I know a lot of you are looking at this induction, one that has a spiffy 60×70 pixel image with a “NEW!” on the main inductions page and saying, “Waitaminute, pal – this isn’t a new induction. You’ve already done this movie! And for CHRISTMAS, no less, you’re rooking us! What a gyp!”
And you’d be right.
This is a movie I’ve already written about. In fact, I believe it was the first ever non-wrestling write-up I did as an induction, and that started the whole tradition of doing horrible Christmas movies as inductions every December. As you can imagine, for that reason alone, this thing holds a special place in my heart.
And it’s precisely for that reason I am covering it again; because the original induction, all 400 words or so and a measley six pictures just didn’t do it justice. Every December I repost that induction, and I get depressed. How can I have treated such a masterpiece , a film that meant so much to me, WrestleCrap.com as an entity, and most importantly my fellow Crappers so poorly? Seriously, the induction for Jack Frost is like 10 times as long as the original induction for Santa Claus.
I don’t care if that movie did have a crazed snowman attempting to fornicate with Shannon Elizabeth using a carrot penis, this just won’t do. It’s time to right some wrongs, and we’re doing it today.
Beyond getting the shaft for the past several years here at the Crap, the film has also been disserviced as it pertains to general public knowledge as well. I dare say that even those who have “seen” this movie probably haven’t seen it in all its glory. Most of you who have watched this have likely done so thanks to Mystery Science Theater 3000. That’s where I saw it originally, and it was all kinds of fun laughing along with Crow, Mike, and Tom Servo as they riffed the flick. Considering they just re-released it, complete with a fantastic “Santa Conquers the Devil – a 50-Year Retrospective” documentary, you could easily assume that was everything you ever wanted to know about this film. (Oh, and if you really want to help out this site, you can order that DVD by clicking rightchere.)
It wasn’t until years later when I found the non-MST version that I realized that even the MST3K crew didn’t experience all the insanity, as there were several parts that were edited out (likely due to time constraints). So in addition to upgrading this induction, I’d like to think I’m also providing a service here for everyone who’s not seen the film in all its gooftastic glory.
So a bit of backstory on this movie. Originally released in 1959, the film was directed by a fellow named Rene Cardona, who had released a movie called Pulgarcito, which was released in the US as Tom Thumb. The movie was a hit in Mexico, and thus he figured if that could generate some cash, he should probably look for other iconic figures to immortalize in celluloid glory. And thus, a movie based on Santa Claus was a perfect fit.
This despite the fact that pretty much no one in Mexico even knew who Santa Claus was because he wasn’t a part of the traditions of Christmas south of the border. I suppose one could even go so far as to blame this unfamiliarity with exactly who Kris Kringle is as to a reason why a lot of the movie doesn’t make a lot of sense. Or I suppose you could credit Rene’s lack of St. Nick knowledge for making the movie so delightfully wacky.
I choose the latter, by the way.
Just how different is this Santa from the one you know and (presumably) love?
Well, this Santa lives in a castle in the sky, a crystal castle. Despite being a supposed crystal castle, I saw no signs of Bentley Bear.
(Why did I write that? Ain’t no way anyone is enough of a geek to get that reference.)
According to the narrator, Santa’s palatial estate is directly above the North Pole. But it’s not like 1,000 feet above the pole, best I can tell it’s about 347 miles above the North Pole. Jeez, no wonder Santa only comes to visit us earthlings but once a year. The mileage alone must cost the guy a fortune.
It appears Santa is sharing neighborhood association dues with two other crystal castle owners. I’m pretty sure one of them is Jesus. Santa makes mention of Him a couple of times throughout the film, so apparently he knows the reason for the season. It does my heart good just thinking that Santa and Jesus hang out together. Why I can just picture them grilling out in the summer and watching the Super Bowl together every February.
The question, then, is who owns that third palace? At one point, I would have sworn the movie mentioned that’s where Merlin lived. Yes, Merlin, as in the magician.
