director Nicholas Webster
When it comes to the worst films ever made, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians tends to make the lists. And it’s bad, of course. I mean the title sort of tells you how hackneyed a concept it is.
But the film isn’t nearly the utter hack-job that movies like Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) or Robot Monster (1953) are. It’s insipid, sure, but it’s made for a kiddie audience so it panders on a different level. Maybe that is what offers up some of its most annoying qualities.
The theme song that opens and closes the film, while a blast from a very different era, is chintzy, sure, but it’s actually a pretty catchy number, if annoying. “S-A-N T-A C-L-A U-S, Hooray for Santy Claus!” Okay, S-A-N T-A C-L-A U-S does not even spell “Santy Claus” but you know…
Some of the funnier elements are embodied in the set designs which plainly look to have come from the local hardware store with little embellishment. It would be an easy set to re-construct in that way. One would hope the yucky-colored green skin tone paint didn’t poison anyone who had to wear it, including the very young Pia Zadora in a role that was made for trivia night.
The ultimate comic moment comes from the cardboard robot and the most ridiculous polar bear ever captured on film. Those are two things for the book of classics.
But don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. It’s bad. Pretty worthy of being on all-time lists. I would just like to point out that a cheap but more accomplished job of film-making.
Though the fight sequences might be among the worst ever filmed too.
As Felix pointed out (because we ventured on this “one of the worst films of all-time” together) was that Santa Claus does not actually conquer any Martians. He actually makes friends with them, tells corny jokes, and ultimately gives the Martians their own “Droppo Claus”. I did joke that a more straight-forward modern remake as an action film where Santa Claus indeed does “conquer” the Martians might be a good opportunity for the modern makers of bad movies to attempt.