Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
by Corinne Rizzo
As the holiday grows nearer, so does the madness. People tearing retailers apart to get the perfect gift for their loved ones, bumper to bumper traffic anywhere near a shopping center, and lost baggage. The madness can lead to a lack luster attitude and sometimes even depression if you’re caught off your mental guard too quickly. Unfortunately for kids of Mars, depression and motivational issues are rampant even without the impending holiday season. They won’t eat their meal pills and the young Martians are glued to their television sets watching Earth channels that show them nothing but the cheer and excitement of Christmas and the arrival of Santa Clause.
Well, Kimar, the Martian king, or some sort of master authority figure on the red planet, is tired of the lackadaisical behaviors and consults his cohorts as well as an acient oracle on the planet, deciding that Santa Clause will save the children of Mars.
So, Kimar and his troop of poorly outfitted Martians head to hearth to kidnap Santa.
When Santa is captured, he is quickly turned into a slave for the planet, mass producing toys and working late hours, while sleeping on a compound where he is monitored.
When watching Santa Clause Conquers the Martians, especially after seeing Christmas on Mars, you cannot help but draw similarities. While Santa Clause Conquers is directed toward kids, who might be more forgiving of the terrible costumes and green face paint, Christmas on Mars is directed toward an older audience, where the green paint and kitschy outfits are appreciated for their effort.
Santa Clause Conquers the Martians is a film that was produced solely for entertainment purposes and geared toward kids, though as adult watching it, it offered nothing except a temporary cure for insomnia. Finally finishing the film after three attempts, the best thing that comes out of the film is that it might have just inspired the fantastical freak out film that is Christmas on Mars.
The viewer, watching these films in comparison will see the where Coyne could have watched the film and stripped down the ideas he liked and disregarded the ones he didn’t. Both films share the idea that Santa Clause is a symbol of generosity and joy, though in Santa Clause Conquers the Martians, Santa is used purely to produce material items as gifts to promote happiness on the planet where as Christmas on Mars’ Santa brings hope and understanding to the crew through other ways.
Other similarities exist between the two films, though through some research there is no true and previously existing connection to be made between Wayne Coyne and Nicholas Webster (the director of Santa Conquers the Martians).
If nothing else, the film is important because it shows that hope and generosity are ideas that originate within the human condition, regardless of whether the humans have been relocated or kidnapped. Santa Clause doesn’t necessarily conquer the Martians in this film, though he does find a replacement and through that, shows that the hope and pure intentions innate within the human condition are contagious, if we choose for them to be.
Check out both movies and compare them. The viewer will feel as though they are getting into the head of Wayne Coyne, regardless of whether the film was an inspiration to him.
Santa Clause Conquers The Martians is available on Instant Watch, but can also be downloaded for free on IMDb. Christmas on Mars can be downloaded via The Flaming Lips’ website or it can be ordered for a small fee and delivered to your home.
For anyone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas in traditional ways, these two films are a great way to start a new tradition.
Top Five Reasons To Watch Santa Clause Conquers The Martians
1) It cures sleeplessness.
2) It is unintentionally hilarious.
3) They never asked any of the actors to shave…they just put green paint in their beards too.
4) Because you’ve probably never seen anything as hokey.
5) Santa Clause laughs a lot for no good reason, which to the kids in the movie is good, but for the viewer might insight some sort of “What the hell?” response.
Posted on December 16, 2011, in REViEW and tagged 1964, bill mccutcheon, children's films, christmas films, christmas on mars, john call, leonard hicks, nicholas webster, science fiction, the flaming lips, vincent beck, wayne coyne. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.