Here's How 'Army of Darkness' Inspired 'Leprechaun Returns'

The original Leprechaun is enjoyed by horror fans for a number of reasons, thanks largely to how it strikes a specific balance between humor and terror while never resorting to self-parody. For the new sequel Leprechaun Returns, director Steven Kostanski looked to the third entry in the Evil Dead franchise, Army of Darkness, when it came to finding the right tone for the film.

"I don't know if you could even classify it as a horror movie, but Army of Darkness was technically one of the first horror movies I ever saw," Kostanski shared with ComicBook.com. "And that was my gateway film into the genre, because I was like, 'Oh, these movies aren't all totally miserable, and just rooted in trying to terrify you as much as possible. They can be silly and a little more childish at times.' And I just liked the way that that movie would go from being really intense to being really goofy and back again. And so, with Leprechaun, I thought that was kind of a good template to follow."

Leprechaun debuted in 1993, only a year after Army of Darkness debuted, with both films embracing a similar and specific horror-comedy hybrid tone, pre-dating self-referential satires like Scream while being competently made as to avoid the "so bad they're good" ironic entertainment aspect. Kostanski went on to detail his approach to Leprechaun Returns and how it resembled his previous, more straightforward horror efforts.

"My approach is always take the story, and the work, and the craft seriously, but without being pretentious about it. You should be allowed to have fun making a movie. If you're not enjoying yourself making it, then you shouldn't be doing it," the filmmaker admitted. "There was a lot of room in the script to have fun and be a little sillier, but not to the point where the movie feels like it has absolutely no stakes, or there's no tension whatsoever. My priority was always to try to inject horror as much as possible, and we got into a rhythm where scenes that would lean into comedy would be punctuated by moments of really, either intense violence, or gore, that just takes you out of it, and gives you a bit of whiplash, just to make it more of a roller coaster."

He added, "That was basically my mandate, was just make it as much of a roller coaster as possible, and be serious about the craft of making it, and respecting the franchise, and making it as good as I can make it. But also still being able to have fun, and enjoy ourselves making it. Not winking at the audience, but still not being scared to be silly at times."

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Fans can check out Leprechaun Returns when it hits VOD and Digital HD on December 11th.

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