Saturday, December 13, 2014

Movie Review: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians 
Starring: John Call, Leonard Hicks, Vincent Beck, Bill McCutcheon, Victor Stiles, Donna Conforti, Chris Month, Pia Zadora, Leila Martin, Charles Renn, James Cahill, Ned Wertimer, Doris Rich, Carl Don, Ivor Bodin, Al Nesor, Josip Elic, Jim Bishop, Lin Thurmond, Don Blair 
Director: Nicholas Webster 
Jalor Productions, USA, 1964. 
This movie can be found in Sci-Fi Classics 50 Movies (Anniversary Edition) DVD box by Mill Creek Entertainment. 

Kids from Mars watch Santa Claus (John Call) getting interviewed in the television by Andy Henderson (Ned Wertimer). Santa Claus apparently has a reindeer named Nixon. Santa is married to Mrs. Claus (Doris Rich). A little helper named Winky (Ivor Bodin) makes space themed toys. 
Ned Wertimer and John Call
Andy Henderson interviews Santa Claus
Doris Rich
Mrs. Claus
Chris Month and Pia Zadora
Bomar and Girmar are glued to the TV
On Mars chief Kimar (Leonard Hicks) and lazy Dropo (Bill McCutcheon) are worried about the kids. The kids Bomar (Chris Month) and Girmar (Pia Zadora) watch too much Earth programs on TV and forget to eat their food pills. Lady Momar (Leila Martin) has bought some new food pills.
Bill McCutcheon
Leonard Hicks
Leila Martin
Lady Momar
Kimar and the council ask help from old Chochem (Carl Don). Chochem explains that Christmas will soon be on Earth. The Martian kids do not have real childhood because the information is fed directly into their brains soon after the birth. So Martian kids have to learn to play and have fun. For that they need to bring Santa Claus on Mars. Voldar (Vincent Beck) opposes bringing Santa to Mars. (Voldar is sporting a Stalin-moustache so he must be the bad guy!) 
Carl Don
Old and wise Chochem
Vincent Beck
Martians send an UFO to kidnap Santa, but there are so many of them! Military sees UFO in their radar and scrambles aircraft. TV News Announcer (Don Blair) tells about the strange happenings. Martians use radar screen to evade radar waves and escape. To find the real Santa, Martians kidnap two kids: Billy (Victor Stiles) and Betty (Donna Conforti). 
Martian spaceship
Vincent Beck and Leonard Hicks
Martians kidnap the kids
Victor Stiles and Donna Conforti
Billy and Betty
Friendly Dropo shows the equipment of the spaceship to the kids. When they arrive in North Pole the kids escape. They run away a polar bear. To capture Santa, the Martians use Torg the robot. Baddie Voldar tries to kill the kids using Torg, however Kimar has overridden the controls of Torg. Voldar is angry, because Martians were once proud warriors, and Mars was the planet of war! 
Polar bear
Santa thinks that Torg is a huge toy. After the Martians capture Santa, UN has an emergency meeting. Space program head Werner Von Green (Carl Don) tells about the plan to send a rescue rocket after Santa. (However the fate of the rocket is a mystery.) Voldar tries to throw Santa and the kids out into space. Santa uses some secret trick to save their lives. Kimar arrests Voldar but he escapes. 
Carl Don
Werner Von Green
Santa and the kids arrive at Mars
Santa and Earth kids arrive at Mars. Santa entertains the Martian kids. Santa begins to build a workshop. The Martians build him a high-tech toy factory. Kimar says that Santa can not return to Earth. Meanwhile Voldar hides in a cave with his clumsy henchmen Stobo (Al Nesor) and Shim (Josip Elic). Voldar tries to make Santa the laughing stock of the Martians. 
Vincent Beck, Al Nesor and Josip Elic
Voldar Stobo and Shim
Dropo wants to try on Santa's costume, but first he must get fatter. Voldar's trio goes to sabotage Santa's workshop at night. Dropo dances in wearing the Santa's extra costume. Voldar kidnaps him. He demands that Kimar must destroy the toy machine and send the Santa and kids back to Earth. Third demand is no more joy through toys nonsense on Mars! Kimar arrests Voldar and Stubo because Santa is already free. However Voldar and Stubo overpower Kimar. Martian and Earth kids render Voldar harmless using toys while Santa laughs like the Joker. Dropo escapes the cave, and meets the rest. The Earth folks can now return home; Mars does not need Earth Santa Claus anymore because now they have Dropo Claus! 
laughing santa claus
This is almost scary
Dropo Claus
Although being one of the IMDB Bottom 100 list movies this is still quite average children's movie of the 60s. Certainly it shouldn't be classed in the worst movie ever category. It is an old Christmas sci-fi film for kids, using similar style that was common in children's TV shows of the 60s. It looks a bit like episode from 60s Batman or the Jetsons. Only thing missing are the BAM! POW! WHAM! visual sound effects. Low budget and campy it is surely and the effects are very cheap, but still the movie has some clumsy charm. Also Santa is a hearty and jolly character. The image is (relatively) sharp, music is (relatively) appropriate and the plot is (relatively) coherent. And the movie even has an ear worm theme song Hooray for Santy Claus!
Rating:Average or So bad it is good

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