Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (also titled Santa Claus Defeats the Aliens) is a 1964 science fiction film that regularly appears on lists of the worst films ever made. It is regularly featured in the "bottom 100" list on the Internet Movie Database, and was also featured in an episode of the 1986 syndicated series, the Canned Film Festival. It was directed by Nicholas Webster, and it stars John Call as Santa Claus. It also includes an 8-year-old Pia Zadora playing the role of one of the Martian children.
The film took on newfound fame in the '90s after being featured on an episode of the comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000. It became a holiday staple on the Comedy Central cable channel in the years following its 1991 premiere, helping it become one of the series' most popular episodes.
The story involves the denizens of the planet Mars, including Momar ("Mom Martian") and Kimar ("King Martian") who are worried that their children Girmar ("Girl Martian") and Bomar ("Boy Martian") are watching too much Earth television, most notably station KID's interview with Santa Claus in his workshop at the North Pole. Consulting the ancient 800-year old Martian sage Chochem, they are advised that the children of Mars are growing distracted due to the society's overly rigid structure; from infancy, all their education is fed into their brains through machines, and they are not allowed individuality or freedom of thought.
Chochem sadly notes that he had seen this coming "for centuries", and states that the only way to help the children is to allow them to have freedom, to be allowed to have fun. To do this, they need a Santa Claus figure, like on Earth. Leaving the sage's dwelling, the Martian leaders decide to kidnap Santa Claus from Earth and bring him to Mars to make toys for the children of their planet. One warmongering Martian, Voldar, is in constant disagreement with this idea and repeatedly tries to kill Santa Claus, as well as two kidnapped Earth children, as he believes that Santa is corrupting the children of Mars and turning them away from the race's original glory. Throughout the movie, Santa Claus makes several jokes to the kidnapped children, Betty and Billy Foster, laughing to himself and met with silence. He then slowly laughs in disappointment each time.
When they arrive on Mars, Santa and the children build a factory to make toys for the Martian children. However, the grumpy Voldar and his assistants, Stobo and Shim, sabotage the factory and change the programming so that it makes the toys incorrectly. Meanwhile, Dropo, a moronic Martian who has been acting silly ever since Santa came to Mars, puts on one of Santa's spare suits and starts talking and acting like Santa Claus. He goes to the toy factory to make toys, but Voldar mistakes him for Santa Claus and kidnaps him.
When Santa and the children come back to the factory to make more toys, they discover that the machine has been tampered with. Voldar and Stobo come back to the factory to make a deal with Kimar, but when they see the real Santa Claus in the factory they realize that their plan has been foiled. Dropo, held hostage in a cave, tricks Shim, who was guarding him, and escapes. Kimar then arrests Voldar, Stobo and Shim. Santa notices that Dropo is acting like him, and says that Dropo would make a good Martian Santa Claus. Kimar agrees to make Dropo a Santa Claus on Mars and sends Santa and the children back to Earth.
The robot Torg was also featured in the film.
- A remake has been rumored since 2000 with David Zucker as producer, though it is currently believed to be in development hell.
- One scene in the movie uses stock footage of military planes refueling in flight. This is the same footage used during the opening sequence of Dr. Strangelove.
- The movie is also watched and mocked in the episode of the same name (number 3.21) of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- The movie spawned a tongue-in-cheek novelization by Lou Harry, released by Penguin Books/Chamberlain Bros. in 2005. The book includes a DVD of the original film.
- The movie's theme song, "Hooray For Santy Claus", was written by Milton DeLugg, who later became the musical director and bandleader for The Gong Show.
- In 1993 a theatrical production of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, the Musical premiered at the Factory Theatre in Chicago, adapted and directed by Sean Abley. In 2006 a second theatrical production premiered at the Maverick Theater in Fullerton, California, this version adapted and directed by Brian Newell. In November 2008, St. Anthony High School in Effingham, IL will produce their own theatrical production for their fall play. This version will be adapted and directed by Nick Slicer.
DVD releases Edit
- Santa Claus Conquers the Martians has been released multiple times as a bargain-box DVD.
- The MST3K version of the film was released by Rhino Home Video as part of the Essentials DVD set.
See also Edit
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- Download the original (Non-MST3K) version) (public domain)
- In depth review of the film
- Satirical review of the film at X-Entertainment
- Sympathetic review of the film
- The Cinnemassacre's Review (Youtube)fr:Le Père Noël contre les martiens
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