I watched this episode on a 2-DVD set of "Mystery Science Theater 3000-The Essentials" of which the other disc had the short Hired, Part II and Manos, The Hands of Fate. In the invention exchange, Dr. Forester and TV's Frank show a machine that turns great presents into crappy ones while Joel and the 'bots have additions to The Island of Misfit Toys from the Rankin/Bass "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". During the movie we get references to "Twin Peaks", the LAPD, dyslexic kids, Larry Storch, Dr. Stranglove, etc. (incidentally, the same stock footage of planes refueling also appeared in that Kubrick masterpiece). Second segment had Joel and the 'bots singing "A Patric Swayze Christmas" with Crow especially enjoying warbling about kicking butts as Swayze does in his favorite movie Road House! Another one after that had them doing poems of what Christmas means to them with Servo getting upset at the possibility of Santa being killed if he came to the Satellite of Love! My favorite riff in the entire show came from Crow when, after some noticeable splices during a news anchor's segment in which he mentioned two children seeming to "disappear in thin air", he says, "Just like some frames of this film!" LOL! John Call plays Santa here, Bill McCutcheon plays the dim-witted Droppo, Ned Wertimer (Ralph the Doorman on "The Jeffersons") plays a reporter who interviews Santa and, in her film debut, 10-year-old Pia Zadora plays one of the Martian children. And, yes, Joel and the 'bots make fun of her Golden Globe award. Not every riff line works but this was one of the funniest episodes of "MST3K" I've seen and there are even some touching moments that were a little unexpected to me here. And I loved the snow globe on Tom Servo's head. The movie itself, both intentionally and not, can be funny on its own especially with scenes of Droppo or the villains or both. And you gotta dig a theme song that spells Santa right then calls him Santy in the next line as the words are printed on the screen! So on that note, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was truly an essential episode of "MST3K".
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