Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Directed by David Quaid

Written by Paul Jacobson

Tagline: “Blast off for Mars… with Santa and a pair of Earth kids!”

Run Time: 81 min

Other titles: "Santa Claus Defeats the Aliens "


Just the title is enough to make my tooth fillings ache. I picture a hairy-armed goon strapping me into a chair and shoving cane sugar down my throat until I choke to death. Dispite the all-too-real threat of losing my mind, I knew what had to be done: yes, I must sit through this sugar-coated, caramel-filled, so-sweet-it-hurts-and-hurts-and-hurts piece of crud that by all rights should be banished from the known universe. Not only will I sit through this film, but I will also document my journey scene by scene. Why do I do these things? Don’t ‘normal’ people have ‘normal’ things to do? Play football, watch TV, whittle wooden flutes? Why do I have to seek enjoy such painful endeavors such as this? Ok, the excitement is too much now…let me take a big bite of this sugar pie for you, so you don’t have to.

I will say that I understand that this movie was meant for kids. However, just because the target audience is children it doesn’t mean you should try and get away with sacrificing quality and making a piece of junk like this film.

The movie begins with cheesy, generic "Christmasy" music, a song called "Hooray for Santa Claus" if you really must know, and "groovy" 1960’s colors and backgrounds upon which the opening credits are shown. After a few seconds we see..oh my God, wait a minute…they have misspelled the opening credits!:

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

You know it’s going to be a bad movie when the credits are misspelled…"Custume Designer"…?!

Another interesting credit, maybe a little inside favors, John Jr. pulling some strings for John the 3rd? (Also liked the position of "Wardrobe Mistress"):

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

"Hey Dad, can I have a job?"…."Sure son! How about Set Decorator?"

(Better ask ‘The Mistress’ first…)

Ok, is this movie ever going to start?

Ah yes. A news anchorman (for "KID" TV, get it ‘Kid’`TV? Ha! Ha! My sides are killing me!) is telling us that for the first time in history, news correspondent Andy Henderson will be sending a live interview from Santa’s workshop on the North Pole. As the broadcast continues, we see that this scene is not taking place in an ordinary Earth living room, but rather a Martian living room. How do we know? By the green Martian children of course!

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Ohhh! Martians!

The two children stare vacantly at the TV as Andy broadcasts from Santa’s workshop. Adorned in a big fur jacket, Andy makes some extremely lame jokes (yes, I know this movie was aimed at children, but these jokes really stink!). Andy, finished laughing at his own jokes, mercifully ends his excruciating opening monologue and moves into the workshop to talk with Santa and the elves (re: exploited midget actors in goofy elf costumes).

The elves, busily constructing toys for all the boys and girls of the world, ignore Andy as he moves through the work area on his way to talk with the pipe-puffing, smoke-enshrouded Santa (now that’s a nice role model for you). Andy introduces himself to Santa and the interview proceeds. We learnt that there is a hot rumor going around that Santa is going to use a "rocket sled" this year. (You all remember that rumor, right?) With a wave of his hand, Santa dismisses the rumor and reassures the viewers that he will continue to deliver presents as he has done for time eternal: reindeer. Santa even manages to name 4 or 5 of them before coming confused (even mentioning a reindeer called "Nixon" (!)).

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Andy and Santa. Ho! Ho! Ho!

Thankfully, Mrs. Claus interrupts this friendly banter and admonishes Santa for spending time talking to his visitor when there is so much work to be done before Christmas. When Mrs. Claus realizes she’s on TV, she changes her tune, waving at the camera and saying "hello" to everybody, before giggling and running off.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Mrs. Clause hamming it up

After Mrs. Claus’s rather odd performance and departure, Santa offers to show some of the year’s new toys to Andy. The two proceed to the "Space Department" headed by the esteemed elf, Winky. One of the year’s newest developments is a toy rocket that runs on "…real rocket fuel…". Gee Santa, that sounds like something I’d want my kids to have. Sounds real safe to me!

