Santa Claus Conquers the Martians Live Rifftrax

You know this'll be OUT OF THIS WORLD.
"Santa Brings Christmas Fun to Mars!"

Good morning everyone, welcome back to The Tagline, your window to a stupider world of cinema. Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending ANOTHER live Rifftrax event, this time a Christmas themed event riffing one of the old MST3K favorites, and what is considered one of the worst movies ever made: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. While not regarded as being quite as terrible as Manos: The Hands of Fate, a film that is approximately 25% driving footage without opening credits, Santa Conquers the Martians is still undeniably a putrid pile of garbage. Made in 1964 as part of the non-existent demand for movies featuring Santa Claus going on space adventures, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (or Santy Claus if we're believing the children who sing the opening theme over the credits) is about a bunch of Martian guys who decide they're going to abduct Santa because their children all act sullen. They determine this is because they don't know how to have fun, and so they apparently need Santa and the commercial orgy that is Christmas so that they can be good little American children, and crave baseball bats and toy trains. The Martian leaders learn these important details from a bizarre old hobo who lives in the forest and disappears in a poof of smoke after crying about Christmas and how sad children are. No I am not exaggerating, that is exactly what happens, except I guess maybe he isn't a hobo, though he certainly looked and behaved like an aged drunk who lives in the woods, spouting insane nonsense about Santa Claus.

The girl one is 80s flash in the pan Pia Zadora at age 8.
Kimar, who is king of the Martians (there's a lot of really creative naming among the Martian characters) is opposed by Voldar, who's porn mustache is dissatisfied with the idea of happy children and Christmas time. This leads to lots of tense action scenes where there are extreme closeups on people's faces and really fake looking badly choreographed fight scenes. The movie is full of memorable and lovable characters, like The eponymous Santy Claus, who has a hearty laugh that makes him sound like a scheming pedophile whenever he decides to bust it out. Is he actually? I can't say for sure, but I probably wouldn't leave him alone in space with those two children. Or any children actually, he seems to get them into dangerous situations involving airlocks if nothing else. Also there is the (lovable?) Dropo, described by Kimar as "the laziest man on Mars" I'm never really clear on why he lives in Kimar's house, sleeping under the table, but he does, and his exceptional ability to be useless and irritating brings joy to the hearts of no one ever. Obviously though the star of the show is the man in a silly looking polar bear suit... who was supposed to be an actual polar bear. No seriously, it was like a guy crawling around in a furry polar bear suit, clawing at the kids as they hid inside the "snow cave" at the "north pole". I mean, I don't want to insinuate that there was an illusion there TO BE broken, but if there had been this would have definitely done it. I guess you can't have a real polar bear attack them, but then again I think I wouldn't have minded if those kids had been mauled by a bear.

This is Momar and Dropo! and Santa of course. Fuck the kids.
The two "Earth children" are Billy and Betty, and Billy, being the boy, bosses around Betty and tells her what to do, mostly "wait" "come on Betty, no wait again okay come on Betty." Did you ever play Resident Evil 4? Leon's relationship in game with Ashley is a lot like the dialogue between Billy and Betty, which is to say repetitive and annoying. Obviously in a cinematic disaster like this there won't be GOOD dialogue anywhere, but in particular Billy and Betty will really grate on your nerves (almost as much as Dropo). There's plenty of exciting and occasionally inexplicable stock footage present too. The governments of Earth are keen to pursue the Martians, so we see lots of pictures of guys in uniforms and tables, airplanes taking off, you know that sort of stuff. Also one sequence of a airplane refueling in mid-air for some reason? I'm not really sure why we needed to see that gripping footage, but I guess sometimes you just need to pad out the length of your piece of shit movie.

So long as I'm picking on specific details in a movie whose entirety is shitty, I always love when old sci-fi movies have people eating food in pill form. See it's especially great here because if you were eating a food pill, presumably it would nourish you BUT WHY WOULD YOU HAVE A PILL FOR SOMETHING LIKE ICE CREAM. I can't even begin to imagine how the half-assed writers conceive that a food pill would work, like oh, this offers all the nutritional equivalent of an ice cream cone, so you know, nothing actually useful to your body, and also it doesn't taste like anything because IT IS A PILL. Why would Martians even know what chocolate or ice cream were? Do they have cows? WHAT THE HELL YOU STUPID MOVIE WHY ARE YOU SO STUPID?

Bill had a couple lineflubs, and sank into deep shame.
...ahem, sorry. Okay I admit, if the movie includes Martians toting Wham-O Airblasters as weapons, and a man in a bear suit who isn't Nicholas Cage, I probably should expect the rest of the parts to be crap too. I would not recommend watching this movie without some kind of commentary track over it, unless you simply love watching things that are terrible. This was originally riffed as an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I believe Cinematic Titanic (which is comprised of virtually everyone who worked on MST3K who isn't part of Rifftrax) also did a riff of this movie. I should also take time to note the Christmas themed short they played BEFORE the movie proper, which was about a fairy snow queen turning a bunch of toys to life. These included weird marching soldier man, a terrifying Jack-in-the-box guy, and something called a candy lion, that will keep me up at night for years to come. The segment was hosted by a freakish sprite called Snoopy that closely resembled Mr. B Natural in demeanor (if you watch MST3K you'll know what I'm talking about.

I probably should have included it before, but for more Rifftrax stuff, including recordings of some of the previous live riffs, check out their website here: http://www.rifftrax.com/.

That's all for today folks! Join me again on Thursday, for more off-topic commentary, and the promise of me giving away a copy of Supergirl on DVD?

Here's a little bonus.

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