Now I am really going out on a limb here that Merlin is the owner of the third castle, not because he doesn’t appear in the movie (and oh boy will you know it when he does), but rather because Merlin is ALWAYS at Santa’s place. He has a laboratory there you know.
Actually, you probably don’t know that, but rest assured, you will.
As I mentioned above, Santa is very fond of why there is a Christmas; in fact, the movie begins with the jolly old elf examining his nativity set.
And it’s quite the nativity, as he places feathers in the baby Jesus’ crib. I don’t remember that in the book of Matthew. Maybe it was in Luke, not sure. But regardless, Santa excuses himself so that he can go get the presents ready for all the kids.
I have no doubt you think I am making all of this up, so here’s some audio proof.
I especially like Santa scatting Silent Night in the most off-key manner possible.
Santa doesn’t have elves building toys for him in this movie. Instead, he plays an organ while children that I can only guess he has kidnapped from earth put together crap for him to take down on Christmas Eve.
Oh, and they live in what appears to be a prototype of the It’s a Small World ride. I always thought that they just ripped Uncle Walt off, but it turns out this movie came out years before the ride came into existence, so maybe the Imagineers saw this and decided to do some thievery of their own.
Bizarre? Yes. But let’s make it patently offensive as well by plugging in every single stereotype imaginable. For instance, here’s the children from Africa…
…complete with bones in their hair and spears.
Are you a child from the middle east? Then it’s belly dancers and machine guns for you!
I’d go through every country, but I trust you get the gist. I should note that all this happens while children sing even more horrifically than Santa himself.
Maybe everyone in this film is tone deaf.
But it’s not just all horrible singing and ignored child labor laws. For Santa also has an arch nemesis.
And that would be Pitch.
Ah yes, Pitch.
I’ve seen lots of synopsis of this movie on the web, and they almost invariably get it wrong. Santa isn’t fighting the devil in this film, he’s fighting the devil’s go-to guy, Pitch, who is apparently the dance troupe leader of the seventh circle.
See, Satan doesn’t really want to mess with St. Nick himself, so he just tells one of his cronies to do the dirty work for him, and Pitch is the guy for the job despite failing repeatedly in the past apparently. Pitch doesn’t even seem to want to do it, but Lucifer tells him if he doesn’t make all the children in the world do evil, his henchman will be forced to eat chocolate ice cream. Pitch is completely against this, as it is bad for his delicate innards.
Again, I understand you not believing me, so here you go.
Finally, we get back down to earth. Or up to earth. Whatever. Time for us to be introduced to the children of the film.
First up, we get a small boy whose daddy is quite rich. We know that because the narrator informs us that he is a “good little boy whose daddy is quite rich.”
Personally, I would have expanded on that, with my version being “here is a good little boy whose daddy is quite rich…and has a killer pencil thin moustache that would make John Waters jealous.”
Next up we meet a mother who is poor. So very, very poor, as we will discover throughout the film. Her daughter is the criminally cute Lupita, the child with the heart of gold that would bring a tear to Robert Gibson’s glass eye.
More on her later.
Finally, we get three rotten little kids whom the devil decides to recruit in his anti-Santa crusade. He hatches his nefarious plot by producing three rocks, which the kids throw at an animatronic Kris Kringle.
Somehow this causes a real rock to hit the real Santa in the head.
Yes, in his spaceship castle above the North Pole.
I’d attempt to explain it, but instead let’s just laugh at Santa’s misery. Just puts you in the holiday spirit, no?
Santa, now aware of Pitch’s antics, heads to his magic observatory to do some spying.
And let it be known that this is, in fact, a VERY magic observatory which has “some wonderful instruments such as the Earscope, the Cosmic Telescope, and the Master Eye!”
Ok, all those things are creepy, but nothing can touch the Teletalker. That looks like some kind of sexual pleasure device or something.
