Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Review)

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

John Call as Santa Claus
Leonard Hicks as Kimar
Vincent Beck as Voldar
Bill McCutcheon as Dropo
Pia Zadora as Girmar

First they came for the men. Then they came for the women. Now they have come for the sweetest plum of them all: Santa Claus! We got the original edition right here, not a Crow, Joel, or Tom Servo to be found. There is no Patrick Swayze Christmas here, it’s all pain. This is not the first MST3K film that I’ve seen without Joel/Mike and the bots (that honor goes to Alien from L.A.) but this is the worst I have seen without their protection. The thought that this movie is still being shown to children throughout the world as a Christmas classic is horrifying. I can only pray that the endless showings of A Christmas Story are enough to counter the effects here.

The SONG! My God, the song…. Each time I hear that song, it takes a piece of my soul away with it. Hooray for Santy Claus, indeed. Once the song has finished destroying out ears, our bodies, our souls, our lives, the movie can begin. A newscaster speaks about the upcoming Christmas time and having a reporter at the North Pole, and the camera pans to reveal the audience is not humans at all, but are in fact a pair of Martian children! Including Pia Zadora. I don’t care for her, but she’s there. Martians according to this movie are green painted people with various antennas sticking out of their heads, the antennas being made of metal. Back in the news broadcast, Andy Henderson the reporter is at the North Pole outside of Santa’s shop and is prepared to interview Santa, but not without making a whole slew of terrible jokes. Once inside Santa’s shop, Henderson interviews Santa, who is still smoking (give the gift of lung cancer this Christmas!) and can’t remember the names of his reindeer (Alzheimer’s), and he gets yelled at by Mrs. Claus, showing us who wears the red pants in that family. Santa shows off a rocket toy that works on real rocket fuel. Santa must not have been sued recently for manufacturing dangerous toys. We also see a toy Martian one of the elves made.

Meanwhile on Mars, Kimar, leader of the Martians, searches for Dropo., who is sound asleep. “Dropo, you are the laziest man on Mars!” says Kimar, the now immortal line. Kimar looks and sounds like he could have been played by Marc Alaimo (ST:DS9’s Gul Dukat.) Kimar scolds his kids for spending all their free time watching Earth programs, and sends them to bed. Lady Momar, the wife, returns with new food pills including Hamburger, Asparagus, and Chocolate Cake. Kimar has learned that children all over Mars are acting like his, just watching Earth programs all day, not eating, and not sleeping. Lady Momar tells him to go talk to Chochem, a 800 year old Martian. Chochem tells Kimar and the other Martian council leaders that the children have no joy. They must have a Santa Claus to learn to laugh again. Council Member Voldar is opposed to this nonsense, as that will cause children to laugh and be noisy and be underfoot. Voldar has aspirations of taking over Mars. Kimar overrules him, and soon they are off to Mars to steal Santa.

The Martians approach Earth and search for Santa, they spot many Santas wandering around the cities of Earth, and are confused. The military detects their ship and sends waves of stock footage at them, but the Martians turn on their radar screen, after removing a stowaway Dropo from the controls. More stock footage plays as the Air Force franticly searches for the mysterious craft. Some of these shots are also in Dr. Strangelove. This movie would have been awesome had it ended with Dropo riding a nuclear bomb down as it headed toward the North Pole! That is not the case. The Martians land in some field and come across two children who are just hanging out in the forest. Billy and Betty Foster are their names, and being terrible actors are their games. Billy Foster sells out Earth and divulges the location of Santa’s home. The traitor Billy and his sister are also taken hostage so they cannot alert the authorities, the missing children make the news immediately. This is pre-Amber Alert America, I don’t buy it. I bought this movie when Santa was real and some guy was interviewing him at the North Pole and Martians wanted to steal him, but not now.

Dropo shows the kids the bridge of the Martian spacecraft, which is empty, something you should always do while flying a craft around on a planet where the humans will shoot you down if detected. Martians return to the bridge, so Dropo hides the kids in the Radar Screen box. They overhear Kimar and Voldar plotting to kidnap Santa, and that they will be taken to Mars as well so no trace of Martian involvement is known. Kimar will also take Torg with them. Torg, you say? You shall know soon enough. The Martians then all leave the bridge to go out to the North Pole. Billy and Betty emerge, with Billy sabotaging the Radar Screen, then they leave to try to warn Santa. Somehow they get out of the rocket before the Martians and without being detected, and run off. Billy and Betty are no Robert Pearys, and they get lost, and are almost caught by Voldar before a man in a polar bear suit scares him off. It’s just been brought to my attention the man in a polar bear suit is supposed to be a real polar bear. Torg is more believable. In fact, Torg shows up next, as a robot made from a refrigerator box and a coffee can, topped with some silver paint and some light bulbs. Torg captures the kids, but won’t obey Voldar’s orders to kill them, as Kimar programmed it to follow only him. Kimar takes Torg to capture Santa next, the Robot bursts into the shop, and tosses elves aside to get to the jolly old fat man. Santa uses his Santa magic to turn Torg into a harmless toy, defeating the menace. The Martians rush in, and blast the elves with freeze rays so they cannot move, and get Mrs. Claus with them as well. Santa goes with them as he has no choice, and he’s off to Mars!

