Matt Watches Bad Movies: Santa Claus Conquers The Martians

Santa Claus Conquers The Martians Poster
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians Poster

I have to wonder what they were thinking. It certainly wasn’t “man, we sure are making a great movie!” I wonder if it was maybe “I sure am going to get a big refund next year, what with all the write offs you can claim by making a movie!” or perhaps “I GOT HIGH AND HAD A NIGHTMARE THAT MARTIANS KIDNAPPED SANTA LET’S MAKE A MOVIE OUT OF IT!”

Given that this film was released in 1966 I kind of think it might be that last one actually.

There was definitely a golden age of bad films and this was made in that era. Complete with poorly applied makeup, ridiculously cheap looking sets, hairdryers for rayguns, forced laughter at stupid jokes and music that cuts randomly as camera angles change. On the upside, movies from that time have awesome posters. Just check out this one in high resolution. Look at the detail and the ridiculous taglines and the wonderful typography and… well, we’re not here to critique posters are we?

We start on Mars where the children are all autistic. They watch TV and don’t speak and seem able to calculate the number of matches on the floor in a matter of moments. They never laugh though, so the supreme and super serious leader of the planet is concerned. He takes some people with him to visit someone smarter than himself but in the end just ends up talking to a hobo who moonlights as an amateur magician. The magician tells them that the children aren’t children but they could be if only they’d give them hopes and dreams that the adults could eventually crush.

Since it’s Septober –yes, I shit you not, it’s Septober on Mars. I hear it’s lovely that time of year. Awfully mild– that means it’s December on Earth and they can kidnap Santa Claus. Except the moustachioed bad guy think that having kids with autism is awesome and doesn’t want to have any part of it. Naturally, he then joins the mission to kidnap Santa.

The martians fly to earth on a spaceship made of cardboard and fly over a city and all the mall santas confuse them. They land, uh, somewhere else and kidnap two children who tell them where to find Santa in the North Pole. Oh, did I mention the whole world knows that Santa is real in this> The movie starts with a live newscast from his workshop.

When they get there they send in the totally-not-a-guy-in-a-cardboard-box model Robot they keep on hand but Santa does something and suddenly it’s just a toy.

They still manage to grab Santa and run all the way home, and on the way Moustacheo tries to vent Santa AND the two kids out an airlock just to prove he’s the villain. Think about that for a second though, he tries to kill two kids. This is going to come up later.

Back on Mars Super Serious Leader introduces his kids to the earth kids. Then Santa enters the room and starts laughing. Not just his usual “ho ho ho”, more of a “creepy old pedophile locked in a room with two kids” kind of creepy as hell laugh. Seriously.

Santa Builds a toy shop and he and the kids “work” there. Moustacheo sabotages the workings of the machinery by opening a panel that’s clearly not a bit of wood with wires sticking out of it at all and waves a wrench in it’s vicinity.

And now I have to tell you about the character I’ve been avoiding talking about. Dumbo, the laziest stupidest man on Mars or any other planet. A character who earlier in the film claims to have forgotten how to sleep and is constantly doing stupid shit for no reason. A character who in any kind of sane universe wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near important things, let alone kind of in charge of them.

Anyway, he’s taken a shining to Santa, dresses up like him and Moustacheo takes him hostage by accident. How Moustacheo mistook a guy he already knows with green skin and a ridiculous head mounted computer (totally not made from a bike helmet, by the way) for a white guy from Earth is never explained.

When he figures out he’s been duped he goes for the real Santa but the kids fend him off with toys. No, you read that right, the kids set toys on Moustacheo while Santa sits there and laughs his creepy laugh. These aren’t even toys that would hurt. One of them seems to be a Nerf Gun even, but our villain is completely overwhelmed and is holding a raygun AND had already earlier nearly succeeded in killing two of the four kids.

Super Serious Leader shows up and saves the day and when Santa sees Dumbo dressed up in the red suit he says “oh, you’ve already got a Santa so I can go home now.” To which his kidnappers say “yeah, cool bro” and send him home and the credits roll.

So, dumb plot with no real resolution and did you notice that Santa Claus doesn’t actually conquer anyone? I was hoping from the title that Santa would ride in on his sleigh and slay some Martians (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) but no such luck. Just the worst Christmas move I’ve ever seen.

It kid of has to be seen to be believed but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s campy enough that I’ll give it a bonus star but in addition to being a bad movie it’s also just not very good. I fell asleep the first time I watched it and I don’t generally fall asleep during movies. While I’m also writing. During the day. After two cups of tea. It does have an awesome poster though.

So maybe do check it out if you have insomnia.

Rating: 1/10 (for camp value)

Matt Watches Bad Movies is a weekly feature in which Matt watches a bad film so you don’t have to. If you have suggestions of something terrible you’ve seen, or haven’t seen but are morbidly curious about, feel free to make suggestions in the comments or via twitter @posterboy81

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