Movie Review: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Pain Box)

Posted: December 4, 2009 in Holiday, Movie Review, Pain Box, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964 Embassy Pictures Corporation Dir. Nicholas Webster)

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Freddie Mercury didn’t die, he got his ass to Mars.

Here we have a movie that pulls double duty. Not only is this part of The Pain Box, but it’s an MST3K classic as well! It was Episode 21 of Season 3, first broadcast on the 12th of December in 1991. It regularly features on lists of worst films ever made and is so bad no one wants to claim the copyright on it. In fact, I know of no version where the title is included. That screen cap there is the title as put on a cheap character generator by the company that put this DVD out. Getting that required watching the beginning of the movie by the way, and if you want to know pain all you have to do is listen to the opening song. That is really, really bad. It does not bode well. Let us not forget what happened last time I watched one of these atrocious movies. Still, I’ve got Fancy, and a bottle of something to keep me sane.

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What’d ya know? Despite what Arnold said, it was a tumor after all.

So the movie starts with an interview with Santa, which is being watched by some Martian children. It seems that Martian kids like American TV, which is pretty hateful in this movie. The guy doing the interview makes some horrendous jokes, and then gets to the interview, which is pretty bad. I could just copy & paste the phrase “pretty bad” over and over again until it fills four pages and call it a review if I wanted to. Just slap up some screen caps with suggestive captions and call it a day. I won’t though, I’m a… well, not a professional, but I’m at least dedicated to my… well it’s not a craft exactly, more of a pastime. Actually, it’s more like self-flagellation. Can you tell I don’t want to talk much about this movie? That’s because A) it’s bad B) it’s been reviewed dozens of times before and C) I want this to be a relatively short review. Anyway, the interview with Santa goes about as badly as you could expect, Santa comes off as either drunk, stoned or anxious to get both.

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He tried to smile bravely, but it just didn’t work. He was cast in this movie and there was nothing to be done about it.

The interview over, Santa goes to smoke a bowl with the interviewer. We are then transported to Mars, where we learn that Martians are really, really dumb. The lead Martian can’t even find one of his lazy looser Martians as he sleeps under a desk. No, really, he’s walking around calling his name while standing RIGHT OVER HIM! He then whips out a stick that tickles the guy to wake him up. I think the lazy Martians name is “Dropo” but I’m not sure. Hang on a sec. YUP! Dropo. Now, Dropo is the laziest man on Mars, which makes him the comic relief. That statement alone should count as comic relief, since the derisive snort you just gave will provide more entertainment than Dropo will. Anyway, Dropo was supposed to be watching the kids, but instead just let the kids watch the television. The adult Martian make them go to bed, ordering it sharply in fact. It’s almost like he’s got something to hide, like he wants to avoid an issue. I was going to try and watch the MST3K version which has better audio, but I can’t because the movie was cut for broadcast. So I had to watch the actual DVD. This means I couldn’t have the distraction of Mike & The Bots, so the Pain Box really lived up to it’s name.

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“All we hear is Radio Ga-Ga!”
“What’s that? Were you saying something?”
“Nothing.”

So the adults think the children shouldn’t be watching so much TV and they go to see the wise old man of the mountain. Why wise men always seem to live in caves I’ll never understand, doesn’t seem terribly wise to me. Anyway, the old man of the mountain explains that the Martian children need someone like Santa Claus for them to be kids. Seems the Martians treat their kids like adults to the extent that the kids act like adults. So they’ve got to get a Santa on Mars according to the old man, so they decide to kidnap him and get him to Mars. Strangely, not everyone is on board with this plan, awesome as it is. I’m guessing that since sodomy wasn’t mentioned, and the anal probes were left at home, there will continue to be resistance to the idea. Yeah, that’s right. I deliberately decided to put the idea of Santa being sodomized by Martians in your head. If I’ve ruined your holidays, then I’m happy.

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I think we’re stuck being in this crappy movie. You didn’t have any plans for having a career did you?

