Combustible Celluloid
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With: 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
Written by: Glenville Mareth, based on a story by Paul L. Jacobson
Directed by: Nicholas Webster
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 81
Date: 11/14/1964

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

3 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

What holiday would be complete without it? Nicholas Webster's Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) is generally considered one of the worst movies ever made, but it's still great cheesy fun during the holidays. Santa doesn't even really "conquer" the Martians; rather, he kindly brings them their own version of Christmas on Mars.

Martian leaders begin to grow alarmed at their children's growing listlessness and decide to kidnap Santa Claus (John Call) to solve the problem. A young Pia Zadora stars as "Girmar," the very clever shortening of "Girl Martian." The insidious theme song "Hooray for Santy Claus" will be running through your head for weeks. In 2011, I took my son to see this movie on the big screen, and it was a Christmas season I'll not soon forget.

This public domain classic is currently available (appropriately) on several budget DVDs, and viewers can even view it online for free. There's even a MST3K version. But in 2012, Kino Lorber released an official Blu-ray edition. The quality is not pristine, and the print still has some scratches and whatnot, but it's nice to see this Christmas favorite rescued. As a terrific extra, there's 45 minutes worth of bizarre, wonderful old Christmas-themed industrial films and cartoons, as well as the film's trailer and a stills gallery.

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