Maybe I’ll ask Blade about that later this weekend on the Christmas edition of WrestleCrap Radio. That looks like something he’d know about.
Anyhoo, Santa soon sees Pitch attempting to talk Lupita into stealing a doll. See, because she’s poor and otherwise wouldn’t get one for Christmas. Thankfully, the narrator, who apparently moonlights as Lupita’s conscience, chimes in and tells her to put the doll back.
She listens, which causes Pitch to go into hysterics, complete with gibberish-laden babbling. You’d think the devil would be throwing out profanity, but that’s not the case here unless somehow “bahabbaabbababaaahhhCURSES!” is a four letter word.
Before I go any further, I need to make mention that Pitch can appear and disappear at will. That in and of itself wouldn’t be strange, but his materializations are always accompanied with the world’s most annoying piano strike.
The plotline of the rich boy is next, as we learn that for Christmas he wants his parents…wrapped up in a giant box. All I can say is that if I were a spoiled brat and my parents wrapped themselves up for me to open on Christmas morning, I’d be mighty disappointed.
Maybe that’s why when he opens the boxes mom and dad look like they’re laying inside coffins.
Coffins with spotlights, mind you, but coffins nonetheless.
Time to head over to Lupita’s house. Remember when I mentioned that her parents were very poor? Let me explain how poverty stricken they are. Not only do they live in a one-room shanty, the only wall decor they have is old newspapers and crowbars.
If you’re ever bemoaning the fact your wallet is empty, take a look at your wall. If you’ve got something up there other than a CROWBAR, you’re Donald Trump next to these folks.
Into Lupita’s dreams we go, as giant ragdolls dance about and chastise her for not stealing the doll from that street vendor. Even without them belittling the poor girl for her honesty, I’d know this dream was the work of the devil…the 45 minute sequence of those ”toys” is the most frightening thing I’ve seen since…well, I guess since the Teletalker.
It’s really a toss up as to which is more traumatic.
So we get more scenes of Santa looking into kids’ dreams and eavesdropping on their conversations and him reading his mail and telling the stork that he needs a little brother for a kid and using an antique belt exercising machine and then going off on a diatribe about how the devil is centuries older than he is but he hasn’t been well lately and then barks like a dog.
How did Clement Clarke Moore leave all that stuff out of the Night Before Christmas?
So all this stuff happens and then suddenly Santa realizes that it’s Christmas Eve and he needs to get a move on. But before he can head to earth, he has to visit his old pal, Mr. Merlin, the Wizard. It’s a scene that goes on forever.
I originally couldn’t believe they cut this out on the MST3K version, until I watched it again for this write up, and saw the sun rising and setting and then rising and setting again before it finally ended. It goes on and on and on, with the running joke being that Merlin keeps forgetting to carry an urn over to the table where he mixes the ingredients. He forgets the thing like 20 times and each time Santa laughs harder and harder as I just keep reaching for the fast forward button.
Merlin finally outfits Santa with all he’ll need for his trip, namely the flower to disappear, the powder that makes kids fall asleep, which he formulates using, no joke, MORPHEUM.
NOW I get why Santa was laughing.
Before Santa can leave, he has one more stop, and to get the key that opens all doors from his blacksmith.
His big, brawny, SHIRTLESS blacksmith, who apparently lives in the castle with him.
If you thought those dancing dolls in Lupita’s dream were disturbing, they’ve got nothing on the shirtless blacksmith, who puffs up and flexes his unkempt red chest hair as Santa looks on approvingly in a VERY distressing manner.
You know, I always thought Santa hanging out with elves was somewhat questionable, but after seeing his lustful glances at the shirtless blacksmith, I am totally fine with it.
Time to load up the sleigh and get down to earth. The slave kids toss box after box into Santa’s magic bag as the old guy sings a song in which no lyrics come even close to rhyming.
If ever there was a Christmas song Celine Dion needed to cover, it’s this one.
