Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Blaise’s Bad Movie Guide

Criticizing “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” (1964) is like flogging a dead reindeer. Many of you may have heard of this gem, but how many of you have actually endured — I mean, seen — it?

We start off with the catchy song “Hooray for Santy Claus” played over the opening credits (sample lyrics: “Hang up that mistletoe, soon you’ll hear ho-ho-ho”), then it’s on to the plot: Martian children, it seems, are not paying attention to their studies, instead watching Earth TV (on large flatscreens, I might add). Commander Kimar’s two children, one played by Pia Zadora, are especially lethargic. Next we meet the servant Dropo, surely the most annoying character since the Jerry Lewis impersonator in “Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla” (let me tell you about that one some time). We also meet the film’s villain, Voldar, who looks like Ben Stiller in “Dodgeball.”

The group consults an old seer, who appears as if he’s going to keel over. Actually he does — or just passes out, it’s hard to tell. The master plan: Kidnap Santa Claus and bring him to Mars to perk up the kids.

Arriving on Earth, the aliens abduct tots Billy and Betty to lead them to Santa. Of course the kids don’t hit it off with Voldar.

“Is your head a TV?” Billy asks.

“What a stupid question,” Voldar snarls.

En route to the North Pole the kids escape and manage to survive an attack by a man in a polar bear suit. The Martians, meanwhile, kidnap Santa from his workshop, immobilizing Mrs. Claus in the process. (At first Santa is horrified at this, then begins to see the benefits of the situation.)

It all comes to an end when the kids attack Voldar with toys and baseball bats, while Santa looks on, laughing like a loon as he smokes a pipe that must have been supplied by Cheech and Chong. The theme song returns, informing us that “You spell it S-A-N-T-A C-L-A-U-S, hooray for SANTY Claus.”

Happily, Santa returns to hanging out with his favorite reindeer (named Nixon) and making toy rockets that run on real rocket fuel.

Christmas never had it so good.

— Blaise Majkowski

Gazette page designer and
B-movie aficionado

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