Yes, yes I can practically hear the weeping, the wailing, the gnashing of teeth.
I know Santa Claus Conquers The Martians is probably not a bona fide horror movie. I would argue that the concept of kidnapping Santa Claus and taking him to Mars has at least an undercurrent of horror.
Or it could have.
I would also argue there is level on which I can classify this as one of the most horrifying films ever made, and I use the term “made” more loosely than The Cheetoh Don uses the English language.
I would also also argue hey, my damn blog. So there.
A little backstory. A number of months back, I found out that the Pretlow Planetarium at Old Dominion University has Bad Movie Night the first Friday of every month. They show bad science fiction movies on the dome of the planetarium.
How fucking cool is that?
Obviously, in the interest of research, I had to go. The night I went, they showed Beast From Haunted Cave, itself another review for another time. The point is, I was hooked. Sadly, over the course of the next several months, I always seemed to be occupied every first Friday.
At one point a hurricane was involved.
Lo and behold, I wasn’t doing anything on December 2nd, so I checked the website. What to my wondering eyes should appear but Santa Claus Conquers The Martians.
Again, in the interest of research.
The cult following of this movie is of legendary proportions, as is its absolute lack of, well, everything. It transcends the “so bad it’s good” category in a way that’s nigh impossible to describe. The best I can do is to say it’s so bad it blasts past “so bad it’s good” and rockets into an orbit of such terribility it almost becomes surreal.
Because surrealism would require conscious effort, an awareness of technique that allows for the questioning and abandonment of technique. It would become art. I’m not willing to go that far. It comes so close, however, that I find myself unable to render a review that has any kind of coherent narrative arc.
Plus there have already been words written about its colossal awfulness. All I can offer is a random list of observations.
Names: Bomar (boy Martian), Girmar (girl Martian), Momar (their mother), Kimar (their father, the king). Everybody knows this pattern, so we’ll stop there. However, if that’s the pattern, shouldn’t that be the name of every boy, girl, and mother on Mars? Well it’s not. Apparently it only applies to our little Mar family as no other Martians are named that way.
Pia Zadora: Yeah yeah everyone knows she was Girmar. I’m just struck by the fact that her vacant expression apparently started here. And never changed. Ever.
Food Pills: Includes stuff like hamburger and asparagus. On, y’know, Mars which, at its closest, is about 35 million miles away (I didn’t know this. The planetarium guy told us). Plenty close to hit up some rancher for the steer needed to make hamburger pills. The endless green pasturage of Mars makes it ideal for gettin’ along them little dogies. Also explains cattle mutilations. Who need X-Files?
Conquers: Santa never actually conquers anyone. In fact, he’s kind of a nitwit.
Artista Del Maquillaje De La Peca: This is from the “Key Decisions” episode of Arrested Development. It means makeup artist for freckles. In the episode, Ramon Villalobos is memorialized for this at an awards show. My point is, the same honor should be bestowed on whoever was responsible for Voldar’s Super Mario moustache.
Custume Designer: Yep. A designer. Of custumes. Says it right in the credits. Custumes.
Based On: Opening credits say, “Based on a story by Paul L. Jacobson.” I gotta find this story.
Hooray For Santa Claus: I heard it. I can’t get it out of my head and now feel hellbound to share it. I don’t recommend watching this but can’t resist offering you the opportunity. You’ve been warned.
I know, that was a vile thing to do, but I offer no apologies. And anyway, still beats the hell out of It’s A Wonderful Life.