A while back, one of my friends sent me a link to a list of 100 worst movies of all time and asked me if I had seen any of them. Going through the list, I said that not only have I seen many of them, but I actually own quite a few of them. Today’s movie is one of the movies from the list but I did not actively go out and purchase it, it just happened to be part of the Sci-Fi Classics box set. Now, let’s see if today’s movie, Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, is really as bad as people say it is.
The plot: Two Martian children, Bomar and Girmar, are watching a news report from Earth, where a reporter is up at Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole. The reporter heads inside and talks with Santa, who is busy making with the elves making toys, and Mrs. Claus and as they look through the workshop, they see one of the elves making a doll of what he believes a Martian looks like. Meanwhile, their father Kimar wakes up his assistant Dropo and asks where his wife, Momar, is and Dropo says that she went to the store to get some new food pills, as they haven’t been eating much recently. Kimar heads into the children’s room and tells them to stop watching the Earth programs and go to bed, finally having to use the sleep spray on them. When Momar returns, Kimar expresses his concern with the children, as they only want to watch the Earth programs. Gathering his council chiefs, Kimar heads to go see Chochem, an 800 year old Martian sage, to ask his advise but one of his chiefs, Voldar, is against the idea. Kimar explains what is happening to the Martian children to Chochem, who says he foresaw this happening centuries ago. Chochem tells them that the Martian children need to learn how to have fun again and that the only way for that to happen is for them to bring Santa Claus to Mars. Voldar is against the idea, saying that the Martian children are fine as they are, but Kimar orders a ship prepared and they fly to Earth. When they reach Earth, they try locating Santa Claus but see hundreds of men dressed like Santa Claus and decide to find some children and asks them to lead them to the real Santa Claus. After turning on their radar cloaking shield, they land at a lake and approach two children, Billy and Betty. Kimar asks them about Santa Claus and is told that he lives at the North Pole but Voldar says that they can’t leave the children behind to tell the authorities and Kimar reluctantly agrees and has the children brought with them. They head to the North Pole and make plans to use their robot, Togar, to kidnap Santa Claus but Billy and Betty overhear their plans. Billy secretly sabotages the radar shield, then he and Betty sneak out of the ship to go warn Santa. When the Martian’s learn of the children’s disappearance, Voldar goes looking for them, intending to kill them. The children see him and manage to hide, then escape from a polar bear but are soon caught by Togar. Voldar orders Togar to crush the children but Kimar, knowing Voldar would try something like this, programmed Togar to obey only him and orders the children released and taken back to the ship. Kimar and the Martians head to the workshop and send Togar inside but once it is inside, it stops following Kimar’s orders as it has become nothing more than a toy in Santa’s eyes. The Martians head inside and use their paralyzing ray on the elves and Mrs. Claus, then tell Santa he is coming with them. When news spreads of Santa’s abduction, the nations of the world combine their resources to send a team of astronauts in a rocket to chase after the Martians. When the Martians realize they are being followed, Voldar discovers Billy’s sabotage and decides to get rid of Santa and the children. He pretends to give them a tour of the ship and locks them in an air lock, then opens the door to outer space. Kimar catches him and the two begin to fight, with Kimar coming out on top, when Santa and the children appear behind them, laughing about the experience and Voldar is placed in a cell. When they arrive on Mars, Voldar manages to escape and hides in a cave with his assistants Stobo and Shim, where he makes plans to get rid of Santa Claus. Meanwhile, Kimar takes Billy, Betty, and Santa to his house and introduces them to Momar, Bomar, and Girmar. Kimar has a factory set up so that Santa can start making toys for the Martian children. Santa and all four children get to work with Dropo helping them but Billy and Betty appear to be growing more distant and Momar tells Kimar that he needs to send them back to Earth as they are homesick. After stopping their work in the shop one night, Santa shows the children the new coat that Momar made and Dropo asks to try it on but Santa says that he needs to fatten up first. Later that night, Dropo puts on Santa’s coat, using a pillow to give him the “extra padding” needed for it, as well as a fake beard and then decides to head back to the workshop to keep working. Meanwhile, Voldar, Stobo, and Shim head to the workshop to sabotage the machine and when they see Dropo enter, they mistake him for the real Santa and kidnap him. The next day, Santa and the kids notice the machine is not working right and tell Kimar, who believes Voldar is behind this. When Voldar and Stobo show up and start making demands, Kimar shows them that Santa is in the workshop and takes them prisoner but they manage to knock him out. Billy overhears their plans to attack Santa, and warns him so Santa comes up with a plan. When Voldar shows up, Billy and the other children begin attacking him with all of the toys, giving Kimar enough time to regain consciousness and recapture Voldar and Stobo. As Dropo rejoins the group, Santa tells Kimar that he doesn’t need to stay on Mars as they have a perfectly good Santa Claus in Dropo. Billy and Betty are given gifts from their Martian friends and they, along with Santa, say goodbye to their friends as they head back to Earth.
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians met with poor reviews from the critics, holding a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics mostly panned it but some found it enjoyable because of how bad it is. Santa Claus Conquers The Martians has made numerous “Worst Movie Ever” lists but it obtained a new level of cult status when it was spoofed on MST3K, becoming a holiday staple on Comedy Central for years after it debuted. The movie is notable for being the first appearance of Mrs. Claus in a film, her next appearance being three weeks later when Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer premiered on television.
This is one of those movies that are absolutely terrible, you know it is terrible, and yet you enjoy watching it because it is so bad. The acting was so-so, with some actors, John Call (Santa) and Bill McCutcheon (Dropo) doing good jobs while Vincent Beck (Voldar) just seemed terrible, but I can’t say if it was him personally or the dialogue in the script. The story was actually pretty interesting, if a little hokey, and I think it would have been better if it had been made as an animated movie. The main reason that this movie makes so many lists is because of the bad special effects and camera work in the movie. Those aspects are incredibly bad; such as the lighting going bright to dark then bright again in some scenes. Still, I found myself laughing at how bad this stuff is, because of these aspects. This is not a good movie but it can be entertaining to watch.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5