Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
John Call as Santa Claus
Leonard Hicks as Kimer
Leila Martin as Momer
Chris Martin as Bomar
Pia Zadora as Girmar
Vincent Beck as Voldar
Bill McCutcheon as Dropo
Vincent Stiles as Billy
Donna Conforti as Betty
Directed by Nicholas Webster
December, although a wonderful time of year, does contain some unfortunate elements, such as holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel. Anything that sappy should have an extensive root system and produce syrup. Fortunately, I can read David Sedaris Christmas stories and watch A Christmas Story instead.
I can revisit Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, also. This product of the Edward D. Wood, Jr., School of Cinema is charming and unintentionally funny. The dialogue is clunky, the cinematography is amateurish, the costumes (or as the credits say, custumes) are laughable, the special effects are not very special, the plot is replete with holes, and the acting is unfortunate. And I cannot divert my eyes from this movie, my copy of which I bought as part of a set of fifty alleged “Sci-Fi Classics” for about $15.00 at Best Buy.
Above: Martian children Bomar and Girmer; note a young Pia Zadora on the right
Apparently life on Mars is serious. Food comes in pill form, humor is almost entirely absent (except in the form of the lazy and funny Dropo), and there is no Martian counterpart to Santa Claus. Martian children watching television from Earth have become depressed because they have no Santa Claus. This is a crisis for Mars!
So earnest Martian adults in bad make-up and costumes (or, as the credits call them, custumes) journey to Earth, abduct children Billy and Betty, and travel to the North Pole, where, with the aid of an allegedly scary robot, kidnap Santa Claus before returning to the fourth planet. You, O reader of this weblog entry, might suspect that once on Mars, Santa Claus conquers the Martians. (Consider the title of the movie, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.) You would be mistaken. Nobody conquers anyone. There is, in fact, a happy ending, which I will not divulge here.
Above: Voldar, a Martian with no sense of humor, pointing a gun at Santa Claus
I have a fascination with bad movies. Plan 9 from Outer Space and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, despite their faults, are never boring. That is more than I can say honestly about The English Patient.