THE IRISH have suffered more than most in the world of film.
Dodgy accents, lazy stereotypes and one-dimensional portraits of life on the Emerald Isle are par for the course in Hollywood. But if there is one franchise that has done more to damage Irish-American relations than any other, it has to be the Leprechaun movies.
Star Wars actor Warwick Davis starred in the original alongside a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston. A moderate hit upon release , a further seven Leprechaun films have followed, including five direct sequels, a prequel/reboot and a retcon follow-up junking all of the sequel entries that came before it.
No fewer than three actors have played the titular Leprechaun in the years since the first film has been released, much like James Bond, and often with mixed results.
And despite the consistently rank reviews, the Leprechaun movies have managed to find their place in the popular lexicon as examples of movies that are so bad they are good or at least close to being that. With that in mind, The Irish Post thought it was time someone sorted the meh from the hilariously mediocre.
Here's Every Leprechaun film ranked from 'bad' to 'so bad it’s good'.
Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997)
Imagine if someone remade Aliens, except instead of space marines fighting a giant bugs/monsters, they were fighting a tiny dishevelled man in a little green suit who loves nothing more than murdering people while reeling off nonsensical rhyming couplets. Oh and it's been made on a budget of roughly one euro.
Welcome to Leprechaun in Space, the film where no one can hear you scream - because no one else was dumb enough to rent this garbage.
Leprechaun 2 (1994)
The plot for this non-awaited follow-up centres on the leprechaun who is turning 1,000 and wants to celebrate by marrying the direct living descendant of a slave he once had the hots for. So far, so weird.
But in order to get the girl he is going to have to deal with her slightly peeved boyfriend. Apparently she doesn't get a say in what happens to her, or much to say in the actual film either (this was the early 1990s after all). Memorable for the leprechaun's adorable little car at the very least.
Leprechaun Back 2 tha Hood (2003)
By this point the leprechaun has discovered both marijuana and rapping with equally disastrous/brilliant results depending on how intoxicated you are.
If you came here looking for a fusion of "Lep's" signature rhyme murder comedy nonsense and the social realism of Boys N Tha Hood, then congratulations: you have arrived and there is something seriously wrong with you.
Leprechaun 3 (1995)
The one where the leprechaun hits the Las Vegas strip with bloody and occasionally hilarious results. The most memorable/disturbing scene sees him enlarge the assets of an already surgically enhanced woman to the point where she ends up exploding.
In the years before Get Out and Us, this passed for social commentary in the world of horror movies.
Leprechaun Origins (2014)
Wrestling icon Vince McMahon waded into the Leprechaun movie-making business with this deadly serious WWE production. Pretend Irishman and aspiring wrestler Hornswoggle took over from Davis for this entry which earns brownie points for the fact it appears to at least be set in Ireland.
They do their level best to make the leprechaun seem genuinely terrifying too. If anything he's more of a rampaging monster than wise-cracking killer. Still, we miss Davis and those rhyming couplets.
Leprechaun Returns (2018)
Warwick Davis was ditched for this effort, which served as a direct sequel to the first Leprechaun film, erasing all of the previous sequels in the process. It also cranks up the gore with one man sliced in half by a solar panel (more social commentary) while in one gloriously gratuitous set piece the leprechaun escapes from one poor bloke's stomach, Alien style.
All that and there is a Fantasia style sequence with hapless teens under attack from lots of tiny leprechauns. It's surprisingly enjoyable if slightly daft.
The film that introduced the world to the acting talents of a certain J.Aniston, Leprechaun is an undoubted guilty pleasure, helped by some amusingly dated special effects, a few solid set pieces involving murder by tricycle and pogo stick as well an inspired central turn from Davis.
The opening salvo set in Ireland is pure comedy gold, while the film's shortcomings are largely forgiven thanks to an amusingly silly tone and a likeable and eclectic cast.
Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)
Nearly 20 years on and Leprechaun in The Hood is every bit as weird and wonderful as it was all those years ago. Aimed squarely at stoners, the plot centres on three aspiring rappers who decide to get even with a pimp by stealing his magical flute. Little do they realise that the flute grants the holder wishes and that, in stealing in they have also unleashed the original owner - yep, the leprechaun.
Ice T stars as the aforementioned pimp Mack Daddy in this inventive effort, which also features a bizarre turn from Coolio and is best remembered for the sequence that sees Davis, as the Leprechaun, busting out rap rhymes on stage. Truly awful and yet strangely hypnotic in equal measure. You'll want to look away but you can't.