If all you know about leprechauns is that they have something to do with Lucky Charms cereal, you’re missing out!
Allow me to introduce you to some of the funniest horror-comedy movies this side of Tucker and Dale. Even titular Leprechaun actor Warwick Davis loves the franchise.
That said, starting at the beginning isn’t necessarily the best way to watch the Leprechaun series, especially if you’re not going to watch all of the movies.
That’s why we’ve ranked the Leprechaun movies from worst to best, so you know which ones are most worth watching.
This film really shouldn’t even be on this list, as it’s only related to the other films in name only.
Starring Dylan Postl (aka WWE’s Hornswoggle) as the Leprechaun, this seemed to be trying to reinvent the Leprechaun franchise as a more modern horror series instead of embracing the tongue-in-cheek tone every other film in the series has.
As a result, it’s a generic horror movie that plays out exactly how you’d expect a generic movie to play out. Unless you’re a completionist, you can safely avoid seeing this one without missing a thing.
One of two films not to feature Warwick Davis as Lubdan the Leprechaun, this is slightly better than the other, but not by much.
As with Leprechaun: Origins, the leprechaun here bears almost no resemblance to Warwick Davis’s take on the character. Still, this at least gets back to the overall spirit of the Leprechaun franchise, which is worth something.
This is a direct sequel to the first movie in the series, ignoring many of the sequels, not unlike the way-too-after-the-fact Sleepaway Camp sequel Return to Sleepaway Camp.
If you only like the first film, that’s a positive, but if you enjoyed the rest of the franchise, it feels wrong.
If the original Leprechaun plays things too safe, Leprechaun in the Hood ramps up the absurdity almost too much. In this movie, Mack Daddy (played by Ice-T), a record producer, traps the leprechaun using a magic flute (?) that brings him luck.
Meanwhile, wannabe rappers Postmaster P., Stray Bullet, and Butch get in too deep when they accidentally free the leprechaun. There is still plenty of fun to be had, but the movie spends too much time on its plot instead of letting Warwick Davis do his thing.
1993’s Leprechaun kicked off the franchise, introducing Lubdan the Leprechaun. Granted, you only ever know that Lubdan is his name because it’s there in the credits.
This film is mainly notable in the mainstream due to it being the film debut of a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston.
It’s still a fun time, but compared to many of the films in the franchise that follow it, it plays things a little tame. There are only four kills in the entire film, and one of those is off screen.
4. Leprechaun 2
After the lukewarm reception of the first Leprechaun movie, the original setting and characters aside from Warwick Davis’s leprechaun were scrapped. Instead, Leprechaun 2 focuses on scam artist Cody, his girlfriend Bridget, and his uncle Morty.
In a plot device never seen anywhere in the rest of the franchise, the leprechaun needs a bride in order to gain his freedom, and that just happens to be Bridget.
This is the movie where the franchise really began to take off, and you can see the noticeable difference in tone and humor—especially when you look at the manner in which the leprechaun dispatches his victims.
This is the sixth entry in the series, following Leprechaun in the Hood, which we mentioned earlier on this list.
Both movies are great, but this claimed a higher spot because in Leprechaun: Back 2 the Hood the titular Leprechaun inadvertently helps save a youth center. Or, at least, sort of.
The mashup of urban melodrama and horror-comedy make both the fifth and sixth entries in the series feel slightly different, but Warwick Davis is having as much fun here as ever.
2. Leprechaun 3
Both Leprechaun 3 and Leprechaun 4: In Space were directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith, and they just happen to be my personal favorites out of the entire series. The only reasons that the other movie is higher on the list is because of its outlandish setting.
That said, Leprechaun 3’s setting is almost as outlandish: Las Vegas. Letting a gold-obsessed leprechaun loose in a city built on greed is a premise so good it would be hard to mess up, and fortunately, this movie works on almost every level.
While Warick Davis is the standout, supporting actors John Gatins and Lee Armstrong help ramp up the crazy to adequate levels.
This movie features a cyborg doctor who at some point becomes a mutated spider/doctor/cyborg. If you’ve never seen the film before, this probably tells you whether you want to watch it or not.
How our hero (the leprechaun is the hero of these movies, right?) came to be stranded on a remote planet where he is found at the beginning of the movie is never explained, nor does if have to be. The Leprechaun made it to space, and that’s all that matters.
The series began an upward trajectory in terms of absurdity that peaks here, even though there is still plenty of weird to go around in later films. That makes this the perfect place to start.
More Horror-Comedy Movies
Honestly, all of the movies in the Leprechaun series are absolutely worth watching, assuming you have any fondness for horror-comedy.
If you’re looking to skip a few, just nope out of anything without Warwick Davis in it and you really can’t go wrong.