Directed by Nicholas Webster
The Martians need somebody to give gifts to their kids so naturally they kidnap Santa (John Call) because reasons in this movie that ranks as one of the worst films ever made.
The question is where to begin when discussing this enduring train wreck. Here we are over a half century later talking about a really bad movie. And that is where its appeal and strength lay: it is bad. The creators though did not set out to make a bad film. They were aiming for “good” and completely missed the mark when their missile exploded on the launch pad and devastated permanently the base and several nearby towns. But that they were giving it a serious effort that shows and that is what saves it
The acting is wooden in a good scene. Cringy worthy in a campy way in a bad scene. The script is just horrible and that is being kind. This is supposed to be family friendly but that does not mean it is okay to be weak. It is worse than a children’s Saturday morning cartoon.
I am not sure how to explain the thinking that gave us the end product. I guess if someone snorted a line of cocaine off of a hooker’s ass cheek and took some other drugs they may have come up with this movie. I have no explanation how it came into existence other than serious drugs with the creator’s hearts in the right place. It is a seriously messed up assault on the senses and intellect.
There is just so much weird and bad in this movie. And maybe that’s part of this film’s staying power. These people gave it their all to make something good and it just wasn’t but you can tell they’re trying really hard and this isn’t a cheap cash grab for them but rather a serious attempt at making a good film. Their skill did not match their reach.
But it does have a charm and some kind of hypnotic quality that kept me to the end. I do not know why though. The sets are bad, and the costumes are worse. Or is that the other way around. It is hard to tell as the crap permeates your brain and creates a slack jawed stupor the likes of which can only be recreated with the finest medications available to mental health experts. Much like an accident along the road, you need to watch. Why? Even you will not be sure.
For some this was the highpoint of their feature film career. In fact, this was their only point in their feature film career. A few would go on beyond this though. Ned Wertimer who plays Andy Anderson here would go on to be the doorman in the classic comedy series The Jeffersons. Vincent Beck who plays Voldar worked steadily in one form or another in the industry until his death in 1984. Bill McCutcheon who played the part of Dropo worked with some regularty afterwards. It is interesting to note this is probably the best-known role of actress turned singer Pia Zadora. Nothing else she has done is really watched or talked about that much today.
Fun fact: this is the first known onscreen appearance of the character of Mrs. Claus. This film arrived THREE WEEKS before Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer hit the airwaves. This movie has been shown regularly over the decades and got a boost in popularity from series like Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Elvira’s Movie Macabre with performers from the former doing commentary on the film on Cinematic Titanic as well as RiffTrax.
I do not know if you will like Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. I do not even know if you should watch it, but it is a cult classic Christmas film and maybe that is enough to get you to give it some consideration.