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How Scooby-Doo led to one of the all-time cult-classic horror films

We'll never be able to unsee the similarities.

Warwick Davis as the Leprechaun
Image credit: Trimark Pictures

1993’s Leprechaun sits in a strange place among horror films. It is an unashamedly goofy film, with comedy sprinkled throughout the over-the-top gore and horror, yet it was successful enough to spawn seven sequels and achieve cult status among horror fans. It turns out it owes at least some of its success to everyone’s favorite pack of meddling kids. That’s right – Scooby-Doo has more in common with cult horror classic Leprechaun than you might think.

In a recent interview with Uproxx, Leprechaun director Mark Jones recounted how his time writing for Hanna-Barbara directly influenced his take on the horror genre. “I wanted Leprechaun to be like a live-action Scooby-Doo,” he explains, talking about how he got the urge to direct a horror film while writing for the classic cartoon. Looking back at the film, it makes more sense than we thought it would. The cast certainly has a Scooby gang feel to them, right down to the bright colors of their costumes.

It wasn’t just the cast that was influenced by Jones’ time in animation. “The sets I designed, the kitchens were orange and green and yellow,” Jones said. “I did that on purpose. I wanted to do a live-action Scooby-Doo and so that’s why I had the leprechaun on a tricycle and all that.”

We’ll mark this down as something we’ll never be able to unsee the next time we watch Leprechaun. Everything from the sets to the costumes to the dialogue feels like a Scooby-Doo script where the monster is real. All it is missing is a talking dog to make the illusion complete.

Leprechaun is currently streaming on Hulu and stars a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston and a post-Willow Warwick Davis as the blood-thirsty Leprechaun.


The spooky season offers plenty of new horror offerings to dig into, and we’ve got them all in our guide to new films coming to theaters and streaming services this year.

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