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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
It's the kookiest Christmas ever when Santa Claus is kidnapped by Martians in this "you have to see it to believe it" Christmas "classic." Maybe you've seen this movie hilariously skewered on Mystery Science Theater 3000, but you have to watch it on its own to truly appreciate it. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is just so bad that I can't help but love it, and that explains why I am giving this deservedly one-star movie four stars. The Martian get-ups are more ridiculous than Marvin the Martian's normal attire, the sets redefine the very definition of cheap, the acting is over-the-top and generally horrible, and Santa is - well, he's just a little bit weird, if you ask me. Every time the guy starts in with his distinctive laughing (usually for no apparent reason), I am reminded of the fact that Satan is spelled with the same letters as Santa.
Things aren't going so well on Mars. It's bad enough that the Martians are all colored a ridiculous shade of green, dress like rejected superheroes, and wear ridiculous antenna-spouting helmets on their heads at all times, but now the children of Mars are all acting depressed and withdrawn; all they want to do is sit and watch Earth TV. Kimar (Leonard Hicks), the leader of Mars, seeks the advice of the planet's 800-year old wise man and is told that he must bring Santa Claus to Mars so that the children can actually have fun and be children for a little while. Voldar (Vincent Beck) opposes the plan every step of the way, arguing that Kimar's plan will soon result in a whole planet full of lily-livered, mush-brained nincompoops. Kimar wins out and sets off for Earth in the most pathetic spaceship of all time to catch Santa and bring him back to Mars - along with two Earthling children. Well, Santa starts up a new workshop on Mars, hoping he'll be allowed to return home in time for Christmas, but Voldar is as tenacious as he is ridiculous-looking and is determined to kill Santa and stomp out all signs of Christmas spirit on the red planet.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians features a young Pia Zadora as a little Martian girl, but perhaps the movie's most unforgettable feature is the swinging theme song, Hooray for Santa Claus. If you watch the movie, you'll have this silly song in your head for days. Dropo (Bill McCutcheon) gives a memorable performance as Mars' resident screw-up with a heart of gold, but my thoughts always remain with John Call and his disturbingly weird portrayal of Santa Claus. I can pretty much guarantee that this movie will make you laugh with its unashamed ineptness, and bad movie lovers are ineligible for their very first merit badge until they have watched Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and lived to tell about it.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2004
This DVD from Intermedia (Woodhaven), is the best version on DVD. The print quality used is much better that that used on other DVD's.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2004
Yeah, "It's a Wonderful Life" is a pretty good movie. However, the movie I joyfully watch every Christmas is about martians who, lacking a Santa Claus to bring joy to martian kids, kidnap Santa from Earth, along with two children. "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" is almost sublime in its badness, and with painted-green martials in skintight suits, a Santa with a lewd chuckle instead of a "Ho Ho Ho," incredible wooden acting by the cast (one of whom is Pia Zadora), unspeakable special effects, and a horrible theme song, it is a masterpiece of the so-bad-it's-good school of film. Just TRY getting the theme song out of your head.
The DVD from Laserlight looks exactly as one would expect it - awful. The supersaturated colour scheme has not aged well, and looks very grainy. There are many scratches, but that only adds to the film's strange charm. Unfortunately, the first fifteen seconds or so of the film's opening credits are not on this DVD, depriving loyal fans of seeing EVERY BIT of "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians." Unsurprisingly, there are no extras, although the menus are pretty good.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2001
Maybe I'm nuts, (some would not argue, including my wife) but I like this movie. It's one of those flicks that looks like you could make it yourself. Santa, played by John Call, looks very convincing as a Santa, but that manical laugh,(you've got to hear it). Sounds like Santa's a little deranged. Pia Zadora is cute as a little martian. It's hard to believe grown adults would wear those goofy martian helmets(they had to starving). But this is a fun movie. That bouncy theme song; Voldar the nasty martian; and, if I'm not mistaken, Stobo the martian has a striking resemblence to Jamie Farr. The final credits say Al Nesor, but I believe that was an alias acting name for Mr. Farr back then. No wonder he changed his name for the movie. See this movie with your kids, it's harmless, there is no nudity; and the violence, what little there is, is hysterical! If you like movies like Robot Monster, Plan 9 from outer space, and EEGAH! like I do, then this movie is for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2005
In every film buff's library there are always a selection of films that you would ordinarily say "just don't fit in with your overall collection of classics", and I would have to say that the infamous "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians", is definitely one of them. This film is a favourite target of those "fifty worst films of all time" lists and in some respects it has most definately earned a place on them. However it's far from the worst film ever made and indeed holds fond memories for this viewer at least when it used to have a regular screening on our local television each Christmas morning when I was a child. With its totally crazy title, a total budget that wouldn't match your weekend grocery bill, and laughable special effects, costumes and performances it is a definite Christmas curiosity to cherish always and which could only have been produced during the 1960's.

