of the sequels. He made his movie and went back to making TV. Only to write Rumpelstiltskin a few years later. But in his wake, a franchise was born and like it or not it’s still going today.

As for Leprechaun in the Hood– This movie was released as part of a rapid-release schedule with a new Leprechaun adventure hitting the direct-to-video shelf every year or two. The sequels were low-budget, and occasionally low-effort, but the character and his iconic status carried this franchise into cult status- so the movies keep getting made. Leprechaun in the Hood was given a budget of $1.4 million and made use of mostly no-name actors. The film’s quality is definitely lacking in star-power, but the money was well-spent on practical effects that (shocker) hold up better than the movie’s very dated digital effects. Remember, this was 2,000- not 1990. However I will say that director Rob Spera and writers Doug Hall and Jon Huffman found a way to capture Warwick’s best acting sensibilities and play to his strengths. How did they do it? They just let him be the Leprechaun. And that was enough. In fact, if anything is proof that this movie has something- it’s that it got a direct follow up called Leprechaun Back 2 Tha Hood in 2003. Okay, actually… Maybe this is the movie that doomed the franchise. Which reminds me, let’s look at this movie’s legacy.

LEGACY

After the release of Leprechaun in the Hood, Tristar decided that they couldn’t afford to keep pumping money into a property whose glory days are behind it. They sold the rights to Lionsgate, who immediately began working on the next installment- only to sort of bastardize the history of the original movies and lead to the next films being an attempt to reboot the franchise. There was Leprechaun Origins in 2014 which dabbled in Lubdan’s roots, and a Syfy movie called Leprechaun Returns in 2018. Neither film starred Warwick Davis as Lubdan but both have their cult fans… I guess.

There have been rumblings throughout Hollywood that there’s a Leprechaun reboot coming our way soon and even some directors and writers attached to the project, If you believe everything you read online that is. Just kidding, it’ll probably happen. We live in a world where nobody can resist the sweet, sweet comfort of nostalgic films. But as it stands, this movie right here is one of the most iconic. And why? Because it’s absurd. Between the ghetto puns, the awful rhymes from Post and his friends, the insane continuity errors, and this weird scene of the Chinese restaurant owner trying to audition as a backup dancer… This is just one hell of a memorable movie. I mean, at one point Post and Butch dress in drag and pretend to be hookers in order to confront Lubdan at a club. I can’t stress this enough this movie just swims in the bizarre.

The kills in this movie are actually kind of good. There’s a few that are done off-screen in order to preserve the movie’s budget. But the stuff that they do show is hilariously bombastic. We get like 3 chest-hole kills in this movie and they’re all done differently. It’s lunacy, folks. We often think of this movie as Leprechaun meets How High meets Scarface but with half of the charm of each- but in its attempt to do something different, the movie succeeds in bringing new kinds of characters into the path of this maniacal monster. We recall seeing Lubdan smoke weed with Ice-T and say “A friend with weed is a friend indeed” which is a staple meme for horror lovers of the early 2000s, and we have some truly off-the-wall protagonists with Butch being maybe the my favorite “dumb friend with a good heart who sacrifices himself for the less-interesting lead” trope. The faces he makes, the way he pulls off the plan at the end, the loyalty he has- He’s extremely memorable. R.I.P Butch.

Of course, we can’t forget Jacky D the pawn shop owner who gets taken out by the leprechaun by way of hallucination and… horniness?

Leprechaun in the Hood

TRIVIA

Something I wanted to mention during the Origin, but I found it too perfect for trivia- did you know that Warwick Davis had such bad stomach gas, that there were occasional shooting delays on-set because he just couldn’t stop farting. Lance, Tyler- I hope you guys are getting a kick out of this.

And before we move on, let’s see if you can answer this question:

If Leprechaun 3 and Leprechaun in Space director Brian Trenchard-Smith would’ve returned to direct- Where would the Leprechaun’s adventure have been set in?

  1. An Amusement Park
  2. Ireland in dystopian future
  3. A mental asylum
  4. The White House

Comment your answers below!

X-FACTOR

Now friends, if you paid attention to this video- you know exactly what the X-Factor is. In fact, I may have already stated it or mentioned it. The purpose of this segment is to find the thing that makes the movie we’re watching stand out as a classic, a cult classic, or just a memorable piece of horror history. And for me, that’s obviously Warwick Davis. But also… this movie is fun to watch when you’re stoned.

This movie is a stoner comedy. It’s as much Scary Movie as it is anything else to the point it almost feels like parody- but not in a bad way. It’s a movie that works because it taps into something that niche audiences like us to do- hang out with a group of friends and experience the weirdness together and laugh at the moments that are supposed to make us laugh. In that way, the movie does everything it promised to do. I think it can all be summed up by a text my friend sent me after seeing the movie- it reads: “I mean, it can’t be an accident. They knew that Ice-T pulling a baseball bat out of his hair was funny, and I laughed. So, I guess they achieved what they were looking to do. PS- Edibles… seriously.”

And I just think that makes the point of this movie in a short and honest way. It’s wacky, it’s funny, it’s absurd, silly, corny, tacky, and kind of wonderful. I don’t know what exactly is next for the Leprechaun franchise- but one thing that I do know is that this movie is something I would consider rewatchable in the same specific way that the original film is. It hits the target for what it is. It is NOT cinema, but it’ll remind you why you love bad movies.

A couple of the previous episodes of Deconstructing… can be seen below,. To see more episodes, and to check out our other shows, head over to the JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channel – and subscribe while you’re there!

Source: Arrow in the Head

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