The Leprechaun franchise is a staple for many horror lovers. While the films may not be incredibly terrifying, the visuals are perfectly comedic and over-the-top. In fact, behind-the-scenes stories about the Leprechaun movies prove the franchise knew how to produce entertaining content.
These films made horror funny, and the movies' collaborators knew injecting comedy into slasher films would be unique. Even movies made with low expectations can be profitable when actor Warwick Davis gets involved. He makes the little mythological creature in the Leprechaun movies a hilarious fright.
A trip to the cereal aisle inspired Leprechaun. How else could a movie about a killer leprechaun come to be? Series creator Mark Jones wanted to be a director, so he decided to write something he couldn't mess up: a low-budget horror movie. He explained how an ad inspired him, saying, "The Lucky Charms commercials had the cute little leprechaun advertising cereal. I said, 'We could turn this into something evil.'"
The first Leprechaun, released in 1993, stars a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston, and she's fantastic in the film. Both series creator Mark Jones and producer Mark Amin take credit for realizing Aniston would be a great addition to the movie. Jones told Entertainment Weekly he fought to secure Aniston instead of an actress with more credits, but the studio wanted her to be blonde. Amin remembers it differently:
Jennifer Aniston completely and clearly jumped out. I don't remember there being a conversation. I don't think anybody was thinking she should be blonde or brunette. It was more about, "Can we [get] somebody that's right for the role? That has the right energy?" And she fulfilled both of them.
After the success of the first Leprechaun movie, the production team considered many options for the sequel. Some people wanted Warwick Davis to play the Leprechaun's wife, traveling the country in search of her spouse. Original film director Mark Jones was disappointed that idea never came to fruition. He noted, "I thought it could have been done differently. I was going to have Warwick in drag, and he'd play the Leprechaun's wife coming after him. They wanted to go more traditional horror."
According to director Brian Trenchard-Smith, the Leprechaun 3 team never really got the chance to film in Las Vegas, NV. Apparently, multiple casinos barred them. Trenchard-Smith recalled:
They thought we were making fun of gambling and that's a shocking thing to do. The Golden Nugget particularly said, "You may not shoot outside our premises." So I naturally went to the Golden Nugget and stuck the 14mm lens on the pavement and had the Leprechaun in the foreground, apparently towering over it.
Aside from a few exterior shots filmed in Vegas sans permit, most of the film was recorded on soundstages in Los Angeles, CA.