aka Spellbreaker: Secret of the Leprechauns
Director – Ted Nicolaou, Screenplay – Ted Nicolaou & Patrick Clifton, Idea – Charles Band, Producers – Oana & Vlad Paunescu, Photography – Adolfo Bartoli, Music – Richard Kosinski & William Levine, Visual Effects – AlchemyFX (Supervisor – Jim Aupperle), Mechanical Effects Supervisor – John ‘Teenie’ Deall, Leprechaun Effects – Mark Rappaport, Makeup Effects – Michael S. Deak, Production Design – Radu Corciova. Production Company – Moonbeam Entertainment
Gregory Edward Smith (Mikey Dennehy), Madeleine Potter (Morgan de la Fey/Queen Nuala), Godfrey James (King Kevin), Tina Martin (Queen Maeve), John Bluthal (Michael Dennehy), Sylvester McCoy (Flynn), James Ellis (Patrick)
Young Mikey Dennehy goes to visit his grandfather in Ireland. There they meet their new neighbour, the charming Morgan de la Fey. However, Morgan is really Nuala, queen of the underworld. She places an enchantment on Kevin, king of the leprechauns, that makes him fall in love with her. With Kevin’s wits addled, she is able to capture all the leprechauns, intending to offer them as a sacrifice to Finvara, lord of the underworld.
Charles Band and his father Albert, either under their Empire Productions banner during the 1980s or under the Full Moon Entertainment during the 1990s, were some of the most prolific producers of B-budget direct-to-video genre films. They produced efforts like the Ghoulies, the Puppetmaster, the Trancers, the Prehysteria! and the Subspecies films to name but a handful. Under Full Moon’s subsidiary label Moonbeam Productions, they also produced a number of children’s films. One of the Bands most regular directors has been Ted Nicolaou, who originally began as one of their editors. While Nicolaou has been responsible for some of the undeniable dross that the Bands regularly put out – TerrorVision (1986), Bad Channels (1992) and the disappointing Subspecies trilogy – he has also made several of the Bands’ better films under the Moonbeam label. Nicolaou’s Dragonworld (1994) was one film that had clearly been made with a good deal more care and feeling than most of Moonbeam’s product, and he was also responsible for the mind-spinningly surreal Magic in the Mirror (1996).
Moonbeam and Nicolaou’s Leapin’ Leprechauns! (1995) was undeniably stolen in sizeable part from Disney’s live-action masterpiece Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959). Nevertheless, it was a light knockabout children’s film that derived entertainment value from the comic antics of several invisible, mischievous leprechauns being let loose in an average American household. This sequel is actually a better film than its predecessor. Leapin’ Leprechauns! ended on a surprisingly dark climax (stolen direct from Darby O’Gill) with the characters having to battle Finvara, lord of the underworld, and racing against the arrival of the dark horse of death. That tone has been extended in Leapin’ Leprechauns! 2. It abandons the light and frivolous slapstick tone of the first film and concentrates on a much stronger plot involving the witch’s attempt to enchant the leprechauns and the young kid and his grandfather from the first film. It works as a much more vivid story – while it is essentially a children’s film, it is conducted with some feeling and depth. The ending on an entrance into the underworld achieves something mythic and resonant.
Madeleine Potter plays with effective charms as as the witch and is balanced out by a return performance of wry, blarney likeability from John Bluthal and the endearingly comic blatherings of John Godfrey repeating his role as Kevin, the leprechaun king.
Ted Nicolaou’s other genre films as director include:- one of the segments of The Dungeonmaster (1984), TerrorVision (1986), Bad Channels (1992), Subspecies (1991), Bloodstone: Subspecies II (1993), Remote (1993), Bloodlust: Subspecies III (1994), Dragonworld (1994), Magic in the Mirror (1996), Magic in the Mirror: Fowl Play (1996), Vampire Journals (1997), The Shrunken City (1998), Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm (1998), Dragonworld: The Legend Continues (1999), Ragdoll (1999), The Horrible Dr Bones (2000), In the Shadow of the Cobra (2004), Puppetmaster vs Demonic Toys (2004) and The Etruscan Mask (2007).