Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rifftrax vs. Santa: The Final Chapter (Please, God!)

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is one of the cheesiest holiday movies not made by the Hallmark Channel, and also a child of the Cold War. Think of it: when Martians kidnap Santa Claus, the response was the U-S military, or its stock footage, pulling out all the stops to find him...and not getting close

It eventually became the traditional holiday target of Mystery Science Theater 3000, with Joel, Servo and Crow teeing off against the movie with its cheap sets, awful costumes, and really dumb story. If you want to find anything to blame for the existence of Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny--or even Tim Allen's Santa Clause movies--this is it.

This past Thursday, Rifftrax took its turn against this holiday kitsch, even though MST and Cinematic Titanic had their chances already. It was difficult to find things that haven't been riffed on, but Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett managed to find a few. They just took different approaches. Mike wondered why the Martians never took off their helmets, Kevin marveled on the Martians' Air Blasters by Marx that stopped anyone cold, and Bill pointed out the movie had "famous people" like Pia Zadora, and Ned Wertimer, the doorman on The Jeffersons. Bill also lusted after Momar (the mom) a bit too much.

They also recycled two riffs from the MST version. When Billy and Betty saw Torg the robot, Joel noted in the MST3K version the soundtrack sounded too much like the theme from Jeopardy. With Rifftrax, Mike said the music was really "Alex Trebek's Funeral March." When Voldar plotted to "discredit Santa", Mike said they were planning to get Karl Rove to help them. That sounds similar to the original riff from Crow: "You get Donna Rice on the phone. I'll get a camera." Just look up Donna Rice on the internets, and you'll get it.

Here's some other riffs:

we see Droppo for the first time:

We have our Jar-Jar

Kimar meets with Chochem about why the Martians kids are acting strangely. Kimar says it's Septober:

Servo: Time for Septoberfest
Rifftrax: I thought it was Februly

The crew of the Martian ship gather:

Didn't one of you mess around with Fred Flintstone?

Kimar pushes Voldar after it's thought Santa and the Earth kids are sucked into space

MST3K: I love you. (Voldar pushes back) It'll never work.
Rifftrax: Invisible mistletoe.

Santa meets Momar

Santa's thinking of going green

Santa complains about the idea of having pills for breakfast:

Crow: What are we, Judy Garland?
Rifftrax: Courtney Love would have liked it there.

There are also riffs on the X-Files, Arby's (of course), a callback on a couple of past Rifftrax targets (including a recent one), JJ Abrams (especially his logo), CBS comedies, Norman Krasner, a certain movie with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, and Watergate. Voldar is also compared to Daniel Plainview a lot. It's too bad that when Voldar is defeated in the final battle against Santa and his toys, he didn't moan, "I'm finished!"

Before that, the gang found an incredibly cheesy Christmas short made by Sid Davis, usually known for educational movies that try to protect kids from drugs, auto accidents and sexual deviants. This is called "Santa and the Fairy Snow Queen." It's narrated by an overly-hyper brownie called Snoopy, who makes Mr. B Natural look like Clint Eastwood. The "plot" involves the Snow Queen who brings a bunch of "toys" to life. She's described as a "third-rate ballerina on pain killers." Here's the unriffed short:

If you get past the fairy queen's strange Valeria/Natalie from Werewolf accent, and the weird-looking costumes, you'll see this short makes the main feature look like 2001: A Space Odyssey. On the other hand, as the Rifftrax crew notices, it could be mistaken for an existential version of Toy Story. The riffs take on Ronald McDonald, Chewbacca, Lady Gaga, Twilight, and The Nutcracker.

Rifftrax's version was pretty good, but a lot of people are likely to say the MST3K version or the Cinematic Titanic is the best one. The MST3K version is available though Cheesyflix, while Amazon has the Cinematic Titanic version. Also, you can look at my review of the CT version. Judge for yourself who was able to conquer Santa Claus Conquers the Martians best.

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