We continue our special week of Buried Credits, a column that dives deep into the IMDB pages of favorite actors, directors, and writers to find their lost, forgotten, or unknown film and TV credits. This week, in honor of the upcoming Halloween holiday, instead of just looking at one person’s early or forgotten work, we’re looking at famous firsts in horror movies.
Today’s “frightful first” is….
Most everyone knows Jennifer Aniston from her role as Rachel Green from Friends or maybe in one of the rom-coms she’s starred in like The Break Up or Just Go With It. While she did appear on a few short-lived sitcoms in the early 90’s before Friends (Molloy and Ferris Bueller (based on the movie), to name a couple), it’s her movie career that has kept her famous.
But before Jen had Friends she got her big screen start in a movie called:
Directed and written by Mark Jones
Leprechaun is a wonderful, family friendly adventure about a happy-go-lucky leprechaun and his wacky adventures as he tries to find his missing gold that has been scattered across the globe by…. No, no – wait. Leprechaun is about a murderous, pissed off psychotic leprechaun who only wants to retrieve his gold which was stolen from him.
Aniston plays Tory who moves into a farmhouse where, ten years earlier, the leprechaun was trapped in a crate by a man who stole the aforementioned gold. Tory and her dad meet hunky contractor Nathan, his little brother Alex and their simple-minded buddy, Ozzie, who are painting the house and it’s Ozzie who is tricked into freeing the leprechaun.
What follows over the next 75 minutes or so is like a fever dream of some crazed child that takes two scoops of Irish folklore and adds in what they would consider “scary” all the while trying to straddle a fine line of being a comedy and a horror movie; The leprechaun gives chase on a tricycle, the kids throw shoes at him to distract him (he IS a cobbler by trade, of course), they shoot him with a shotgun and try to blow him up with gasoline… During all of this we’ve got Aniston trying to kickstart her acting career after a handful of failed TV sitcoms, which she more or less manages to do. She’s clearly the lead (other than, I guess, Warwick Davis as the leprechaun) and she does a fine job coming across a believable late teen (19ish?). Her acting skills are still rough and some of her delivery is a little unpolished, but let’s face it (and I don’t mean this as an insult), Jennifer Aniston isn’t a GREAT actress NOW, so being a little uneven as a twenty-two year old isn’t that bad. All said and done, it’s a fun movie and Jennifer is pretty smoking hot, so there are certainly worse ways to spend an evening and even worse early outings by other actors (as you’ll see in other “Buried Credits” entries).
Part of me says this should stay buried like the leprechaun’s gold, but on the other hand Jennifer is just so dang hot in this movie it’s hard to not like it. It’s got some fun moments but they are largely offset by head scratching ones which makes it hard to really pin this down. In the end, it all comes down to your desire to see a young Jennifer Aniston throw shoes at a leprechaun.