A rather ‘under whelmed’ Andy feigns interest and courteously nods his head before pulling out a different toy from under a wad of paper. The toy is a green Martian doll that Winky has dreamed up on his own (better not be doing that on company time, Winky!!!) (See Classic Lines for a stomach-churning example of the sickening-sweetness that permeates this entire film). Upon seeing the Martian doll, the conversation turns to the issue of whether or not there is life on Mars. Santa is unsure, but Andy politely comments that if there is life on Mars he hopes they have somebody as sweet and nice as Santa to spread good cheer to all the Martian children. (ugh) (Strangely, Santa refers to Andy as "Andy Anderson". Whoops! Better go over your lines one more time.)

Back on Mars, one of the Martians, Chief Kimar, wakes up one of his slumbering subordinates, the unbelivably irritating Dropo, by using a "tickle ray". After being mercilessly tickled for a few seconds, Dropo jumps to attention after having his, *ahem*, antennas extended by Kimar (Hey now! This is a kids movie! Kimar pulls out Dropo’s antennas from his helmet!)

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Dropo, another victim of "Tickle Ray" abuse

Kimar calls Dropo "…the laziest man on Mars…" and wants to know why he was laying on the floor sleeping during work hours. (Not to split hairs, but wouldn’t he be the laziest Martian on Mars?) Dropo makes a stupid joke (which my brain will not allow me to type) and gets away with just a mild scolding. Kimar also wants to know where his wife, Lady Momar, can be found. Dropo informs Kimar that Momar is in the "…food pill center…" getting some food pills (well, duh!) It turns out that the children haven’t been eating too well lately, on which Kimar blames the Earth programs that they have been watching as of late. In fact, the kids are watching Earth programs in the very next room! Kimar storms off to investigate!

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Kimar, concerned Martian parent

The two children, Bomar and Girmar (played by Pia Zadora, if you really must know) are watching the Andy Henderson interview with Santa. The crux of the problem is that Martian children are brought up without ever knowing what love is. Martian children are brain-washed to be productive citizens, sacrificing their childhoods for the benefit of Martian society. (Given the fact that this movie was made during the cold war, 1964, I can’t help but wonder if the Martian society portrayed in this movie is a not-so-subtle jab at Communism…)

Kimar catches his children in the act, and chides them for watching silly Earth programs. He tells them to go to sleep, which meets with resistance as the kids want to see more of the Santa Claus interview. Overruled, the disappointed children march of to their spacey Martian beds, heads hung low.

Concerned with the change in his children’s behavior, Kimar and a group of other Martians seek the advice of the wisest of Martian sages in his smoke filled lair, the Yoda-like Chochem:

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Chochem

The croaky-voiced Chochem asks Kimar what time of year it is (hmm…how wise is this guy anyway?). Kimar tells Chochem it’s the middle of Septober (Get it? September plus October equals: Septober! Cool!) Ah, now Chochem makes his point clear: he meant what time of year is it on Earth! Christmas time! Touche! Chochem further explains that Christmas is a special time for children full of anticipation, joy, and excitement for Earth children. The whole concept of Christmas is met with ridicule by the Martians and want to know what any of this has to do with their children. Chochem, scores another two-points by wisely noting that Martians don’t have children, per se: They are merely children’s bodies with the minds of adults! (Ouch! That’s gotta hurt, Kimar!) Chochem’s exposition continues, and continues, and continues (C’mon! This is a kid’s movie! Let’s get things moving here!)

Chochem finally ends up by saying that the children must be allowed to be children. In fact, if I may dare quote the Wise One, "..They must be allowed to play!" (See Classic Dialog) Chochem even suggests that a Martian Santa Claus (or at least a Santa Claus on Mars) should fix things up nicely. All of this exposition turns out to be too much for the aged Chochem, as he then stutters and mumbles, bows his head, and promptly disappears in a puff of smoke (!). Mmmmkay.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

The Martian Concerned Parents Group discusses the kidnapping of Santa

Despite the objections of one of the more outspoken Martians, Voldar (who insists that the children are fine how they are), Kimar decides that they will leave for Earth that very night in "…spaceship number one." Treated to some scenes of a goofy rocket ship (that can actually produce rocket engine sounds in the vacuum of inter-planetary space), the four Martians arrive in Earth orbit (even though I can see at least 3 planets in the ship’s front view port…where the hell are these guys exactly?)

