Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Film) Review

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A Christmas B-movie? Where do I sign? Surely the only thing better than that would be a Christmas Shark Movie?

I’m going to spare you the preamble this time around, just to say this was on Jill’s movie bucket list and I own it (for some reason) on DVD. To the movie!

*Spoilers ahead*

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

Director: Nicholas Webster
Stars: John Call, Leonard Hicks, Vincent Beck

IMDB Synopsis:

The Martians kidnap Santa Claus because there is nobody on Mars to give their children presents.

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Just your average Friday night

My Review

Where to start with this one? I’m not sure what I just watched. The most notable thing I can mention is that one of the Martian children, Girmar (Girl Martian, you see?) is played by Pia Zadora who played Beatnik Chick in John Water’s Hairspray (1988). Which is cool.

So. We first meet the Martians, parents Momar (Leila Martin) and Kimar (Hicks) who are worried about their Martian children. They have been doing what all good children do if they can get away with it and that’s rinsing too much TV. In this case it’s Earth TV and is therefore much more dangerous and progressive. Through this exercise it seems Girmar and Bomar (Chris Month) have been learning all about Santa (Call) via a channel called KID-TV.

Concerned about the low moods of their offspring, Momar and Kimar visit ancient sage Chochem (Carl Don – think Yoda but more shit), who tells them that the children of Mars are becoming distracted. There’s a bit about how Martian youths are brought up to not have individual thoughts but I wasn’t really taking it in. I do agree though, freedom of expression should be kept from children until the very last minute.

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Death by really shit robot

Anywho, Chochem says he’s seen this coming for a long time (dude is, like, 800 years old) and advises that the only way to deal with this issue is to let the kids have some fun. Wooooooo. The leaders decide they need to get their own Santa Claus figure to spread some cheer round Mars. Later, they cut out the middle man and resolve to kidnap the real Santa and bring him to their manor to entertain the children.

A plan is concocted that makes no sense whatsoever but two bratty children are kidnapped to lure out the real Santa (?) who they get their hands on relatively easily. Security is slack around the North Pole apparently. Santa himself is deeply annoying and deserves to be smothered along with the children, so it’s quite refreshing when one of the Martians, Voldar (Beck) decides to try and kill them all. (This is motivated by him being staunchly against the Santa plan and wanting to keep the Mars traditions alive and well). Voldar is identified as evil by his nefarious facial hair.

On Santa’s arrival, he is required to build a toy factory with the kids who have also been snatched from Earth 🌏 (no child labour laws on Mars, apparently) but it ends up being sabotaged by Evil ‘Tache and his henchmen, Stobo (Al Nesor) and Shim (Josip Elic).

In the excitement, Kimar’s assistant, Dropo (Bill McCutcheon) dresses like Santa and also gets kidnapped (they think he’s the real deal). Lots of  hostage situations litter this plot-line, I think Martians have a lot of issues to work through.

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Cheer up you little shits

Anyway, there’s an escape from the cave in which Dropo’s being held, the Earth kids get pally with the Martian kids, the Earth kids get homesick, Santa and Dropo save Christmas on Mars and then… well, will Santa ever get back to business on good old Earth, or does he risk disappointing the children of the world? You’ll see.

My Thoughts

God, this is some schmaltzy shit. It’s kitsch as fuck which is really the only thing it has going for it. You won’t give a damn about any of the characters, except maybe Mrs. Claus (Doris Rich) who isn’t supposed to be but is the comic relief for me. Momar is sweet and earnest as well, and genuinely gives a damn.

Voldar is probably the hottest Martian on the planet, which isn’t really saying much. The whole thing is instantly forgettable without much to say, other than that we should be greatful for what we have as some people don’t have as much. Which isn’t a bad Christmas message to be fair.

I think I watched this a long time ago and remembered it being a lot more enjoyable. It has its moments of darkness but overall it’s a very American film with a hard candy shell and not an awful lot going on in the centre. Does anyone want my DVD?

My Rating

2/5. Pretty bad. Watch Home Alone again instead.

What did Jill think of her pick? Was it just bonkers enough to keep her interested or is she plotting to have it kidnapped like literally every other character in this movie? Find out here

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STFU Santa