With all the presents onboard, Santa cranks up the reindeer and gets them ready to go. You may recall in my original write up, I found these mechanical reindeer exceedingly creepy, what with their bizarre laugh and all. Don’t get me wrong, they are still rather unsettling, well…
…I’ve seen the shirtless blacksmith.
In comparison, these things look like Bambi.
So off Santa goes, nearly running into the moon on his path to earth.
One last look at all the primary kids sees the three naughty kids preparing some sort of trap to catch Santa (which consists solely of a rope on which they hope he trips); the rich boy’s parents hitting the bar and telling him that if he gets bored, he can always practice the piano; and Lupita and her mom discussing the true meaning of Christmas and them praying for Santa to bring her a dolly.
I’d mock them for this, but since Lupita promises that if she gets two dolls, she’ll give one to little Jesus, I really can’t.
Instead, Santa uses his MAGIC PARASOL (and the worst special effects this side of Santa Buddies) to float down to the ground floor of the house and just goes in the front door.
I know Santa has years of experience doing this Christmas thing so I almost hate to question his standard operating procedure, but wouldn’t it always be easier to go in the door instead of shoe horning himself down a chimney?
…the net result of which is Pitch dryhumping a pole.
Don’t ask me, I’m just reporting the facts.
To the rich boy’s house we go, as Santa leaves him some presents under the tree that he acknowledges the child won’t like. Why not give them to some other poor kid then? Anyway, the kid wakes up and begs Santa to love him, to which Santa replies that the kids parents are the ones who loves him. The kid doesn’t particularly buy into this since his parents are always gone; I mean, this is Christmas Eve and they’re out boozing it up, so I can’t say I blame the kid for being a bit skeptical.
So Santa heads out to the bar, becomes a waiter (?) and gives them his specially made “Cocktail of Remembrence” which causes the parents to remember they do have a kid, it’s Christmas, and yeah, maybe we should spend a couple minutes with him.
Sadly, Pitch doesn’t show up to counter drug them with a “Cocktail of Your Kid Sucks, So Stay Here and Get Smashed Instead of Going Home.”
But I guess then the little rich boy wouldn’t have been very happy, so everything turns out ok.
Seventy-five minutes into the film, Pitch finally – FINALLY – comes up with a good idea, as he cuts open the bag that contains the dreaming powders and the flower to disappear, causing them to fall to the ground. Even better, Santa is oblivious to Pitch’s actions.
Yep, it’s all coming Pitch’s way now!
So Santa lands, and heads to the next house…and is immediately run up a tree by Pitch’s dog!
Please don’t ask why Pitch had a dog…just nod your head and say, “Well, if Pitch WERE going to have a dog in this film, at least his name is Dante, so I’ll buy that” and we can move on.
Meanwhile, Pitch is running around causing all kinds of chaos, lighting phones on fire and convincing people that Santa is a prowler who needs to be shot.
That’s a pretty elaborate plot for a guy who’s original idea was to push a chimney out of the way.
Unable to disappear, unable to make the dog fall asleep, Santa does the only thing he can do…start screaming for help to Mr. Merlin.
Yes, Mr. Merlin who is in outer space over the North Pole.
Thanks to the Tele Talke…no, I can no longer call it that….thanks to the PLEASURE MOUTH, Merlin hears Santa’s cries.
Merlin’s solution involves Santa winding up a toy cat which runs away, which in turns causes the dog to run away as well.
I think that was a solution in a Monkey Island game I played back in the day.
So the dog runs away, Santa runs away, and Pitch gets sprayed with water, which is the last we see of him.
Can’t believe Lucifer’s going to be too happy about that.
Oh, and yes, on his way back to outer space, Santa stops by and drops off a giant doll to Lupita.
What, you didn’t think this would have a happy ending?
And it’s a happy ending for me too. Finally, I can rest this Christmas, knowing that this wonderfully wacky film has been given it’s just desserts.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
And may God bless you all in the year to come!