Kimar peers at an Earth city through the ship’s view scopes. Voldar notes how primitive Earthlings are, even mentioning that one blast of the Martian "Q-Ray" could take out the entire city! (What a sweet-heart this guy is.) Kimar stops this foolish chat and describes Santa to the others so they can begin searching for him amongst the Earth’s population with the view scopes (…umm, this could take a while). Incredibly, Voldar immediately spots Santa ringing a bell in front of a store! Kimar spots him too! But it’s not the same Santa: he’s standing in front of a different store! Wait! There’s one on a street corner! There’s hundreds of Santas (please don’t make me explain that they are seeing different people throughout the city dressed up as Santa.) The Martians finally agree to take one at random.

Before they can put their plan into effect, their spaceship is spotted by the military and terristrial forces are scramble to investigate. Now we are treated to an entirely-too-long sequence of military stock footage: Generals in heated discussion, computers, radar-thingees spinning around…you know the drill. When Kimar notices that the "…Earth radar beams…" are bouncing off their ship, he orders Voldar to turn on the radar shields. Yikes! They don’t work. One of the crew checks in the "…radar box…" (?) and pulls out an embarrassed Dropo! You see, Dropo wanted to see Earth so he hid in the ship’s radar box before they left from Mars. (Shouldn’t they just execute this guy as an enemy of the state by now?)

As they prepare to land, I think Voldar sums up both their mission and this movie with the following quote:

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

"All this trouble over a fat little man in a red suit!" (Amen, Voldar!)

The ship lands in the vicinity of two children, Billy and Betty who just happen to be lounging under a tree (in the howling winter wind!) listening to a hand-held radio (as all kids are wont to do).

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Billy and Betty, abducted by Martians!

After a mild interrogation, Billy lets the cat out of the bag and tells the Martians that there is only one Santa Claus and that he lives on the North Pole. (Gee, thanks Billy! Now it’s your fault when Santa is killed!) Kimar moves to leave, and Voldar insists that they take the two kids along so that they can’t tell anybody that the Martians have arrived. (Yeah, like anybody will believe two kids who say they saw Martians.) The soft-hearted Kimar objects at first, but eventually gives in to Voldar’s cold logic, and the two kids are taken back to the space ship.

More military stock footage follows the children’s abduction, with the military still searching for the space ship. (Interesting trivia: the stock footage of the airplane refueling in mid-air is the same footage used in Stanley Kubrik’s "Dr. Strangelove"! Needless to say, all similarities between the two films ends at that point.) Once on board the space ship, the children are put under the care of Dropo (Oh yeah, that was smart!), who gives them an unauthorized tour of the spaceship’s control room. The tour is cut short when they see that somebody is coming up from the navigation room. Dropo hides his charges in, where else, the radar box. (My head is starting to hurt at this point. Can’t they just hide Dropo in the "high-voltage box" and do us all a favor?)

The ship makes its way to the North Pole and lands near Santa’s workshop. Kimar orders that "Torg" is to be activated in order to assist in the capture of Santa. We soon find out that Torg is the Martians super-duper, killer robot. (Oh boy, I can’t wait to see this.) Billy and Betty, still hiding in the ‘radar-box’, overhear the whole (ridiculous) plan to kidnap Santa and try to figure out a way to warn him before it’s too late. Using information that Dropo idiotically told them earlier in their tour of the control room, Billy disables the ships radar shields before he and Betty head off to try and warn Santa of the Martians and their diabolical plot.

The two kids somehow manage to sneak off the ship and run away into the arctic wilderness to hide as the other Martians begin to disembark. (I’m sure the kids will be killed by exposure in a couple minutes, it is 90 degrees below zero as Andy told us in the opening scenes of the movie. Oh wait, this is a kids movie, so I guess I have to ignore that little problem.) Out of the spaceship and on the icy wastes of the North Pole, Kimar and Voldar engage in a power-struggle (you see, Voldar still opposes the idea of bringing Santa to Mars, and is doing his best to make the mission a failure for Kimar). Voldar somehow finds out that the kids have escaped and a hot pursuit ensues in order to recapture the children before they can reach Santa’s workshop. To help in the pursuit, Kimar calls forth the incredible Torg, undoubtedly one of the most ridiculous looking robots in movie history, as you shall soon see.