The Martians go to earth, looking for Santa, and get a little confused what with there being a bell ringer dressed in the traditional red suit on every corner. They then pull the biggest boner of this whole movie. They approach the stupidest children on Earth. Seriously we’re talking the heirs to the Harker throne of stupidity here. Betty and Billy are just a little bit dumber than a couple of sacks of hammers. Of course, the Martians are so dumb they decide to kidnap the kids and make them show them where the North Pole is… because a globe would have been too tough? They also got lousy actors to play the Harker children. Side note, the news doesn’t have much to talk about because while reporting the Martian craft, they break in to mention that Billy and Betty have vanished, like five minutes after they were snatched. Hundreds of kids are kidnapped and sold to wealthy Japanese businessmen for their healthy organs every day, but these two get talked about on the national news?

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The finest cardboard robot money can buy.

So once the Martians leave the kids alone and go to kidnap Santa, the kids escape from the ship and start running around the North Pole. Now, I’ve always understood that the North Poll was a bit nippy, but it seems you can get around with your average fuzzy sweater and mittens without dying of exposure. No special gear needed to survive in the Arctic. The Martians, predictably, freak out and send a supposedly unstoppable robot after them. The robot catches the kids, and then goes for Santa in one of the worst action scenes this side of a Merchant Ivory film. Santa stops the unstoppable robot just by showing interest in him. I guess killer robots are really just hungry for attention. The Martians freeze everyone, giving Santa an opportunity to insult his wife before they drag him off to their flying saucer.

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Ooooh, won’t you take me home tonight?

We then engage in some pretty epic filler about the reaction to the kidnapping. It goes absolutely nowhere, but it does waste a few precious moments of my life that I could have used to do something useful. Oh, who am I kidding? I’d just have kept watching this crap or something like it. Anyway, after that Santa tells the kids a joke that falls completely flat, and I like that. In fact, over and over again his jokes fall flat. I’m going to skip quite a bit here, because it’s sort of dull. Short version, a bad Martian (the one with the Freddie Mercury mustache) decides to whack Santa and the kids. He fails and everyone calls him out for being such a cockbite. After that, they get to Mars and the party gets started.

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Don’t you understand? There’s no escape for me. I’m gonna be the kid from this movie for the rest of my life!

Santa gets an automated workshop set up, but not before Santa giggles like an insane and creepy old man. You can see where the child molester comments about Santa come from, this is seriously creeptastic. Anyway, the place gets going and the kids help him on his new workshop. I guess the child labor laws are a little different on Mars than they have here because the sweatshop is just accepted without a blink. The whole thing is a bit tedious I’ve got to tell you. It doesn’t matter, because the bad Martian is returning to get rid of Santa. Really though, they grab Dropo who dressed up in one of Santa’s spare suits. Why they can’t see that it’s actually Dropo and not Santa is beyond me. He doesn’t even look a tiny little bit like Santa. They come to threaten the good Martians, but a fight scene (with the requisite capoeira fighting) breaks out. Actually, it’s worse than that, the kids attack the bad Martian with the toys, which he’s totally unprepared to deal with, only being armed with handguns and laser beams. You can see how a drumming monkey would be too much of a problem if all you had was a Colt .45 automatic to defend yourself with. It actually rivals the earlier killer robot bit for lameness.

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Even the Martians are bored!

At the end of the fight, Santa explains that Dropo can take his place. This would mean that either Dropo has found his place, or he’s about to epically screw up being Santa. Santa then says it’s time to go home, and he leaves with Billy and Betty in tow. The Martians wave goodbye, neglecting to give him a lift or anything. The credits then begin to run, with that obnoxious song from the opening credits playing again. In the end credits, they ever flash the so-called lyrics to the song, but I didn’t catch them because I was typing and I don’t have the strength to go back and find the scene again.

Official Score:
-18 Degrees on the Graffiti Bridge Scale.

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As an added bonus to the horror of this situation, why don’t you watch this abomination of filmmaking? Here, have a view…

Now don’t you feel like repenting?

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