Looking for a film to remind you of the true meaning of Christmas? Well, we can’t help you with that – but why not go see ”Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” instead?
The deliriously bad 1964 film has so much to offer: there’s jolly old St. Nick, a young Pia Zadora as a green alien and a cutting-edge visual effects budget that numbered into the dozens and dozens of dollars. The film by director Nicholas Webster is best enjoyed with lots of egg nog (and Webster may have made it that way) but here it is back in theaters nationwide with a digitally restored version so, you know, you can really appreciate that terrifying giant robot … the one that appears to be made out of an old water casing and a crock pot painted silver.
The intergalatic Santa adventure is the yule-log centerpiece of Santa’s Cool Holiday Film Festival, a grab bag of retro nuggets — a Howdy Doody adventure, a holiday greeting from Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop, etc. — and two seasonal cartoons from the esteemed Fleischer Bros.: “Christmas Comes But Once a Year” from 1936 and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” from 1948. Here in Los Angeles, the film festival is coming down the chimney at four locations, including the Regent Theatre in Westwood, where it screens Friday and Saturday nights at midnight.
– Geoff Boucher
RECENT AND RELATED