Voldar follows the children’s foot prints in the snow and nearly discovers them hiding in a little cave. He is chased off by a angry polar bear which then begins to stalk the cowering children. I must note that this, *ahem*, polar bear is so ridiculously cheap looking, that it is a must-see scene. In fact, you can even see the costume’s head-piece where it was simply pulled over the actor’s head and draped over his shoulders.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Grrrrr!

The bear corners the kids and makes a few half-hearted swats at them with its paw before shambling off into the darkness. Billy and Betty soon find out that it was Torg that frightened the polar bear away, and Torg is now coming after them! Gasp! Billy and Betty stand motionless while Torg slowly makes his way through the ice and takes the kids in his arms. (I guess Billy and Betty were hypnotized or something. Torg moves so slow that the only way it could catch anything is if it stands absolutely still.)

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

The horror of Torg!

Once Torg has the struggling kids in his arms, Voldar steps out from behind a rock and commands Torg to crush them! Torg obeys and grinds the children into bloody pulp with his robot arms. Oh wait. I was day dreaming. Nope, Kimar runs up from behind a different rock and explains that he suspected Voldar would try something like that, so he reprogrammed Torg to obey only his orders. That dramatic sequence over with, the children are taken back to the ship while Kimar and Voldar take positions around Santa’s workshop…and send Torg in to kidnap Santa Claus.

Torg breaks into Santa’s workshop…and…and…you know what? I’m laughing so hard at this robot, Torg, I think I’ll give you another screen shot:

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Torg redux (and yes, those dials are just drawn onto the cardboard box he’s wearing…)

As Torg approaches Santa, the brave Winky (Head of the Space Department, remember?) blocks the path. The killer robot picks up the intrepid elf but Santa jumps in by complimenting Torg on the fact that he is the biggest toy he’s ever seen. This line of approach stops the invincible Torg, who puts down the elf and stands motionless. (!) The two Martians watching from outside come to the conclusion that Santa has used his kindness to turn Torg into a "…big toy." (Huh?). Whatever. Realizing that Torg has been rendered a useless toy, the Martians burst in and take Santa prisoner. (Not before ‘zapping’ a few elves and Mrs. Claus with ‘freeze’ guns, which are in fact, painted Wham-O Air Blaster toys! How much money did they use on this film?)

We cut to a scene flashing various headlines about Santa’s abduction. My favorite is the one with the misspelled headline:

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

"Kidnaped"? Who the hell spell-checked this movie?

The world is stunned by this audacious event. After Mrs. Claus confirms that it was indeed Martians who perpetrated this crime, the members of the United Nations burn the midnight oil in order to come up with a way to get Santa back in time for Christmas. (Am I really writing this? I’m a grown man for God’s sake! I have to get a life…but anyway….) An interview with NASA’s Dr. Von Green (played by the same actor who played the Martian sage, Chochem, if you really care) informs us that they are sending a spaceship up to Mars in order to bring Santa back. Stock footage of a rocket lifting off confirms this report.

Back in the Martian ship, Kimar congratulates the crew on a successful mission. One of his crew returns to the control room after having been with Sant, laughing and telling the others what a great guy Santa is. He even tells them a joke (see Classic Lines if you dare). Voldar scowls at their foolish behavior, accusing them of become weak and falling prey to Santa’s beguiling ways.

We join Santa, Billy, and Betty in their spartan prison cell. Santa is comforting the children by telling them a story about…something. Who cares. Billy feels guilty for telling the Martians where Santa lived, and is too depressed to laugh at Santa’s (lame) jokes. Santa reassures him that it’s not his fault ("…Balderdash, and fiddle-dee-dee! Everybody knows where Santa lives! Besides, I’ve always wanted to visit Mars." (Huh!?))

Dropo stops by the cell to deliver their meals. Of course, Martians eat only ‘food-pills’, so Santa and the kids are less than enthusiastic about their dinners, and politely refuse. Santa continues to make stupid jokes to cheer up the kids (he fails at that but succeeds in making my brain ache).

