St. Patrick’s Day is another fun holiday to celebrate with a few good movies between gulps of green beverages and hunts for that one person who forgot what day it was and will get your full wrath in one hard pinch. I wanted to take a little time to list a few films which will help you rewind after a hard day at work or at the local Irish pub. These are just a few of my favorites and a couple suggestions that give horror fans and family folks an alternative to the usual fare they’re bombarded with every year around this time.
Dan O'Grady (Shay Duffin) steals 100 gold coins from a leprechaun (Warwick Davis in a role far from his cuddly one as Wicket the Ewok) while on vacation in Ireland. The leprechaun follows him home, but Dan locks the murderous midget in a crate, held at bay by a four-leaf clover. Ten years later, J.D. Redding (John Sanderford) and his daughter, Tory (Jennifer Aniston in one of her first performances), rent O'Grady's property for the summer. When their new neighbors accidentally release the leprechaun, he goes on a murderous rampage to reclaim his gold.
“Leprechaun 4: In Space”
Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds! Our little gold-seeking killer visited the stars a good four years before “Friday the 13th’s” Jason Voorhees. Resurfacing on an alien planet, the Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) abducts a member of the world's royalty, Princess Zarina (Rebekah Carlton), in an attempt to wed her and become the supreme ruler. Unfortunately for the diminutive schemer, well-armed soldiers arrive to foil his plans. Not easily defeated, however, the feisty Leprechaun continues to battle the warriors while also contending with the warped scientist known as Dr. Mittenhand (Guy Siner).
It might hold the same name as the other entries in the franchise, but “Leprechaun: Origins” is a serious reboot that reminds me of the differences between Sam Raimi’s original “The Evil Dead” series and Fede Alvarez’s 2013 remake. While backpacking through Ireland, two couples discover that one of the country's most-famous legends is terrifyingly real. American WWE professional wrestler Dylan Mark Postl (aka Hornswoggle) takes on the role Warwick Davis made famous, but is completely unrecognizable buried under layers of creature makeup.
If you’re looking to steer clear of the typical slew of “Leprechaun” movies, you have an alternative in “Red Clover.” It was originally known as “Leprechaun’s Revenge” and aired as a TV movie. It’s obvious why the film’s name was changed to avoid confusion with the “Leprechaun” franchise. In this After Dark Films entry, sixty-six years ago the town of Irish Channel in Louisiana was the site of a horrible massacre on St. Patrick's Day. Some blame a terrible storm that blew through the town, but those that were there don't speak of the truth. Due to petty superstitions St. Patrick's Day festivities were banned for the last sixty-six years, but now the new Mayor wants to tempt fate and celebrate.
“Darby O’Gill and the Little People”
I can’t have a list of movies to watch on St. Patrick’s Day without mentioning this one. It’s one of my all-time favorite Disney movies. What’s not to like? There’s a drunken old man trying to steal a leprechaun’s gold, a banshee trying to steal people’s souls, and James Bond singing! That’s right; just a few years before donning the tuxedo for “Dr. No,” Sean Connery belts out some Irish tunes to prove he has way more than a license to kill to attract the ladies.
In the movie, just-fired Darby O'Gill (Albert Sharpe) does not want to tell his daughter, Katie (Janet Munro), that his position has been taken by a dashing younger man (Sean Connery). Then, on his way home, Darby slips through a portal to the land of the little people. There he meets the leprechaun king, Brian (Jimmy O'Dea), and winds up accidentally bringing the little monarch home with him. Darby then demands Brian grant him three wishes, but the request brings Darby bittersweet, and unexpected, results.
There’s something here to watch for everyone on a great St. Patrick’s Day. Your whole family can enjoy “Darby O’Gill and the Little People.” After you put the little ones to bed, you can pop in either some frightful fun or corny comedic killings to serve as a nightcap. Click on any of the titles above to watch the movies instantly.
"Scooby and Shaggy's Unlucky Day" by Artist-SRF.