Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Movie Review # 154 Santa Claus (1959)
Director: René Cardona
Writer(s): Adolfo Torres Portillo, René Cardona
Cast: José Elías Moreno, Cesáreo Quezadas 'Pulgarcito', José Luis Aguirre 'Trotsky'
Rotten Tomatoes: 43% Audience Fresh
Netflix: 2.4 Stars
What is their to say about "Santa Claus"? Well.. In all honesty it is creepy, weird, sadistic and just completely wrong! Now that I have said that. This movie as bad as it is. Is completely beloved, cherished and adored in Mexico and Latin America. Which I found hard to believe till I saw that it regularly runs during prime-time once or twice during December and families take time out to sit down and watch it.
As weird as that sounds in America I can not say a damn thing about it. As we Americans will sit down on Christmas Day and watch "A Christmas Story" all day long on TBS and we can not miss our "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" as well. Now that this history lesson is done and out of the way let's get to what makes this movie what it is.
"Santa Claus" is well um how do I put this delicately. He is into child labor to make his toys, he is also very aggressive angry and down right scary. He is far from jolly and is more of a militant man who wants to force the world into being good. But he can only come down from his cloud fortress above the North Pole once a year. Which is a problem as the Devil has come to Earth to convince all the children in the world to be evil.
So that Santa Claus loses power. As weird as all this sounds it is very and I must emphasize this VERY creepy! As you see scenes of people trying to burn Santa's letters, scenes from Hell, and a devil who invades children's dreams. Now as bad as all that is seeing all the children workers and them shining guns at the start. Is above and beyond the worst of the scenes in this movie.
Now choosing that scene is like picking the nicest turd in a toilet. You just go that one and say it is the worst. When in reality the whole package is just total crap. Especially when in the middle of the movie Merlin the magician shows up and the movie goes from Christmas to King Arthur and back to Christmas. But now it is more militant as Merlin gives Santa weapons that he eventually uses on three naughty boys. Not that they are bad but more questionable as they put them to sleep and makes them dream.
It is this that makes me squirm the most. It is just not right that a adult uses means to put kids to sleep and be under his control. Which the kids in his workshop are. Nothing like volunteer child labor to make your toys for other children. Now not to be politically incorrect this sounds more like a Chinese Sweat shop than a happy go lucky Elf workshop that we all know and love.
Now that all that is creepy about this nothing grates on my nerves and others nerves. Than the singing that is so out of key and awful that you wish for nails across a chalkboard. Which would be not only a improvement to the movie it would fit into this movies total weird nature! Like Santa's sleigh and reindeer that are wind up toys that become magical dust if he does not get back by sunrise? Really sunrise and magical toy sleigh?
But what makes this worse is the fact that the reindeer are white and beyond creepy with their laugh. It is nightmare inducing to small children if they have to watch it over and over. Thankfully it is a short lived moment. Otherwise I might be having a living nightmare. Unfortunately that does not help me as I had to sit through this movie. But doing it for this blog and this challenge it is worth it in the long run.
Especially as this movie has fallen into the public domain status. Which makes it one of a handful of awful movies everyone can enjoy. It is also seen as one of the all-time classic bad films. Rating up their with "Plan Nine from Outer Space" and 'Troll 2" and it has the lovable qualities of both of these movies. That it is so bad that it makes you appreciate it and as odd as that sounds. This movie did make it on "Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) and that alone proves where this film lands in all-time failures.
As they only did mock-reviews of classic crapfest films like this one and if they where still going on today. I am sure some of the movies on my list would be prime suspects for them. As I say that I hopefully one day can put together enough money and make a Youtube video series about these movies. But that is along way away and this is the best I can do. So thankfully I can find enjoyment in bad films like this one and that is not always the case. So "Santa Claus" you might suck but I can see why people love you and enjoy you. For that you avoid getting a horribly low rating.
My Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars (Just on nostalgia and it being a classic film!)