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Since Turkey Month starts on a Friday, I thought I'd start with a bonus Turkey! I mean, why the hell not? And it's time I started getting back to what serves as 'normal' for me, anyway. (Did I hear somebody say "...Abbie something..." or did someone slip me a tab of Windowpane). What?
Forget that you read that. And don't share it. I don't want any filthy hippies reading this.
Oh, you're right. I DO want filthy hippies to read me. I want everyone weird and wonderful to read me. Hippies; stoners; cinephiles; horror fans; theatre geeks; MST3K fans; bad movie fans; playwrights; screenwriters; actors; directors; LGBTQ people; free and forward thinking people; loving people; kind people; ecologically aware people... the list goes on and on. In fact, it might be easier to write a list of those I really don't want to read me. It's much shorter: Asshats; haters; bigots; bullies; religious nut-jobs; old Mormons; old Catholics; Neo-Nazis; Orson Scott Card and associates; people without a sense of humor and anyone remotely associated with a 'reality' TV show. That's it. So if you don't fall into one of the categories on the shorter list, please read on. Though, on second thought, those on the short list just might learn a thing or two... Oh, who am I kidding?
Sorry. Rant over. Let's get to this week's Turkey, then.
I have briefly mentioned this movie back in 2008, calling it My Favorite MST3K Episode. But it's crapulence was evident to me even as a child... 1964's Santa Claus Conquers the Martians could very well serve as a monument to truly terrible kids' movies. What makes this movie especially delicious to Turkey connoisseurs is that it marks the first film appearance by future Golden Globe "winner" and future spousal abuser, Pia Zadora, as the Martian child Girmar.
So here's the plot: The Martians have been monitoring TV signals from Earth and have become jealous that there is no Santa Claus on Mars to give toys to the Martian children. The obvious solution? Kidnap Santa, of course. Meanwhile, two American brats on their way to meet Santa (I forget and don't care why) get wind of the plot and stow-away on the Martians' flying saucer. They and Santa are forced to make toys for Martian kids, but the machines breakdown or something and then the really stupid alien (i.e. most child-like) becomes the Martian Santa and the kids and the real Santa get home just in time to deliver toys on Christmas Eve.
Terribly written, horribly acted and ineptly directed by Nicholas Webster (best known for his TV work in the 60's and 70's), Santa Claus Conquers... has become a high-camp classic, skewered beautifully by the folks at MST3K and even more fun with a group of smart, quick-witted friends. The production values practically scream "CHEAP!!!" and the acting is more painful than a root-canal without Novocaine. If you love bad movies and have never seen it, make it a point to do so. If you love bad movies and you have seen it, then you know exactly why it's such a wonderfully awful thing. And honestly, it's nice to see Ms Zadora as an innocent, before she married a rich old coot who bought her a Golden Globe (in a category which no longer exists) or a beater of her later, younger new husband. And don't be surprised to see her pop up at least once more this month (anyone remember Butterfly, 18 years later? Poor, poor Orson... ).
Here are both the trailer and highlights from the MST3K version:
Dig that groovy soundtrack, Baby!
"Pills for breakfast? Who are we, Judy Garland?" Man, I miss this show so very much!
Well, that's better! I can see the inklings of my old self coming back. And it feels nice. Hope I got a smile out of you, too (I know a certain someone in Chicago enjoyed this post, at the very least - he knows who he is).