Thursday, May 23, 2013


Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) d. Webster, Nicholas (USA)

Aw man, the spoiler is in the title! Yes, after some rascally Martians learn that their TV-addicted tykes are glum, they hatch a plan to kidnap jolly ol’ St. Nick (John Call), hoping that the red-suited one can chase away their angry red planet blues.

Not nearly as intentionally humorous as screenwriter Glenville Mareth and director Webster might have intended, since most of the performers fall into the over-the-top children’s theatre school of acting, with wannabe lovable Bill McCutcheon’s Droppo the biggest cringe-inducer. There’s also a little interspecies civil disagreement tossed into the mix, as evil-mustachioed villain Vincent Beck tries to submarine Santa’s plan to bring holiday cheer and joy to all the blue/green-skinned boys and girls.

Unsurprisingly a holiday TV standard, much to the chagrin of critics and discriminating filmgoers everywhere. With such an outlandish premise, it’s no surprise that no one even bothers to take the film halfway seriously, and the fact that the entire production takes place on cheapie cardboard sets only emphasizes the juvenile tone. And let's not forget the catchy musical score by Milton Delugg, featuring the ear-bleeder “Hooray for Santy Claus." A picture that truly can only be watched once a year, and by the time it comes around again, is watched only to share the misery with the uninitiated. Ho ho ho, suckers!

Little Pia Zadora, who would later reach a certain degree of infamy as the first actress to receive back to back Razzies for her saucy turns in Butterfly (1982) (for which she also won a "New Star of the Year" Golden Globe - go Foreign Press) and The Lonely Lady (1983), makes her film debut here as Martian poppet Girmar.

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