In the control room, the Martians realize that they are being followed by a spaceship. Puzzled as to how they could be followed if their radar-shields are engaged, Voldar looks in the ‘radar-box’ and sees that it has been sabotaged. Understandably irate, Voldar fixes the radar and storms out of the control room to go deal with Billy. (By the way, we never see or hear anything about this rocket ship again. I guess they are still floating in space…)

Reaching the prison cell, Voldar offers Santa and the kids a ‘free tour’ of the ship. Billy and Betty wisely decline, suspecting a trap. Santa, however, not wanting to be rude, reluctantly accepts the offer (Doh!). Oddly enough, the first stop on the tour is the air lock (hmmm…this tour isn’t sounding like such a good idea now, is it Santa?).

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Billy at the airlock (Hmmm, Martian writing sure looks a lot like English…)

Voldar leaves the air lock and seals Santa and the kids inside. (This tour is really looking like a bad idea now, eh Santa?) Predictably, Voldar runs to the control room and sets in motion the process to open the air lock. (Opening the air lock requires, of course, a 60-second count down…I wonder if somebody will rescue them at the very last second…) As the clock reaches zero, Kimar storms into the room and demands to know who is in the airlock. (I never saw that coming!) Voldar smugly replies "Nobody….now!" (Cue evil laughter). A fistfight between Voldar and Kimar ensues (a really atrociously enacted fight…I think these two skipped their ‘stage fighting’ lessons in acting school). Just as Kimar gets the better of Voldar and starts bashing his head against a metal bulkhead, Santa and the two kids enter the control room. Santa laughingly explains that they crawled up the air-tube in the airlock and managed to get out after Voldar "accidentally" locked them in the airlock and "accidentally" opened switch.

Two things here:

One: Why is Santa so damn eager to cover for the murderous Voldar?

Two: So the air-tube in the airlock leads up to the control room, even when the airlock is open? This should of course suck all the air out of the ship.

These issues are, needless to say, never resolved.

Safely back on Mars, Voldar is to stand trial for his insubordination while Santa and the children are to be taken to the Martian council, or something. Who knows. Kimar sends two of the crew to fetch the treacherous Voldar from his cell. They open the cell and wake him up by singing "Jingle Bells" (Gee, rub it in, will yah? And where did they learn the ‘Jingle Bells’ song?) Wait a minute! The Martian on the bunk is Dropo! Voldar has escaped!

Back in the Kimar household, his two children eagerly ask their mother, Momar, when their father will return. She reassures them that it won’t be long and sends them back to their studies. Just then Kimar enters the front, er, porthole (this is Mars, you know, can’t have regular doors…) and gives his wife an affectionate ‘head-touch’ (sort of like a mini head-butt, it’s how Martians say hello, ya know…). He reveals his big catch: Santa, Billy and Betty, whom are warmly greeted by Momar.

They immediately put Santa to work cheering up the children of Mars. Kimar suggests that Santa begin with his two children, Bomar and Girmar (the two Martian children from the beginning of the film. Aren’t these names fun to keep track of? I know I love it!). Kimar first introduces the Earth kids to his children. In a disgustingly sweet scene, Billy teaches the Martians how to ‘hand shake’, and they also find out that they are of the same age: 10 years old, to be precise (But since the Martian year is approximately twice as long as an Earth year, wouldn’t that make Bomar 20 years old? Oh, never mind…).

Santa is also called into the room and is greeted by suspicious looks from the Martian children. He starts to chuckle, then giggle, then chortle, then guffaw, then maniacally laugh out loud. This insane display of mentally instability causes the Martian children to laugh too. Billy and Betty join in, and soon everybody is laughing, ready to go to the nut house.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Santa successfully drives Bomar and Girmar insane

Meanwhile, in a cave (!), Voldar rants and raves about his turn of fate, and plots his revenge against Kimar and the Earthlings. Voldar is not alone in his plottings, for he has been joined by a couple of real Martian numbskulls: Stobo and Shim. Shim reports that Santa has constructed a toy shop on Mars and it is going "…full blast." Even worse for Voldar, Kimar has constructed an assembly line for the toy factory, with toys "…rolling off by the second!". Under this terrible threat of toy overpopulation, Voldar comes upon a plan: he doesn’t dare try to kill Santa, but rather, he will discredit him by screwing up all the toys! (Mmm…okay.)

