Sunday, January 13, 2013

Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964)

Starring John Call, Leonard Hicks, Vincent Beck, Bill McCutcheon, Victor Stiles
Directed by Nicholas Webster
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

The children of Mars grow depressed after watching Earth television programs about the Christmas holiday, so Mars' leader decides to kidnap Santa Claus and bring him back to Mars.

This movie has been critically savaged over the years as a piece of bad moviemaking, but I don't think it really deserves that reputation.  Yes, the low budget shows and you can criticize the acting and the script as compared to more revered holiday classics, but it's not a chore to sit through, and I think John Call is quite good as St. Nick.  The film's most effective sequence is likely the appearance of the Martian elder the chiefs consult before committing to their plan to kidnap Santa Claus, which is well-staged and the elders's makeup and costuming are works of quality.  The rest of the film is not quite as imaginatively conceived, or presented, leading up to a pretty silly climax, but I wasn't expecting Citizen Kane.

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