Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler...Former teacher... Scientist... Published author... Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published December 17th 2019
Be warned - contains Santa, Martians and conquering
After my recent look at the film Santa's Slay, and my averring that I like bad films and it wasn't one, I got to thinking about the many and varied Christmas movies in my DVD/VHS collection. I did mention the worst film I have ever seen is a Christmas film, and I debated talking about that film. This is not that film.
This is far older and far weirder and far more watchable.
People, I give you Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964).
Here's the list of people responsible: directed by Nicholas Webster; produced and screenplay by Paul L. Jacobson; original story by Glenville Mareth. I would put down the list of people who "starred" in this film but none of them are really actually known… except for Pia Zadora… appearing as a green-skinning Martian child some ten years before she won the "Best Newcomer' award at the Golden Globes (showing what a crock of rubbish those awards are).
I should also point out that the closing theme song 'Hooray For Santy Claus!' by Milton Delugg is an earworm of incredible power. I went out and, after three years of searching, found the '45 of it. I now have it as an mp3, and it is guaranteed to make any Christmas party grind to a screeching halt and make people throw popcorn at you. Trust me – I learnt this the hard way.
I'd say, "Spoilers!" but, really, who cares?
Our story. Martian children are depressed watching "Earth programmes". What, you may ask, are they watching? Something featuring a Kardashian? No, apparently something worse than that (no, seriously) – shows about Santa Claus.
Now the ruler of Mars, a highly technological society, goes to see the wise man. Who lives in a cave and speaks like he's had an aneurysm. Based on his words of wisdom, the Martians come to Earth in order to kidnap Santa Claus. They find two children to help them, so they get kidnapped as well, and this group go to the North Pole. There the children escape and are menaced by the single worst polar bear ever in the history of entertainment.
This is not a man on all fours in a rug. Honestly.
So they find Santa's workshop, he renders the robot useless, but the Martians use some sort of freeze ray to convince Santa to go along with them. This means the Martians have captured three Earthlings. Anyway, the bad guy (recognisable as such by his droopy moustache) tries to undermine this effort to get Santa, and he tries to kill Santa as they fly back to Mars, but Santa does Santa things and they're fine.
On Mars, Santa is installed in a workshop while the bad guy goes into hiding. The bad guy interrupts the mechanised workshop so the toys are ruined, but this does not stop things. However, one of the Martians – a moron named Droppo – helps Santa and through a series of contrivances, ends up in a Santa suit and is kidnapped by the bag guy's henchmen. Because they couldn't recognise the green-skinned alien as being different from the decidedly Caucasian Santa.
The bad guys threaten to do nasty things to Santa, but then the bad guy is taken down by a bunch of toys and kids (this is after having the worst filmed fight ever in the history of cinema with the ruler of Mars). Droppo is installed as Mars' Santa, the real Santa and the children are returned to Earth and we have the theme song is played with the lyrics on the screen so you can sing along, and all is right with the world.
I wish I was making this up. The story makes no sense and it looks just really… well, the best word for it is "cheap". This is not an award-winning film by any stretch of the imagination, and I am sure even children in the 1960s when this film was made would have been stupefied by it. You cannot understand exactly how truly bizarre this film is until you watch it.
This is a weird film in so many ways. Some of the actors try their hardest to make their roles work (okay, over-acting is quite the norm), but what lets this film down are the costumes, the sets, the dialogue, the music and the "special effects". However, it is one of those films that once you start watching it, you cannot stop. It has that sort of mesmerising effect on the poor viewer. And it is available on DVD! I got the colourised version, but the original black and white is out there as well.
No, seriously, if you want a weird way to cap off Christmas night with the whole family – who can probably all enjoy this on different levels – then Santa Claus Conquers The Martians is the film for you. Oh, and there are several drinking games (every time one of the characters makes a weird face, every time "Santa" is said, every stupid thing Droppo does) we have done when watching this.
Yes, you do not know a real Christmas until you are with a group of 30-odd year olds and their children, all sitting down after tea on Christmas Day in order to watch a truly awful Christmas movie together and enjoying every minute of it.
But… you have been warned.
And as a Christmas gift from me to you – here's the theme song!