Best Movies of All Time + Victor Stiles


Not Rated

"All this trouble over a fat little man in a red suit!"
-- Voldar
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is a 1964 family film directed by Nicholas Webster. The film opens with young Martian children watching "Earth programs" on their form of a television set whilst a news reporter interviews Santa Claus (John Call) at his workshop at the North Pole. The childrens' father Kimar (Leonard Hicks), leader of the Martians, questions why his children, as well as children all over Mars, seem so sullen. He calls an audience with an oracle who tells him and his fellow councilmen about the Earth tradition of Christmas. To remedy their childrens' plight, the Martian men decide to kidnap Santa Claus and force him to bring tidings of joy and happiness to their planet. Upon their arrival on Earth, they meet Billy (Victor Stiles) and Betty Foster (Donna Conforti) who tell them where to find Santa. They bring the children with them to the North Pole, where they kidnap Santa and bring the three back to Mars to start their own Christmas tradition. However, once Santa realizes the Martians won't let him return home, he sets a plan in action for he and the Foster children to escape.

To be frank, the title of this film alone gave me enough reason to sit down and watch it. When you have such an outrageous title (for example, 1987's Surf Nazis Must Die comes to mind), it almost sounds so terrible that you just have to take the time to take it in. I had heard of this film in the past but had never had the opportunity to give it a view. Fortunately, the means became available, and so I took in this rather short flick in preparation for the Christmas holiday.

As excited as I was to see this film, I have to say that it's pretty darn awful. From the moment it starts, you'll be scratching your head, wondering how this one ever saw the light of day. While the premise and screenplay aren't all that terrible, the film's tone and mood ruin the experience as a whole. It's listed as a comedy on the Internet Movie Database, but I couldn't find a single moment in which to laugh or even slightly chuckle. It plays more like a drama than a comedy, save for more than a handful of awkward moments with a bumbling, "ho-ho-ing" Santa Claus that prove to be rather creepy.

The acting is atrocious as well. At times, it's so bad that it's cringe-worthy. You could probably find a way to laugh at it, but I was so taken aback with just how bad the acting was that I couldn't even muster a smile. I could easily break down each performer and tell you their acting flaws, but it will be much easier to say that the cast as an ensemble is simply terrible. I'd rather not point fingers.

Despite everything I've just said, I can see where an individual could find some saving grace in this film. It has all the makings of a cult classic, and for all I know, it has a loyal fan base that loves it to death. Sadly, I won't be able to bring myself to join those throes. Still, if you're in for a Christmas-oriented B-movie, you could probably do a lot worse than this one.

Movie Review Summary
Grade: F
2 Thumbs Down

1964, comedy, Donna Conforti, holiday, John Call, Leonard Hicks, movie review, Nicholas Webster, NR, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, and more: