SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS - Did You Know?

Trivia Compiled By: Ken Hulsey
Sources: IMDB / Wikipedia

Okay I know it's Christmas time and all of you have food to stuff down and presents to unwrap and I do to. I figured that many of you may want to escape from your family for a few minutes and read Monster Island News so I cleared a few minutes from my busy day to put something together for you, after all this is the season for giving isn't it.

So Merry Christmas!

Throughout the history of cinema there have been some truly special and memorable Christmas themed movies ... this isn't one of those. Indeed "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians" belongs on the bottom of the list of truly horrible Christmas movies of which there is as many as there are great ones.

Though the film has earned a well deserved cult status, which it has achieved by being truly terrible, there are some things you may not know about this ... um... family favorite (?).

Did You Know?

The Martian guns are actually painted Whammo Air Blasters.

This was Pia Zadora's debut.

Wait a second!


This is Pia Zadora!

(Pia Zadora (born May 4, 1954) is an American actress and singer. After working as a child actress on Broadway, in regional theater, and in the film Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964), she came to national attention in 1981 when, following her starring role in the highly criticized Butterfly, she won a Golden Globe Award as New Star of the Year.

When her film career failed to take off, she became a singer of popular standards and made several successful albums backed by a symphonic orchestra; as a singer she earned a measure of respect from critics who had previously written her off as an actress.)

Note: I was tempted to post a rather naughty picture of Pia but it's Christmas. Go look for that one on your own time!

Okay now I'll continue ...

The Air Force stock footage seen as the military "pursues" the Martians is the same footage used in the opening credit sequence of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

Most of the film was shot in an abandoned aircraft hangar on Long Island, New York.

This film is listed among The 100 Most Amusingly Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE.

One of the films included in "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (and how they got that way)" by Harry Medved and Randy Lowell.

When Santa starts making toys, one of the Martians is fascinated by a toy that's "a coiled spring that walks down stairs." The year this film was released (1964) was a huge year for Slinky, which had a resurgence in the early 1960s.

Most of the cast came from Broadway shows of the time.

It has been named one of the worst films ever. A remake has been rumored since 2000 with David Zucker as producer and Jim Carrey attached to play Dropo, though it is currently believed to be in development hell.

The movie spawned a tongue-in-cheek novelization by Lou Harry, released by Penguin Books/Chamberlain Bros. in 2005. The book, which includes a DVD of the original film, presents the story from the perspective of a now-adult Girmar, who has not only succeeded her father as ruler of Mars, but also narrates the tale in a 'valley girl'-esque type of language.

In 1993 a theatrical production of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, the Musical premiered at the Factory Theatre in Chicago, adapted and directed by Sean Abley. In 2006 a second theatrical production premiered at the Maverick Theater in Fullerton, California, this version was adapted by Brian Newell and Nick McGee. The Maverick's production has become a comedic success, a local tradition and performed every holiday season there since 2006, with the next production to be performed in December 2010.

Brazilian comedy group Hermes & Renato spoofed the film in their MTV program Tela Class, redubbing it as "Santa Claus e o pozinho mágico" (Santa Claus and the Magic Powder; "magic powder" being more loosely translated here as "angel dust"). In this version, Santa is a drug dealer.

Though the KIDTV reporter is introduced by the Anchorman as "Andy Henderson", Santa refers to him as "Andy Anderson".

One of the newspaper headlines after the abduction sequence says that Santa has been "Kidnaped".

When Stobo looks in on the toy fight, the popping sounds and flying projectiles suddenly cease (film was stopped to put the ball in his mouth).

In the Polar Bear sequence where the costume is clearly a bear-rug draped over someone's body the back legs are the same way a man's are when crawling with his knees on the ground and shins to feet level with the floor.

Now You Know!

Comments

  1. Ken, I do feel a little sad for you right now, here on Christmas Eve of all times, to have fallen into such a jaded trap of adultism. You are, my friend, missing one of the great jewels of existence in the loss of your innocence. Santa vs the Martians is a great movie, and it would be considerably lessened were they to 'fix' all the unimportant things you cite as wrong with the film.

    Think Godzilla's Revenge! Look at this through the eyes of a child, it is precisely at their speed, matched to their concepts of theatrical and dramatic complexity, they HOWL with laughter when they figure out how the martians are named!! And no one cares how cheap the costumes are -- we don't care in Plan 9 when we round that same shrub over and over!!

    You have to put this into the context from which it came, and if you show this to kids, you cannot prefix it with "this is the worst of all time" you have to FLOW with it, you have to cut it the same slack you'd give to two travelers in cave re-enacting for you the story of Luke Skywalker using twigs for sabers. Children can see the magic in a story, they don't need digital gadgets or staggering detailed sets, they just need a story, a story that makes sense, that deals with their own world, something where they can identify and fall in with the show of it.

    Santa vs the Martians is all that. It is no less cheesy than Its A Wonderful Life, it is a springboard for thinking about exobiology, about different cultures and different perceptions, and it is a parable about Santa and by extension the meaning of Christmas. How could you ever find fault with that? :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. jervaise brooke hamsterDecember 24, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    I want to bugger Pia Zadora (as the bird was in 1972 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mr. G you bring up a very important point that was not at all lost on me I assure you. Indeed this movie is after all a kid's movie and as you stated really needs to be seen through their eyes. Compared to other entertainment aimed at young people from the same time period this is as of the same quality. When we get older we do sometimes loose track of what it was like to young and innocent. Maybe we need to stop and all take another look at the film and try to put ourselves back in the shoes of a youngster with eyes wide open. Thank you for giving the gift of a nudge back in the right direction.

    BTW the film is embeded on the top right section of this site for everyone to enjoy and make their own judgement call.

    Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for mentioning the novelization. It was certainly a labor of love.
    Hooray for Santy Clause!
    And happy holidays,
    Lou Harry

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for stopping by Lou! Happy holidays right back at ya!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Saw SCTM last week at the Castro Theater!
    Also, I proudly display my copy of the hardback on my bookshelf year round. But right now, it's next to my tree!
    Merry Christmas to all of you!

    ReplyDelete

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