Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
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Not long ago, someone asked me which Christmas movie was my favorite. I thought about it for a while and told him it was A Christmas Story, but now I’d like to change my answer—because I have a new favorite.

Don’t get me wrong. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians isn’t a brilliant piece of cinematic splendor. The story isn’t especially heart-warming. But it’s just so hilariously tacky that I can’t help but love it.

As Santa Claus begins, it appears as though there’s a problem with the children of Mars. They won’t sleep, and they won’t eat their food pills. All they do is sit around and watch Earth Programs all day. When Kimar (Leonard Hicks), the leader of the Martians, consults his wise old adviser, he discovers that it’s Christmastime on Earth—and that the Martian children are rebelling against their strict upbringing and their lost childhood. So Kimar is advised to travel to Earth and bring back Santa Claus—to bring joy to the children of Mars.

Once Kimar and his crew arrive on Earth, they kidnap two Earth children, Billy and Betty (Victor Stiles and Donna Conforti), to help them find Santa. Then they zip off to the North Pole, where they capture Santa and bring him back to Mars to get to work in his new toy factory. The people of Mars are overjoyed by Santa’s presence—all of them, that is, except for Voldar (Vincent Beck), who will do anything in his power to stop this ridiculous plan, which will inevitably turn the Martian children into nincompoops (his word—not mine) like the children of Earth.

I’ve heard Santa Claus Conquers the Martians referred to as the worst movie ever—but I beg to differ. If it were really the worst movie ever, it would be tacky and boring. But there’s nothing boring about this movie. While the effects look strangely like my fifth-grade science fair project, and the only sound effect appears to be the sound of a fire extinguisher, the movie itself is full of adventure and [usually unintentional] laughs. The Martian costumes, the man in the garbage-can robot suit (complete with painted-on dials), and the man in the polar bear suit are hilarious. The surprising portrayal of Mrs. Claus as a ball-buster who only looks sweet and innocent is priceless. And the manic fight scenes alone are worth the 80 minutes of your time.

If you need a good laugh this holiday season, pick up a copy of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Before you know it, you’ll be singing, “Hooray for Sant-y Claus!” and making it a new holiday tradition.

Blu-ray Review:
Though the Blu-ray release of this campy cult classic is reason enough for celebration, the film’s release also includes some campy Christmas extras for added holiday enjoyment.

On the disc’s special features menu, you’ll find a stills gallery and Santa’s Cool Holiday Film Festival, which includes more than 45 minutes of old-school holiday features. There are holiday shorts and Christmas cartoons. There are holiday-themed ads and public service announcements, along with holiday messages from your friendly neighborhood theater and holiday greetings from Abbott and Costello, the Nelson family, Lamb Chop, and others.

It may not be a particularly feature-filled release (after all, who would have thought to document the making of such a kooky little movie?), but if this silly Christmas classic leaves you longing for the good old days—when you could put your dad in a polar bear costume and make a feature film—you can continue your nostalgic trip back to Christmases past by checking out the extras.

Listen to the review on Reel Discovery:

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