Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

"Terrible"

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians Review


The year is 1964 and the space race is underway. It's not unusual for producers of would-be "entertainments" of the time to make a quick buck by exploiting the public's fascination with whatever lies beyond the Earth's atmosphere - we have this same impulse to thank, in a roundabout way, for Plan 9 from Outer Space, a sterling example of crass, fly-by-night "filmmaking" that evolved into real entertainment in the decades thereafter. What makes Santa Claus Conquers the Martians unique is its marriage of the one surefire marketing hook - outer space - with that other, timeless one: Christmas. How could it miss?

Well, with whimsy this soulless, a better question becomes how could it hit? Santa Claus Conquers the Martians not only bombed in its day, it remains too grindingly stupid even to function as camp. (And it's a perennial entry in the Internet Movie Database's bottom 100 films as determined by its users.) Turns out you'll need more than Pia Zadora in her screen debut to guarantee an audience with the Mystery Science Theater crowd. (She plays a Martian child named Girmar, short for "girl Martian"; her brother is of course named Bomar, with Momar as Mommy Martian and Kimar for King.) The fact is that Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is just too stupid - not stupid in the Ed Wood way, but exasperatingly, tediously stupid - to view in a single sitting.

The film tells the story of a group of Martians who decide to kidnap Santa Claus as a way of entertaining their unhappy children. In the event, no one is entertained, but I'm getting ahead of myself here. In the movie the Martians successfully haul the jolly old elf to their planet, where an evil-doer among them sabotages his toy-making equipment. This evil Martian tries also to kidnap Santa himself, but instead abducts another Martian poorly disguised as him. The film goes on like this until the end, when a really ghastly holiday song, entitled, I believe, "Hooray for Santy Claus," is introduced.

The plot is deadly, but it's the filmmaking that really eviscerates Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. It's shot in that hopeless, bad filmmaking style in which nothing flows naturally or at any time feels organic or unplanned. In Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, characters walk into scenes and stand, deliver their lines, wait, and then exit or maybe give another line. While not speaking they stand stock still or woodenly "interact," and conversations are punctuated by little pauses between speech that give the action the delayed, artificial rhythm of a trans-Atlantic phone call.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians has now, for some unknowable reason, been made available on DVD. In my opinion this Santa is strictly for the over-medicated, but if that's you, strap in, blast off, and enjoy!

Aka Santa Claus Defeats the Aliens.



Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 81 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 14th November 1964

Budget: $200 thousand

Distributed by: Independent Pictures

Production compaines: Embassy Pictures Corporation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 15

IMDB: 2.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Nicholas Webster

Producer: Paul L. Jackson

Starring: as Santa Claus, Leonard Hicks as Kimar, Vincent Beck as Voldar, Bill McCutcheon as Dropo, Victor Stiles as Billy, Donna Conforti as Betty, Chris Month as Bomar, as Girmar, Leila Martin as Momar, Charles Renn as Hargo, James Cahill as Rigna, Ned Wertimer as Andy Henderson, Doris Rich as Mrs. Claus, Carl Don as Chochem / Von Green, Ivor Bodin as Winky, Al Nesor as Stobo, Josip Elic as Shim, Jim Bishop as Lomas, Lin Thurmond as Children TV Announcer, Don Blair as TV News Announcer, Tony Ross as Santa's Helper, Scott Aronesty as Santa's Helper, Ronnie Rotholz as Santa's Helper, Glenn Schaffer as Santa's Helper, Gene Lindsey as Polar Bear (uncredited)

Also starring:

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