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It’s Strange Movie Sunday – be excited!

For this week’s Strange Movie Sunday, I selected “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” The title itself is a masterpiece of strangeness. I had been planning to feature a different movie involving low-budget child cannibals, but when I started watching it, I realized I’m just not in a cannibalistic mood tonight. Maybe next time.

I’m going to review “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” in a sort of live blogging, stream of consciousness style – just because.

“Santa Claus Conquers the Martians,” or SCCM, as it’s commonly known, opens with a new broadcast from Santa’s workshop in the North Pole. Apparently he thinks one of his reindeer is named Nixon?

The reporter makes the fatal mistake of saying he hopes any inhabitants of Mars have someone like Santa Claus to bring good cheer to all the children.

He’s overheard by the Martians, who apparently are humanoids who wear strange green garb and smear green makeup on their faces. Their children spend their days watching educational programs broadcast from earth. Also, they must live fairly grim lives, as the first two children we encounter have the following exchange after hearing these terms on the TV:

Child 1: What are dolls?

Child 2: I don’t know. What is tender loving care?

Child 1: I don’t know.

Their elders go to seek advice from the old wise man of the wood who tells them they need a Santa Claus on Mars because their children never have the chance to have fun. So they set out to steal him because “Earth has had Santa long enough.”

They kidnap a couple of kids on earth, take them to the North Pole; the kids escape and go to warn Santa, blah, blah, blah.

I was getting a bit bored, but suddenly the most hilarious looking fake polar bear has risen from the snowy landscape and chased the children, who find it difficult to look convincingly scared.

And now, the little girl mistakes a very tin-canny robot for Santa’s workshop. I think she may need an eye exam. And the evil Martian (most of them aren’t evil, but this one is, as evidenced by his ferocious mustache) is telling the robot to crush them. The good Martian prevents them from being crushed.

The robot enters Santa’s workshop. Santa greets him by telling him he’s the biggest toy he’s ever seen. Santa is captured, and later Mrs. Claus positively identifies the kidnappers as Martians because there’s nothing else that men in green capes could possibly be.

Santa is a charming fellow who tells jokes like this one: What’s something that’s soft and round and you put it on a stick and you toast it in the fire and it’s green.

A martianmellow. Har, har, har…knee slap.

The evil Martian traps Santa and the children in a room with the door to space opening in 60 seconds. The suspense is killing me. The Martians have a hilariously fake fight, and Santa and the kids escape through the air vent.

They’ve landed on Mars. Santa makes kids laugh. Ho ho ho. Then Santa is told he’ll never go back to earth. Oh noes!

One of the Martian’s dresses in Santa’s other suit and is kidnapped by the evil Martian due to mistaken identity.

The Martians have a “nuclear curtain” that disintegrates people when they pass through it, but the nuclear curtain machine can be effectively sabotaged by switching two light bulbs.

The evil Martian is attacked by toys and children as Santa laughs maniacally.

I won’t spoil the ending for you. I’ll just say that Santa and the earth children are able to return home and Mars continues to have a cheery Santa-ish presence.

This film certainly won’t bump “The Christmas Story,” “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” out of their spots as Christmas favorites, but at least it gave me a new joke to tell.

Martianmellows. Hilarious. And there’s a catchy ending tune. Hooray for Santy Claus!!!!!

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