To say the Leprechaun franchise is bizarre would be a gross understatement. But in the shortage of St. Patrick’s Day themed horror movies, this series is really all this holiday has. While none of these movies could be called good, there’s a B-movie charm to them that can’t be denied.
For the most part they’re not trying to be “cinematic”, they’re just trying to be goofy and ridiculous for fun. So taking that into account, we thought it would fun this St. Patrick’s Day to rank every movie in the franchise from least to most entertaining!
8. Leprechaun: Origins (2014)
In an interesting twist of events, the most serious of these movies is also its worst. Granted it boasts the best cinematography of this entire franchise, but this was the first movie with Warwick Davis and it really shows.
To the film’s credit, it tries to be different than its predecessors by completely changing up the titular villain into something more animalistic and monstrous. But when a movie’s tone is more serious and tries to be legitimately scary, the bar to judge it by is raised, and this movie doesn’t come close to quality.
It has bad acting, cheap-looking effects, and just never comes off as scary. And unlike any other movies on this list, it’s not trying to fun in any way.
7. Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)
This was an entry in the series that tried to do something new and different, but honestly it was done better in the next movie (more on that later). Leprechaun in the Hood sends the titular villain into the inner city for an exploitation film 30 years too late.
In a lot of ways, it feels like this script was already in existence and the Leprechaun was just sort of added to it in order to make it part of the franchise, and he doesn’t fit in very well into it. Also his rap at the very end tows the line between so bad it’s good and so bad it makes you cringe.
6. Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997)
When a horror franchise runs out of ideas, you send the villain to space, just as Pinhead and Jason Vorhees. And what apparently started as a parody of Apollo 13 turned into what is without a doubt the most ridiculous entry in this series.
Its acting and dialogue are so campy, it’s almost like watching the non-sex scenes in a porn movie. But the reason it’s not at the absolute bottom of the list is it does manage to have a lot of fun with its premise.
By this point, Warwick Davis knew exactly what these movies had become and he’s just having a blast making it. From a purely cinematic standpoint, it’s probably the worst (with laughably bad effects that look bad for 1997), but it knows exactly what it wants to be and just goes for it.
5. Leprechaun Returns (2018)
While this most recent entry is still sorely missing Warwick Davis, it’s a lot better than it should be. Serving as a direct sequel to the original movie, it brings back the same location, as well as a certain actor playing the same character.
It’s genuinely funny at times with meta and self-aware humor. It does rely a bit too heavily on digital effects, which don’t look nearly as good as the practical ones the original used. Honestly, it would probably be higher on the list had it included Warwick Davis, but by the previous movie, he was seemingly done with this franchise.
4. Leprechaun Back 2 tha Hood (2003)
In many ways, this was a huge improvement over its predecessor. Sure it was just as ridiculous at times, but it actually had genuinely well-developed characters that you come to care about. It also remains the very last time that Warwick Davis played the role.
The movie is far from perfect but it managed to strike a balance between being campy but fun, as well as dramatic when it came to the struggles of its main characters and their backstory.
For a movie called Leprechaun, it oddly and randomly takes place in North Dakota and seems to have little to nothing to do with Ireland or St. Patrick’s Day.
It does take itself a bit more seriously than its sequels, because at the time, it was still trying to be a legitimate slasher movie. But its characters are fun and memorable.
While she may be embarrassed for starring in it, Jennifer Aniston is a decent actress and it shows here as well. Ultimately however, this first entry barely scratched the surface of what this franchise would become.
2. Leprechaun 2 (1994)
If you’re wanting to watch any of these movies on St. Patrick’s Day itself, this one is definitely the best choice. It’s the only movie here that actually takes place on the holiday, and delves deeply into the mythos.
The Leprechaun’s search for a bride (and his gold) are complimented by a haunted tour of old Hollywood that’s a lot of fun for horror fans. The first movie just felt like a generic slasher where the villain happened to be a leprechaun, this one actually felt like it was intended to be a horror movie about a leprechaun.
1. Leprechaun 3 (1995)
It was honestly very close between this and Leprechaun 2 over which one would get first place. While the second movie is the best at representing St. Patrick’s Day, this movie is honestly just the most fun.
It sends the Leprechaun to Las Vegas where every hijinks you can think of occurs and it features an awesome performance from horror legend Caroline Williams. Even Warwick Davis has said that this was his favorite of the series because it’s just the most fun. We get creative kills and a crossover with Elvis, what more could you ask for?
Which one is your favorite and least favorite? Let us know in the comments!