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Martians, upset that their children have become obsessed with TV shows from Earth which extol the virtues of Santa Claus, start an expedition to Earth to kidnap the one and only Santa. While on Earth, they kidnap two lively children that lead the group of Martians to the North Pole and Santa. The Martians then take Santa and the two children back to Mars with them. Voldar, a particularly grumpy Martian, attempts to do away with the children and Santa before they get to Mars, but their leader Lomas stops him. When they arrive on Mars, Santa, with the help of the two Earth children and a rather simple-minded Martian lackey, overcomes the Martians by bringing fun, happiness and Christmas cheer to the children of Mars. Written by
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians... and our hearts.
I really enjoy this silly little holiday flick. A bunch of serious Martian adults are afraid that their serious Martian children are too serious, so they go to a serious Martian senior citizen. The old guy tells them that the children need to be taught how to laugh, and then he explodes for no reason. The only logical thing left to do, of course, is go to Earth and kidnap Santa Claus, who we meet as he is being interviewed by the Rip Taylor-like Andy Anderson. I liked how in the movie's universe, Santa is unquestionably real and everyone knows about him. He really does deliver toys to everyone, toys made by a dozen elves (who all look like they're suffering from mini-seasonal depression). One toy shown is a toy rocket that runs on "real rocket fuel", Santa proudly explains. I would ask, "Where do little kids get rocket fuel?" The details of Santa's amazingly speedy mass distribution methods are not brought up, but it's probably black magic-related.
The Martians nab Kris Kringle and two little Earth children, who seem to live alone in the woods with no parents or family but are clean and well fed. The Martian leader forces Santa and the children to run their soulless toy machine (Soulless Toy Machine would be a good name for a band). Despite the numerous violations of human rights, it's all in good fun and everybody is nice and happy, except for one mean Martian (with a disturbing droopy mustache and a sidekick that looks like Jamie Farr) who plots to kidnap Santa (even though he's already been kidnapped). Santa encourages the kids, even the Martian kids who have now learned to have fun, to hurl lots of heavy mid-sixties toys at the bad guy's skulls. Through this display of parental negligence and bad music the evil is thwarted, and Santa is permitted to go back to Earth, letting the mewling half-wit comic relief Martian named Droppo take over the reigns of the Martian Toy Empire. (The Martians are out-of-shape guys in tights and helmets with antenna sprouting out of them, and what looks like diarrhea smeared across their faces. Imagine a guy dressed like that mugging worse than the teacher guy in Juan Piquor Simon's "Monster Island" and that's Droppo).
How can you hate this movie? If I were a little kid in 1964 I'd be enthralled. They packed this movie with nutty stuff. Elves get shot with freeze rays. Mrs. Claus is a frantic goofball. The Martian children sleep under strange lights and eat only pills. The bad guy's hideout looks like that one King Crimson album cover. I loved the part where the villain tries to shoot Santa and the kids out of an airlock, and the part where the bad guys meddle with the toy machine and the toys come out all mixed-up. There's a guy in a goofy robot costume, and a guy in an even goofier polar bear costume. And that deliciously idiotic theme song- "You spell it S-A-N-T-A C-L-A-U-S, Hooray for Santy Claus!" Oh, it's so good!
I sincerely feel the people making this had the best intentions, and while they didn't have a huge budget they made a fun, silly kids movie. If it was the same exact movie but done in Rudolf-style stop motion animation it would be a regular holiday viewing tradition.
Oh, yeah, and Pia Zadora is in this, as if anyone cares.
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