Friday, February 26, 2010

Mixed genre friday - Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) - starring (Names withheld to protect the Innocent)

Y'know, kiddies, there have been times this week when Yer Ol' Professor has been taking a look at these genre mashups and thought, hey... that's kind of a peanut better and chocolate combination. You wouldn't think they'd work that well together, but somehow, watching the actual movie, they manage to gel, and it winds up looking like a pretty good idea after all.

Then there's this movie. Let's just say I haven't been saving the best for last.

So the movie opens with martian children Bomar (or Boy Martian) and Girmar (Girl Martian) watching Earth television. Specifically, they are watching station KID-TV's interview with Santa Claus. Fearing that martian children, who are fed knowledge from birth and never allowed to play are going to grow up stifled and unable to think as individuals, the leadership of mars (led by Kimar or King Martian) decide that the best way to help the young ones is to kidnap Santa (along with a couple of Earth children) and bring him to Mars to make toys for the Martian children so they can learn how to play and have fun. Of course, there are those who oppose this move, and they attempt to sabotage the plan and then the factory that is built once Santa arrives. Fortunately, though, one of the bad guys decides that he likes the idea of Santa, and is named the new Martian Santa so that the real one can return to Earth in order to deliver his toys to our girls and boys. Oh, and let's not forget the "battle of the toys" where the Earth children and Martian children team up to overcome the bad guys by bubbling them into submission.

Yeah, it's a science-fiction Christmas movie. Yeah, someone (presumably Joseph E. Levine, since it's his name above the title) not only looked at this script and said "Yeah, we need to make this", but convinced Embassy Pictures to put thir money behind it. And a bunch of actors also read the script and thought "Yeah, that's something I need to be in!"

And then someone told your ever-humble host about it, and I thought "Hey, I think I'll watch that and let folks know about it."

Obviously, not all the bad decisions were made in 1964.

Ok, I'm not gonna spend a whole lot more time with this one - instead, I'm going to shoot you right to the trailer, which, as a special treat, also includes a second look at it with a commentary (yes, commentary for a commercial) by Mystery Science Theater 3000's Kevin Murphy talking about their decision to include it in one of their shows:

For those who really want it, here's the skinny:
Title: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Release Date: 1964
Running Time: 81 minutes too long
Color (especially green - they are martians, after all)
"Starring": John Call and an eight-year-old Pia Zadora
Director: Nicholas Webster
Producers: Paul L. Jacobson, Joseph E. Levine, and Arnold Leeds
Distibuted by: Embassy Pictures Corporation

In case you really want to torture yourself check this thing out for yourself, it's available to watch or download here.
If you, say want to share this with your friends (or even better, if you have people in your life that you're tired of being your friends, you can get it on DVD from Amazon: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.
Netflix has the MST3K version of the movie available to rent: Mystery Science Theater 3000: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, but if you want the regular version, it's only available on "Watch Now": Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. (I suspect they're afraid of violating some postal regulation if they actually send it through the mail.)

Ok, if you've subjected yourself to this flick and have something to say about my take on it (either agreeing or disagreeing), be sure and hit the comments below. And also, let me know what you've thought about Mixed-genre week in general. Next week it's back to the usual cycle, but sometime in March I'm planning another specialty week, probably a look at silent films. 

Until next Time, Happy Treasure Hunting
-Professor Damian


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