When holiday preparations are in full swing, people sometimes need a bit of background spirit to help those fun activities like wrapping gifts, decorating the tree, and eating your neighbor’s two year old fruit-cake (at least that’s how it looks, I don’t touch the stuff).
Most people would probably put on Bing Crosby’s Old Fashioned Christmas, Elvis Presley’s Xmas in Hawaii, or maybe Barbara Streisand’s I’m Doing It for the Money Xmas Album. I, on the other hand, don’t care for such albums. I only seem to enjoy the electronica version of “Carol of the Bells” and Christmas parody songs.
No, when it comes to Christmas spirit, I usually go to the DVD collection for my background noise. Some of these films are classics. Some are most definitely not (except in my own mind). Some of them stop me from wrapping presents and decorating so I can make some spiked hot chocolate and laugh my ass off. The one thing they all have in common is that they infect me with the Christmas spirit, for better or for worse.
When it comes to Christmas movies, you have to take certain plots with a grain of salt. Christmas movies are meant to help us learn to care for our fellow man in order to keep with the true spirit of Christmas: giving to those less fortunate, happiness, and Santa Claus.
Unfortunately, you don’t just need a grain of salt to deal with the 1964 film Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. You need a whole bottle of tequila to go along with it.
The plot of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is nothing as amazing as Santa Claus flying to Mars on his sleigh in order to gun down little green men in an effort to save the universe. That would make too much sense. The film’s real plot is that martian children are found to be watching too much Earth television and are becoming depressed. Their martian parents see this and, since it is the holidays, plan to abduct Santa Claus and bring him back to Mars to bring happiness to their children. During the abduction, the martians scoop up two Earth kids to tell them where Santa lives.
So what is so wrong with a movie like this? Surely it’s at least cute, right?
Wrong. Because everything is wrong with this movie. From bad acting to polar bear suits to invisible ray freeze guns to martians with radiators attached to their heads to space age radar jamming devices that have the words “RADAR BOX” inscribed on them, this movie has the worst of everything. The only thing that’s amazing is the lead villains moustache. It’s as stereotypically large and evil as a villain’s moustache can be.
If that’s not enough, the movie adds in a big old pile of American propaganda into the mix with stock footage of fighter jets, aircraft carriers, and rockets being launched in order to save Santa Claus from those nasty Commies… I mean, martians. They even launch into some military marching music just in case you weren’t sure that this propaganda was more obvious than Uncle Sam punching out a martian named Vlad.
I give Santa Claus Conquers the Martians 1/4 of a fruitcake out of 5. This film barely grazes the “so bad it’s good” category.