The highly original or if you prefer crazy story of this Christmas children's movie opens on Mars where there seems to be a strange malady affecting all of Mars' children. They dont talk, they dont play, and they dont eat, all they seem content doing is watching the television shows from earth which amazingly can also be seen on mars. Worried about what is happening to the children of Mars and to his own two children Bomar (Chris Month), and Girmar (Pia Zadora)in particular, Kimar, the leader of the Martians (Leonard Hicks), decides to investigate what it is that fascinates his children so much about earth television. On the screens are repeated images of a strange fellow called Santa Claus dressed in a red and whit ecoat who seems to spread good cheer among children all over the Planet Earth. After consulting with the 800 year old Merlin-like soothsayer who urges Kimar to bring Santa to Mars to spread some of his joy, Kimar mounts an expedition to Earth to capture this strange creature called Santa Claus and bring him back to Mars to try and solve the problem of what is depressing the children. While on Earth the Martians kidnap two Earth children Billy and Betty (!)who help the Martians find Santa at the North Pole. Blasting off from Earth with their three captives Martians then return to Mars and very soon Santa begins to work his special magic on the Martian children and before long a new mechanised toy factory is opened so that Santa can continue to make toys for the children. Despite all the happiness that he brings to Mars Santa makes an enemy in Voldar (Vincent Beck), a disgruntled Martian who hates the attempts to introduce a happy Christmas into the life on Mars and who attempts to murder Santa and the Earth children. His dastardly plan however is foiled by the children and Santa and he is placed under arrest by Kimar. At this happy conclusion urged on by his wife Momar (Leila Martin), Kimar realises that is was unfair to kidnap Santa and the Children and decides that they must be returned home to earth so that their anxious parents will know what happened and so that Santa will still have time to produce all the toys he needs to make for the Christmas period back on Earth.

Talking about the performances or production values of "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians", makes very difficult writing as almost everything about this film resembles a school production and a not very classy one at that. Despite its overall poor look there is however an endearing innocence about the film that I do find appealing. Nowadays the member of the cast perhaps best remembered is Pia Zadora who plays one of the Martian children which really doesn't say much for the rest of the cast. Vincent Beck does make an ok cartoon-type villian but the standout probably for all the wrong reasons is John Call in the pivotal role of Santa Claus. To say he is not the warm and jolly old fellow we all know so well is an understatement and he actually comes across as a little strange especially with his glazed look and rather sinister laugh which seems to start up most times for no real reason and has quite an eerie tone to it. Some dopey humour is also provided by the accident prone Dropo (Bill Mutcheon), who is obviously there as the much needed comic relief in the story. As stated earlier the production values of "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians", really show up its meagre budget with the cheap sets and the Martian characters bizzare makeup and costumes really looking like those from a grade school production. Dont expect any Martians resembling those from the classic "War of the Worlds", the ones depicted here are most definately the poor relations to George Pal's wonderful creations. Another "Z" grade dramatic highlight is the appearance of an extremely false looking Polar Bear that supposedly frightens the children while they are in the North Pole hunting for Santa Claus. Personally I found John Call's Santa character are great deal more disturbing than this actor crawling around in a Polar Bear suit.

