Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)


“That’s what you’re all becoming… Martianmallows.”

So the Martians of this piece have no idea what television is, despite watching it often. They have no idea what dolls are. They have no comprehension of the idea of tender loving care, but they’re fans of hamburgers and chocolate cake in pill form? How does that work? I have a feeling even with the notorious “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” being touted to children in its original release, the kids in the audience sat through about twenty minutes, and thought this experience would be much better with some acid at hand. It’s not so much that “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” is a bad movie, it’s that it’s so terribly put together and written that it ends up watching as a slow and painful death that you can’t help to look at with sheer disbelief.

I’m not too sure why the Martians call each other by their unnecessarily complicated names in every single sentence the mutter. Is it a subliminal form of convincing the audience these are actual Martians? And how did the Martians actually get a hold of an Earth frequency with television? Did they have their own idea of television? And why is Santa Claus (who is practically a failed stand-up with his clunky one-liners) so tickled at the concept of Martians from outer space? He’s a mythical being who travels around the world in one night! In spite of that the Martians have no concept of the luxuries of normal humans but are still plagued with mind-numbingly stupid Martian children whom are hypnotized by their television shows. Santa is of course preparing for the yearly Christmas extravaganza and the Martians are intrigued by concepts of “fun” and “toys” and “childhood.” They need a Santa Claus on Mars, proclaims the elder of their planet! Poppycock! The Martian men are opposed to this plan because a Santa will turn their children in to laughing, running nuisances causing a ruckus.

Where is this planet and how do I get there? After mocking the humans and their silly above ground constructs called “skyscrapers,” they are baffled as to the numerous Santa’s on street corners during this Christmas holiday, and the search inevitably leads to the obvious direction: The actual Santa they just saw on Television. So they can grasp the technology they built, but can’t really understand that the people in the television are capable of being taken to their home world? And why of the indication that this whole kidnapping has been coming for centuries? Why did it take centuries to figure out that kidnapping an obese man in red would save their planet by giving their children individual thoughts they fear will ruin their world? Wouldn’t an assassination be easier? How does that make sense?

Will Drop-o learn the meaning of Christmas? There isn’t a real story to be told in this messy attempt at family serial fare, as it’s a combination of separate sub-plots, all of which are set up and never actually resolved. All the while, the flick pretends it’s trying to tell the audience something about the dangers of television, but it’s swiftly forgotten over the mocking laughter at the horrific production qualities, and god awful performances. Even as an innocent approach toward kiddy fun, this is a terrible product of people who wanted to appeal to kids but likely never met one in their lives. I can see “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” being remade in to a family adventure film in the area of “Zathura” meets “The Santa Clause” but this monstrosity of sixties camp really will do you no favors for the holidays. Nonsensical, tedious, and filled with such delightfully terrible production values, this is a car wreck that just has to be seen.