in The Vault

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

Watching Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was a miserable experience. It doesn’t matter how many bad B-movies you see, it never gets any easier. Additionally, some of the worst B-movies I’ve ever seen are from the 60s. Perhaps you can blame it in on the rise of independent cinema in the late 50s and early 60s. Suddenly, every Tom, Dick, and Harry thought they could be Cecil B. DeMille. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians can be squarely blamed on former Howdy Doody unit manager Paul Jacobsen who produced and co-wrote the film with $200,000 dollars from private investors. The film was made by an inexperienced cast and crew and shot in a former airplane hangar and it sure looks like it. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is often considered one of the “Worst Movies Ever Made”.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is set in an alternate reality where not only is Santa real, he’s a national celebrity. The story begins with Santa being interviewed live at the North Pole. Unbeknownst to anyone on Earth this television signal is picked up on Mars. The children of the Martian king: Bomar and Girmar become infatuated with the idea of toys, Christmas, and ‘Ol St. Nick and soon grow tired of their strict and tedious life on Mars. Afraid of a Martian child rebellion, Kimar (King of the Martians) seeks advice from the wise Martian Chochem who says Mars needs a Santa Claus of their own to make the children happy. How do you get a Santa Claus? You steal the real one.

Despite being from a highly advanced society, the Martians can’t tell the real Santa from fake mall Santas, so they kidnap two children to help them. Soon one of the Martians, Voldar, who looks like Tom Selleck in green paint, begins to question the whole mission and decides the Martians would be better off killing the two children and Santa Claus. Though he’s highly ineffective and everyone just ignores him. Later the Martians find Santa and capture him with the shittiest robot I’ve ever seen. Santa being a good sport decides he can help the Martians spread Christmas cheer. Santa builds a toy factory on Mars and befriends a goofy Martian, Dropo while the kidnapped children bond with the Martian children. Voldar tries to stop Santa again but fails because he’s an idiot. It is then decided that Dropo will be a suitable Santa for Mars and the real Santa and the two kids get the hell out of there.

The logic that strings this movie together is so unbelievably bad that it makes you dumber watching it. Santa is happy to help the Martians, so why did they kidnap him? Why does Voldar think Santa will corrupt the children of Mars? Earth has a Santa and their children aren’t corrupt. In fact, I’d say Earth is better off because they don’t have to resort to kidnapping to solve their problems. I now it’s a kid’s movie, but this story goes so out of it’s way to give you every single detail. The more you know the less it makes sense and that doesn’t even make sense.

Production wise Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is embarrassing. The Martians all wear laughable space helmets and can’t stop sweating through their puke-green makeup. The performances are mostly bad and only made worse by the film’s robotic dialogue. John Call who plays Santa Claus is passable, but he never seems to stop laughing. I only wish that I was laughing.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians feels like an eternity. The film moves at a snail’s pace, the characters are boring, everything is boring! There’s fun bad movies and this isn’t one of them. All I want for Christmas is for every copy of this movie to be burned and then have the ashes shot into space.

It’s a shame I couldn’t find a big enough picture in “Space-Blazing Color!”