Horror 365 Movie 2: Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (Or Santa Barada Nikto) And Audience Participation

santaRight, so a little cheating continues. But only a little. It seemed only right that if we start off with a movie as festive as Krampus, we should keep this Yuletide train a-rollin’ right?

So, there’s now a list of all the christmas and christmas-like horror movies I could round up and put in a separate box. The problem is, I can only think of 13, and I need 19 (preferably more). Hence, the audience participation.

At the end of this post, I will list the movies I have so far. Your job is to leave me more titles in the Comments. That said, on with Santa Claus Conquers The Martians. 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 could.

I would also argue there is a 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 trump “uses” the English language.

I would also also argue hey, my damn blog. So there.

badA little backstory. A number of years 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 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, Friday 12/02/16 rolled around, and I wasn’t doing anything, 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.


That’s because surrealism requires conscious effort, an awareness of technique that allows for the questioning and abandonment of said technique. That’s what would make it artistic. 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 this flick’s colossal awfulness. All I can offer at this point 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: Most people know 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. Artista Del Maquillaje Del Bigote if you will.

Power up

Custume Designer: Not my typo. Says it right in the credits.

Based On: “Based on a story by Paul L. Jacobson.” I gotta find this.

Hooray For Santy 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.

Hooray For Santy Claus

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.

Ye Olde Yuletide List
(I need at least 6 more suggestions. Help me out in the Comments)
Better Watch Out
Black Christmas (1974)
Black Christmas (2019)
A Christmas Carol (all of them)
Good Tidings
Midnight Kiss
A Nasty Piece Of Work
New Year, New You
Rare Exports
Silent Night, Bloody Night
Tales From The Crypt (“All Through The House” segment)