Back in the Martian toy factory, Billy, Betty, Bomar, and Girmar are working on the assembly line while Santa oversees operations (ever hear of child labor laws, Santa?). The children are cheerfully collecting toys into plastic laundry baskets (!) and piling them up in big boxes (accompanied by some great super-cheesy 60’s electric organ music). Dropo enters and delivers an armful of letters from Martian boys and girls, while Santa fulfills the toy requests by pushing buttons on a big control panel, which shoots the finished toy out of a chute and onto the assembly line. Santa wistfully thinks back to his days on the North Pole when he actually "made" toys (actually, wasn’t it the elves that made the toys?), and now sadly realizes that a life of simply pushing buttons is far from fulfilling.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Santa, thinking of better times back on Earth

Santa calls it quits for the day and everybody leaves to go back home. When they all get back to Kimar’s cool Martian 60’s pad, Kimar realizes that Betty and Billy are homesick for Earth. Momar suggests that they consider returning the children to Earth, where they can be happy again (I guess Santa will remain a prisoner forever). In the other room, Dropo has discovered a spare ‘Santa suit’ that Momar has made for Santa (including an extra fake beard (!?)) and decides to try it on. After an agonizing scene where Dropo puts a pillow in his pants and dresses up like Santa (egads, this movie is hard to watch sometimes), he decides to go down to the factory and make some toys while everybody is asleep.

While all of this ‘comedy’ with Dropo is taking place, Voldar and his two henchmen have broken into the toy factory and begin to sabotage the machinery. Just as Voldar finishes vandalizing the controls, in comes Dropo, dressed up as Santa. Voldar is fooled by the costume (or should I say "custume", ha ha, remember the opening credits? Oh, forget it…) and he takes Dropo prisoner thinking that he is the real Santa. (Hey, Voldar! The real Santa isn’t green!)

The next morning, Momar notices that Dropo is missing but doesn’t think too much of it (really, who would actually miss Dropo’s company?). Santa comes out from his room and mentions that his extra suit is missing. The cunning Kimar puts the two clues together and concludes that Dropo must have taken the suit and gone down to the toy factory to make some toys.

Santa and the kids enter the factory, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for another grueling day of making toys. The first toy request to be filled is for a doll and a teddy bear. When the toys fall out of the chute, gasp!, the heads are switched because of the Voldar’s malicious deeds from the night before! In fact, every toy that comes out of the machine is screwed up. This is of course a pretty big operational set back, and Santa is at a loss for an explanation. They call Kimar down to take a look, at which time he quickly deduces that the machinery has been sabotaged by Voldar. Furthermore, Santa concludes that Dropo has been kidnapped (…or was he "kidnaped"…ha ha! Get it? Oh, never mind).

Kimar sets off to find Dropo and runs into Voldar and Stobo just outside the toy factory. Voldar left Dropo back at the cave (believing that he is Santa) under Shim’s guard and is now going to blackmail Kimar into destroying the toy machine, and sending Santa and the children back to Earth. Not only that, but there is to be "…no more ‘joy through toys’ nonsense on Mars…".

The cunning Kimar shows them that Santa is in fact alive and well in the toy shop. Kimar arrests Voldar and Stobo and locks them in a store room, while a search is organized to find Dropo and the rest of Voldar’s conspirators. Back in the cave, Dropo switches a few light bulbs on a control panel in order to trick Shim into thinking the "nuclear curtain" is ‘off’ instead of ‘on’. (You know that if you can be outwitted by Dropo, then you’re one sad case!) Anyway, getting on with it now, Dropo manages to escape the caves.

In the store room, Kimar, busily expositing, gets too close to Voldar, and is attacked with a ski (!). Needless to say, Kimar is knocked out while Voldar and Stobo make good their escape.

