Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Despite the fact that this film is universally regarded as one of the worst ever made, I do have a soft spot for it. Apart from it being the height of Pia Zadora's film career, I remember that when I was a child one of the local tv stations would run this every Christmas. Even as a nine year-old kid, I could tell it was pure silly hooey, but it was certainly harmless hooey.
The plot, if that matters, is that Martian children who have been exposed to too much Earth tv have grown sullen and listless (not unlike Earth children exposed to too much Earth tv), and can't stop thinking about one person they have heard so much about: Santa Claus. So the Martian leader, Kimar, decides that Earth has had Santa long enough and decides to kidnap him! Consternation and general uproar! But Voldar disapproves of his leader's plan and opposes him at every opportunity. The Martians succeed in kidnapping Santa, but also kidnap two Earth children as well. But the spirit of Christmas grows in Kimar's heart and eventually he releases Santa, and eveyone is happy blah blah blah.
The real hero of the piece might just be the villain Voldar. He opposes the exposure of Martian culture to this mythical figure of Western consumerism, and let's face it, that's probably a wise point of view. One could view him as a cultural freedom fighter, but this film is not sophisticated enough for an in-depth examination of economic imperialism, and Voldar remains simply what society decrees him to be, a scenery-chewing bad guy.
Yes, this is an insanely cheaply made movie that is sloppily directed. Kids should love this, but for an adult, it's a long 86 minute to endure.

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