"The Twilight Zone" The Leprechaun-Artist/Dead Run (TV Episode 1986) Poster

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The Leprechaun-Artist
Scarecrow-884 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In one of those familiar 80s Spielbergian neighborhoods, three youths (Joey Green (Steve Miner's House), Bradley Gregg (Class of 1999) and Danny Nucci (James Cameron's Titanic)) actually hear a humming Leprechaun (on vacation, no less), deciding to descend upon him, carrying the little man back to their treehouse. Shawn McGool (Cork Hubber) gives up after repeated attempts to escape and offers the three a wish each. Nucci wants X-ray vision. Green wants the trio's parents to obey their every command. Gregg wants a fancy, fast car with their own driver (who has a mind of his own). We watch as each wish produces disastrous results. Thankfully, McGool is a reasonable Leprechaun and will have mercy on these teenagers who have to learn a hard lesson that every wish comes with its share of consequences. Light, unremarkable fluff; a harmless diversion with some clever moments deriving from how wishing for your own personal gratification can bring less-than-satisfying results. I think this episode of Twilight Zone might tap into the nostalgia of my generation as the neighborhood presented here resembles many of our own. And certainly a lot of us kids would've wished for some of the same things as the three do here. Hubber is good fun here as the burdened Leprechaun who just wants to have a vacation in peace, tolerating the three teenagers because he admittedly likes them. 5/10

"Dead Run" is quite a yarn. It stars Steve Railsback (I'm a big fan of this guy) as an out-of-work trucker just too impatient for his own good, always reckless in trying to pass cars around curves, with no insurance company at that point willing to cover him. He appeals to his father's old buddy, played by Northern Exposure's Barry Corbin, for help because he is reputed to get truckers jobs when it seems impossible. Well, Corbin has a job for him, but it is unlike any cargo he's ever carried anywhere: the dead to hell! Quite a bombastic premise with a hell of a cast (yeah, couldn't resist). John de Lancie (Q of Star Trek: The Next Generation) as the "high level" Manager in Charge, determining who "goes to the high road or the low road", has a chat with Railsback when he encounters a member of hell and is bothered by the fact that he really wasn't a bad fellow at all. Look carefully for Brent Spiner (Data of Star Trek: The Next Generation), his face half-hidden, as a member of the low road, not understanding why. This is an episode that questions the idea behind many facets of Christianity where there's a separation of people according to spiritual belief and their actions when alive. In "Dead Run", Railsback is deeply concerned about those sent to low road, believing that certain among them have no reason to be going there. At the end he stops the truck and questions each person (the dead being trucked to their destination) on why they were on the trip to the low road, deciding to let some of them go to the high road, determining that if Jesus went to hell to rescue souls why shouldn't he. It is quite a premise to absorb, that's for sure. Railsback offers such empathy for those on their way to the low road which makes him a potential hero as he drives the truck to and fro but the story ends recognizing that doing what he does could endanger him eventually…that's left open-ended. Corbin is the no-nonsense trucker who abides by the rules and is beholden to de Lancie. The grunts that whip the dead into order are a gruff and growly sort that not willing to tolerate disruption. Unique half hour of television with quite a spin on the afterlife. Many will recognize John De Lemay from Friday the 13th: The Series as the gay man set free by Railsback for the high road. 6/10
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Good wishes of fun have a price to pay, and a gateway to hell!
blanbrn17 March 2011
This TZ episode from season one episode 19 was pretty interesting teaching good moral lessons that fun comes at a price as it's better to stay in your own normal world. And second of off Hell really does exist on earth! The segments were titled "The Leprechaun Artist" and "Dead Run".

"The Leprechaun Artist" takes place in California involving three young boys who all want for a youth of seeing pretty girls, junk food, and fast cars. So one day when they venture out on their bikes in the California woods they meet Shaun McGool a leprechaun who's on vacation and he grants them three wishes after he's captured by the boys. The wishes turn out to be fun yet as you know with pleasure and fun comes consequence and facing up to reality, and the boys see in the end the only wish that was right for them is to be normal and stay in their own normal dull little world so it's granted when the leprechaun leaves.

Second segment "Dead Run" is a fright as it deals with the devil and dead souls going to hell. As a wild and fast fire cannon California truck driver finds his life with no promise so he takes up a job of driving to a place of the wicked and tortured it's the shipment of doomed souls to hell! Hell really could be just like an underground earth tunnel of souls that are delivered by a conflicted man! And this gives a driver and anyone else a chance to see the damage and calling for a straight up! Overall good segments that teach good moral lessons.
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Stupid Kids & The Road to Hell!
Hitchcoc23 April 2017
In the first of these, three pretty normal kids who don't know how well they have it, catch a leprechaun and are each granted a wish. Of course, they don't think through what they wish for. The terminology they use is ambiguous and thoughtless and so their wishes turn sour. In the second, Steve Railsbach (I remember playing Charlie Manson in "Helter Skelter") is a reckless trucker. He has had numerous driving encounters and has lost his insurance. Barry Corbin (Northern Exposure) gives him a tryout, bringing souls to hell. It turns out there isn't much quality control sending people to the netherworld. It's again all the right-wing bigotry. He encounters people who should never have been condemned.
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Dead Run is intriguing
safenoe28 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Steve "The Stunt Man" Railsback is the lead in Dead Run, a sober look at what's right and wrong and the morality of what is right and wrong in the eyes of Steve's character. Steve brings much intensity to his role.

If you are looking for a Twilight Zone episode where a middle aged man in a gray flanneled suit ponders the meaning of life at a merry-go- round, or a lost astronaut yelping "Where am I" (when he's only a couple of miles away from Vegas), then Dead Run isn't for you. It raises some theological issues that some Christians may find offensive, but it's a TV show.
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Dumb leprechaun comedy story & decent Steve Railsbeck instalment
Leofwine_draca15 April 2015
THE LEPRECHAUN-ARTIST is another dumb instalment of THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE, with a silly enough premise and look that I half expected Warwick Davis to pop up at any moment. Indeed I half wonder if the whole idea for those interminable LEPRECHAUN movies didn't stem from this episode after all...

In any case, the storyline involves a group of young teenagers who are after the usual kicks and stumble upon a leprechaun in the woods (as you do). It turns out the little guy has the power to grant wishes, but inevitably it all goes horribly wrong, leaving the kids with the moralistic lesson that life isn't as bad as you first think.

This is pretty much a sappy and uninteresting tale, with low rent production values and an unwelcome emphasis on comedy before anything else. The only notable thing for me was the presence of a black actor in a lead role, something noticeably missing from this series so far.

DEAD RUN is much better with an intriguing idea behind the story: a trucker is tasked with delivering a human cargo. His task? The souls in his truck have been condemned to eternal damnation so he's literally taking them on the road to Hell. The story boasts a neat performance by the reliable Steve Railsbeck who plays the on-edge trucker and it has a great little narrative with some good twists along the way. It's not perfect but it does make you think which says something.
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