Santa wows the Martians with jokes of Martian-mellows, and tries to cheer up Billy and Betty with jokes of the Queen Elizabeth 2 (Those jokes always age well!) A Earth ship is following the Martians, and Voldar notices the Radar Screen isn’t working. What Earth ship is chasing down the Martians, Apollo 3? Somewhere in this movie’s universe Neil Armstrong hunting down Martians is a neat thought, but is never realized. We also never hear from this Earth ship again. Voldar takes Billy, Betty, and Santa on a “tour” of the airlock. He blasts them into space. Or he would have, had Santa not escaped with the kids through the air tube using his chimney magic. Voldar is arrested and put in the brig.

Voldar manages to escape by the time the ship gets to Mars. On Mars, Santa and the kids meet the Martian children. The Martian children laugh for the first time ever, Kimar is impressed. Voldar hides in a cave with a Jamie Farr-type Martian named Stobo, and some immigrant stereotype goon Martian named Shim. They plot against Santa. Santa gets a new factory on Mars, where he is pressing buttons all day as toys are made automatically. Santa grows weary and speaks of the impending automation of everything in America, but his complaints fall on deaf ears (or deaf antennas, as this is Mars.) Santa also employs the children at the factory, which is apparently an 1880’s steel factory owner’s dream, cheap labor, automation, easily replaceable workforce. The Martian children are all happy, but the Earth kids are sad. Dropo tries on Santa’s clothes, and tries eating food pills to gain weight, teaching our children to pop lots of colorful pills. Thank you, movie! Dropo cuts corners by stuffing a pillow down his shirt, now teaching our children to cheat. He heads off to make more toys. Voldar and his henchmen sneak inot the factory, and sabotage the machine. When Dropo arrives in costume, they think he is Santa and kidnap him as well.

Next day, Santa starts up the machine, and it starts producing freak toys, like dolls with bear heads, and tennis bats. Rather than fill up a whole sequence of more toys that will go on that island run by the flying lion, Santa calls Kimar. Voldar shows up telling Kimar they’ve kidnapped Santa, but the real Santa is there, and Kimar takes Voldar and Stobo prisoner. Dropo manages to escape from the mighty intellectual Shim, as Billy and Santa finish repairing the machine. In a turn of events, Voldar and Stobo overpower Kimar and plan to kill Santa and destroy the machine. Voldar’s plans are ruined when he rushes in, and all the kids unleash a barrage of toys on him. Voldar is somehow unable to mow down the children and Santa due to being hit with baseballs and toy airplanes and water guns, which leads to his downfall. Kimar revives just in time to recapture him, and Dropo is there as well. Santa declares Dropo is the perfect Martian Santa, and he and the kids leave for Earth.

And that damned Santy Claus song plays again.

Yeesh. So far, these are the most competent Martians, as they’ve actually succeeded in kidnapping who they set out for, beating the previous two. They also have a robot that can use his arms, even if only barely. That scores these Martians some points, but they are still near the bottom rung of Martians.

This film is available free to whoever wants it, though why anyone would I cannot imagine. I highly recommend picking up the MST3K version on DVD.

Interview time! Today, we interview Torg, the Martian robot!

Greetings from Earth, Torg! How are you today?
Beep beep beep. Beep beep!
That’s good to hear! So, what is Santa Claus really like off camera?
Beep beep beep beep. Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep, beep beep.
Wow! That’s shocking! No wonder Billy never showed up in any sequels!
Beep Beep. Beep.
We hear you toured with Chanti the Robot from Devil Gril From Mars. Do you have any dirt on him?
Beep Beep beep. Beep. Beep beep beep beep beep.
I hear you are working on a script with John Travolta.
Beep beep. Beep beep beep beep beep. Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep. Beep beep, beep beep beep. Beep. Beep beep beep.
That sounds like that will be a killer movie. Good luck, dude. we here at TarsTarkas.NET are rooting for you. TarsTarkas.NET out!
Beep, indeed!

Rated 2/10 (Bear problems, Man in bear suit problems)

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