Oblivious to all this, er, excitement, Santa has fixed the toy machine and sends Billy to get some paint from the store room (uh oh, I wonder what’s going to happen next). Outside the store room door, Billy overhears Voldar and Stobo discussing their plans to smash the machine and kidnap Santa once and for all, so he runs back to warn him of the danger. Hearing of this new plot, Santa gathers the children around him and whispers a plan he has to deal with the threat. (Oh boy, this is going to be good…)

Voldar storms into the toyshop and points his gun at Santa, threatening to "…silence him permanently." Before he can commit this foul deed, Santa gives the ‘go’ signal to the kids, who begin to bombard him with toys. Now, I’m trying to find the words to describe the idiocy of this scene. Let’s say it makes the "Trumpy…you can do wonderful things" scene in ‘Pod People’ look like ‘Masterpiece Theater’. The children assail Voldar with paper airplanes, bubbles, ping-pong balls, squirt guns, little marching soldiers, while Voldar cringes and whimpers in er, fright, I guess. In a way, this scene is rather nightmarish: the green children, the bubbles, Santa smoking a soap-bubble pipe and laughing the whole time…kind of a bad trip.

Wow. Truly bizarre.

Anyway, Dropo makes his way back to the workshop and is captured by the truly idiotic Stobo (who has not lifted a finger to help Voldar get free from the kids ‘toy’ attack). Just then, of course, Kimar regains consciousness and comes out of the store room, disarming Stobo and saving Dropo’s ass once again. Kimar arrests Voldar (again!) and he is taken away by Rigna (who has suddenly popped into the scene). Santa tells Kimar that Dropo will make a great Martian ‘Santa’, to which a grinning Kimar wholeheartedly agrees. Well, Ho! Ho! Ho! I guess Santa and the Earth children will be soon heading home.

As the movie draws to a close, we see Momar saying good-bye to Billy, Betty, and Santa, giving them those sweet little Martian "head-butts". Just as I thought the film was going to end, in bursts Dropo, "ho-ho-ho’ing" and making an ass of himself as usual.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Dropo, the new Martian Santa (Now here is something you don’t see everyday!)

Santa and the kids take their leave, but not before Santa gives one last ear-shattering "Merry Christmas" before stepping out of the door and heading back to Earth. Good riddance.

Oh God! No! Just when I thought the movie was over, we have to see the text of the stupid closing song. No! I quit! I quit! Mercy!

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

You spell it S-A-N-T-A, but it’s hooray for "Santy"? I give up…

Dennis Grisbeck (Feb 2005)

Afterthoughts

Ok. As I said before, I know this is a kid’s movie, and I will cut it some slack for that. However, this movie is so poorly executed, it begs to be ridiculed. From misspellings in the opening credits (Good grief!!!) to the cheapest looking costumes that I have seen in a long time (Torg!). In addition, the over-the-top acting by Dropo and the eeevvviiiilllll Voldar are just downright excruciating to watch.

I will give this movie some cheese-points for the 1960’s "groovy pads" and schlocky costumes (custumes?). Based on that alone, I reluctantly gave this a movie a "yellow" rating, just for the cheese and 60’s schlock alone. Otherwise, I can’t think of any other reason to see this movie except for the "so-bad-it’s good" factor. And yes, I did understand the film’s underlying message of "kindness conquers all", but gawd! This was one hell of a painful way to get that message across!

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2 comments to Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

  • Powermom

    Oh my God! I remember this movie (albeit vaguely). They showed it at our local theater with about 3 hours of cartoons. They used to do that on school holidays and all of the parents in the neighborhood sent their brats, (including me and my older brother), to get them off of their hands for the day (this was the actual neighborhood where Mr. Rogers lived!) By the time this feature film came on I think I was semi-comatose, but I remember the food pills and mostly, the overall cheesiness, apparent even to a 6 year-old. By the way, the word “Chochem” is Yiddish for a smart person. It grieves me that even one Jewish person may have been involved with this wretched piece of schlock. If you haven’t reviewed “Dead-Eyes of London” you should – it’s about the same quality, minus the robot.

  • Rainy day in Georgia, and just caught this film. Review is dead on. Laughed at the names: Mom = “Momar” Boy = “Bomar” and Girl = “Girmar.”

    Still, it was better than “Deep Shock” which I saw last night…

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