From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Randym Thoughts: Oh No — It’s Santa Movie Season

Santa Claus has starred in a lot of movies. I can only assume he uses the money from his acting gigs to upgrade his workshop, what with technology always advancing. Hard to build iPods with chisels, ya know?

But, sadly, not all of his movies are good.

Here are some examples of the not-so-great ones. Some I made up. Some are real movies. Some I made up, and then found out they were real movies. How sad.

See if you can guess which are real, and which are bogus (answers are at the end). And just so the existence of hyperlinks does not give away which are the real ones, the false movies are linked to random Christmas-related material as well. If you are reading this at work, be aware that the YouTube videos will auto-start.


1. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

Let’s just get this one right out of the way. A highly underrated classic that is often (unfairly) cited as the worst Christmas movie ever. But like all of the best science fiction, it was prophetic, with the Martian society reflecting our own future society. Children are treated as adults in small bodies, and medicated with sleep spray when they get too precocious. The concerns of the anti-hero, Voldar, predicted modern issues around the impacts that mass production of frivolous goods have had on our society. If the deep philosophical themes of this film had been taken to heart, it may well have helped us to avoid our current financial crises as caused by credit consumerism.

Indeed, I believe that history will mark this as one of the most important films of the 20th century.

Okay, sure, they have a robot made of a cardboard box and duct tubing. But come on, who’s to say someday we won’t build disposable robots exactly like that, huh? Again, just further proof that this move was revolutionary in its visionizing.

Speaking of Santa battling aliens …

2. SVP (Santa Vs. Predator) (2004)

Santa’s elves, while searching for frozen cookie dough in the tundra of the North Pole, discover a space ship buried in the ice. They are soon plunged into Jingle Hell as a newly awakened Predator begins stalking Santa’s workshop and killing off its inhabitants one by one. But the Predator may have met its match, because Santa is no ordinary prey. If you liked the toy battle scenes from “Toys” or “Small Soldiers,” the body count of every Rambo movie combined, and the taste of Play-Doh, you’ll love this film. For those who are considering watching this with their children, be warned: the final scene, in which the Predator is lured into a giant Hungry Hungry Hippo pit and ripped apart by massive lunging Hippo heads, is particularly terrifying and bloody. Starring Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson as Santa Claus.

3. Santa Claus (1959)

A sparkling gem from the Mexican film industry of the 1950’s, this movie from Rene Cardona Sr. explores Santa’s life. Tour his lovely floating castle in the clouds! Watch as he battles Satan with the help of Merlin! Yes, Merlin!

Thrill to the “It’s a Small World”-style opening montage of Santa’s child labor force each singing a “culturally-appropriate” song while Santa makes sweet, sweet finger love to an organ keyboard! Check out the kids from Africa with the bones in their hair, and the belly dancer from “The Orient.” Stereotypes are fun! And it just gets better from there.

A trivia tidbit: This movie is so incredible that it is credited with starting the Saturday Kiddie Matinee phenomenon — the predecessor of Saturday morning cartoons.

4. Santa Claws (1996)

A boy finds his mommy in coitus with a man in a Santa Clause hat, and so of course shoots them both dead. Years later, he’s become the creepy, ponytail wearing neighbor and obsessive fan of a “sexy” B-movie scream queen, Raven Quinn. Raven finds herself naked quite a bit, along with many other women who are costarring in her latest project, “A Scream Queen Christmas.” Oh, and she’s struggling to find holiday cheer as her marriage falls apart. But mostly, she’s naked. The neighbor will do anything to make Raven happy, and that includes going nutters, dressing up as Santa, and killing anyone he feels has disrespected her. His weapon? A garden claw. Because nothing says Santa like a garden claw. True fact — they love to garden in the North Pole. This fine movie is a holiday stalker romance to rival Twilight, but for adults. You know, the kind of adults who stay up late to watch skinemax movies, but don’t expect that high level of quality.

5. David Lynch’s Satan Claus (1993)

Lynch explores the dark underbelly of Santa’s Workshop. An Alaskan sheriff discovers a body wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper, and a message: “The man in red is in my head.” A trail of clues leads him to the North Pole, where he encounters backwards-dancing elves, a sex-addicted Mrs. Claus strung out on “snow,” male reindeer who are “milked” to produce Santa’s Hot Cocoa of Immortality, and cockroach-filled snowmen who speak to him in visions filled with melting faces and jazz music. I tried to find a plot summary on IMDB, but nobody could seem to figure out what exactly the plot was.

6. Terminator: The Santa Christmas Chronicles (in production, 2010)

Skynet and the machines are winning their war against John Connor and the resistance. In desperation, Connor sends a friendly terminator to the North Pole, hoping to recruit Santa to teach the machines some Christmas spirit and distract them with peace and love and joy long enough for the humans to finally wipe them out. But Skynet sends its own terminator north, hoping to use Santa’s mass-production capabilities and human-tracking technologies to wipe out the humans once and for all. Can a machine truly be naughty or nice? Can Santa save humanity from destruction? Find out Christmas 2010.

7. Santa With Muscles (1996)

Starring Hulk Hogan. I know, those words alone are enough to make you want to buy copies for everyone you know. But then you worry, what if this is as bad as Arnie in “Jingle All the Way?” I mean, that was a Christmas movie with muscles too, and look what happened there. Well, let me reassure you, this movie breaks as many cliches as it does heads, and is as grand as Mr. Hogan’s moustache. The Hulkster plays a man who is conked on the head while wearing a Santa suit, and wakes thinking he is Santa. He then fights greedy real estate developers and evil scientists led by the ever-sinister Ed Begley Jr., all in order to protect an orphanage! Talk about the perfect holiday plot! And best of all, HH don’t wear no fool Santa suit, not with guns like his, baby. He walks around in a stylin sleeveless Santa vest and long black leather gloves. And a toupee. Now that’s Santa with muscles.

8. Dead Claus (2003)

Christmas and zombies – not since chocolate and peanut butter has there been such a perfect combination. Yes, it goes from Merry Christmas to Scary Christmas when cosmic rays from a passing comet bombard Santa’s workshop, turning Santa’s helpers into flesh-eating zombies. If you thought the dogs in Resident Evil were freaky, wait until you see crazed skinless reindeer. And you won’t soon forget the Matrix-style mass decapitation-by-Slinky scene. So come on, and join Santa for the jolliest, bloodiest slay ride ever.

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