[adrotate banner=”7″]Santa battles Satan in the spaces between a hailstorm of Riffs! Yes, that fantacular Mexican Santa Claus movie, Santa Claus, once again faces getting constantly mocked at the holidays. With good reason, because it is insanity. INSANITY! I also like it, because it’s so crazy. Santa Claus has all the holiday tropes: Santa having special powers, shirtless keymakers, racist depictions of confused children, wizards, and devils going all Home Alone. They even have a nice clean widescreen print, the original René Cardona Mexican version with the K. Gordon Murray dubbing.
The strange mythology of Santa Claus deserves deeper exploration. Santa lives in purgatory with a collection of children from across the globe. The children are dressed in “cultural” attire of their homelands, which leads to the kids from Africa wearing leopard print undies and bones in their hair. For some reason all the white kids have their faces painted a ghoulish light grey. The children live in a giant room where they are forced to sing for Santa at his whim, in between slaving away producing presents for the children of the world. Some of the kids have the freedom to be Santa’s personal assistants, meaning they follow him around and help him battle Satan’s demons, who spend their time on Earth convincing children to reject Santa Claus and be evil. This strange twist on Christianity is further stranged by the presence of nativity scenes, meaning that Jesus does exist in this universe, but seems to play no role in the affairs of Earth. Only Santa cares about the corruption of youth, but as he can only come to Earth once per year, he is forces to sit back and complain and spy on children with his giant freakish telescope (complete with giant eye) and a radar dish with a huge human ear in it. A machine with creepy giant lips announces what is happening on Earth.
Santa not only lives with the enslaved children, but with Merlin the wizard (who is getting up their in years) and with a shirtless blacksmith who makes him magic keys each year (in between building thousand of doors!) Santa has only four white robotic reindeer, the creepy animatronics used will fuel your nightmares for decades. And yet when Santa does get to Earth, almost all his time is spent having a prank duel with a demon named Pitch, before a barking (yet friendly-looking) dog traps Santa in a tree for a few minutes. The main moral dilemma of the film is if good girl Lupita will ever get a doll for Christmas, or if she’ll go bad and steal a doll. Spoiler alert in that she does get a doll.
As you can imagine, this means Santa Claus is a target rich environment as far as Riffing is concerned. Already a MST3K episode, we got new jokes from Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett. Corbett himself came dressed up as a “North Pole Guy” (what the website he ordered the costume from called the elf costume) and the audience immediately sided with him on the curly shoe debate. Spoiler alert, curly shoes rule, and straight-shoer Mike Nelson received a chorus of boos.
Before the Christmas cheer, we got a new short, another of the At Your Fingertips series, the most ponderous children’s shorts ever made. This time, At Your Fingertips: Sugar and Spice taught everyone how to mold sugar into bizarre shapes that it later suggested eating, giving a glimpse to an alternate world where childhood diabetes isn’t a major epidemic. And let’s not even talk about how hyper those kids will be after all that sugar, they’ll be running on the ceiling for weeks!
Overall, the show was hilarious, the riffs were on point, Craig blessed the world and Santa celebrated his birth by giving away a doll and having some rich kid get to see his absentee parents. Might have been nice to give Lupita’s dad a job, but what are you gonna do? Santa has always given rich kids more stuff, because Santa is a lousy fink. That’s right, Santa, you suck! On the other hand, RiffTrax rules!