Leprechaun 4: In Space
A prophetic satire of Starship Troopers’ barking yahoos one year earlier, which manages to get in Richard III amidst a comprehensive spoof on Alien as a Borgesian fantasy: “the criminal is I.” It is limited by its targets, but still qualifies as a work of the Corman school.
D.H. Lawrence understood the Revelation of St. John to be the highest point of the personal revelation of Christianity, and that is how the authors of this wonderful satire understand it. There is some pretty incisive burlesque and a vast amount of entertainment to be had on every level and at every moment.
Let me give you an example of the burlesque. David Hedison as the patriarch plans to disinherit his power-hungry son (Michael York), denying him access to a “media empire” that is to be given to the public instead. The son, who is head of the European Union, laughingly kills the father, embarks on an anti-terrorism war, forms a United World Union (excepting North and South America, and China) and challenges God to destroy him. The joke is that David Hedison in this part looks rather like Andrew Carnegie.
The critics were thoroughly spooked and thoroughly bored, though one thought fit to laugh at it as the best defense. I enjoyed every moment and laughed quite a bit at the effrontery of this dazzling bit of trumpery from the director of the atrocious and delectable Leprechaun 4: In Space, with a touch of John Boorman’s neglected masterpiece Exorcist II: The Heretic. The stages of visionary surrealism that accompany the hero to the White House and the plain of Megiddo (filmed on location) are probably indescribable and have to be savored. The Chancellor of the UWU there reveals himself as the Beelzebub of Fantasia, but God Almighty quells him. Oh, this is a great film. Let the heathen rage.
Franco Nero has to stare into dead space with a look of abject horror to accommodate the graphics, and this he does perfectly. To see him with York and Hedison is altogether worth the simple price of admission. York rings the changes of evil until he bursts apart as a giant horned and winged satyric computer animation. R. Lee Ermey is perfect as the mysteriously murdered President. Forbes Riley the infomercialist plays a TV reporter who in one shot gazes with wry professional admiration at the Chancellor delivering one of his splendidly two-faced orations to the world.
The Colosseum is smashed by meteorites, tanks are stopped by lightning bolts, an earthquake destroys the Great Sphinx, there’s a “worldwide manhunt” for the new President of the United States, who is identified with the Redeemer and goes after the Chancellor single-handedly Ó la Rogue Male, oh it’s a wonderful film.
Looked at from a serious critical perspective its sheer Úlan and genius render its technical flaws and inexactitudes (such as they are) entirely meaningless and beside the point. When critics climb out from beneath their chairs and look at this uproarious, brilliant and really very easygoing film, they’ll wipe away the tears of laughter (and a little sweat) with relief.
Really, you’d think they thought you thought they were defending the Separation of Church and State, sometimes.