Amazingly unpolished and clearly made on a shoe string budget, "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians", is still a sentimental favourite of mine and is always good for a laugh even if its usually for the wrong reasons. The memorable and wildly over the top song "Hooray for Santa Claus", sung by a group of children really is a camp classic and is guaranteed to have you laughing at its silliness and while it will never push out "White Christmas", on the Christmas music charts it does have its own bizzare appeal when you watch the film. For a bit of very different seasonal viewing in between the more traditional fare at this time of year make sure you put aside some time for this most unusual yuletide offering, the highly original "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians".
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2001
You've got to be in a silly or giddy mood to truly appreciate this '60's classic. From suspense formulation to character development, SCCM tosses convention aside and disobeys all film making rules. In fact, it is so poorly done, it is downright enjoyable! Enjoy it with your friends for a good laugh. Be enchanted with lovely Pia Zadora's film debut (I think) as the cute little Martian girl. Be inspired as Carl Don's character, the 800+ year old Martian wiseman, proclaims, "We Need A Santa Claus on Mars!" Get downright geocentric as the Earth's Christmas Holiday spirit prevails over the Red Planet's system of overbearing logic and Grinch-esque gloom.
Most importantly, jam to the film's wonderful jingle, "Hooray For Santa Claus", which I truly think is the best thing to come out of this movie. I believe this theme song is the most underrated Christmas carol of all time.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 1999
Simply one of the best holiday movies out there. Dated? Sure, but there is an everlasting message in this movie that overshadows any technical shortcomings. Besides, the reviewers that pan this movie probably prefer the plastic, antiseptic new Star Trek series to the original compelling TV series. To them I say: how many times must we watch explosions and special effects at the expense of plot and character development? This movie has charm, humor, clear cut good and evil, and it makes you think about important issues; issues more relevant now than when the movie was released. Besides, it's a fun movie for the entire family. John Call is an awesome Santa. No political correctness here, he smokes his pipe and is not ashamed of it. When Santa lets out a "Ho, Ho, Ho" after he is told he will not leave Mars, it's guaranteed to make you roll on the floor with laughter.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2006
As a child, I was chilled by the television commercials for this movie - the dark, snowy scenes of the robot lurking around the arctic, stalking the children; and aliens! In the theater, I remember having a great time with all the other kids in the audience: this movie had it all, as far as we were concerned - Santa Claus, Martians, a robot, toys, comic relief, spaceships - perfect for the children of the mid-1960s. It wasn't until many years later that I came to appreciate what I call "The Cheese Factor", i.e.: a movie made with minimal budget but with heart, something that kids will love and adults will roll their eyes. Today's children probably wouldn't give this move the time of day, which is a shame because they need an alternative to violent Anime-inspired cartoons and video games, and appreciate an effort that - while it has the look and feel of a glorified school play - is aimed for children of all ages who just want to have some fun and enjoy some silliness without worrying about whether "it's the bomb". This DVD preserves the "public domain" look; you feel like you are watching a FILM, complete with grain and scratches, as it should. Turn off the lights and transport yourself back to the big movie theater full of other kids, singing along to the title music (the lyrics, after all, are provided right there on the screen). The additions of the seasonal cartoon and Sherlock Holmes piece make it feel like the old "double feature and a cartoon" from days gone by. This DVD is a welcome respite from all the glossy high-tech films being cranked out today. No matter what your physical age, as long as there is an eight-year old lurking inside you who still puts out cookies and milk for Santa on December 24th, you will enjoy this DVD.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
It's the kookiest Christmas ever when Santa Claus is kidnapped by Martians in this "you have to see it to believe it" Christmas "classic." Maybe you've seen this movie hilariously skewered on Mystery Science Theater 3000, but you have to watch it on its own to truly appreciate it. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is just so bad that I can't help but love it, and that explains why I am giving this deservedly one-star movie four stars. The Martian get-ups are more ridiculous than Marvin the Martian's normal attire, the sets redefine the very definition of cheap, the acting is over-the-top and generally horrible, and Santa is - well, he's just a little bit weird, if you ask me. Every time the guy starts in with his distinctive laughing (usually for no apparent reason), I am reminded of the fact that Satan is spelled with the same letters as Santa.

Things aren't going so well on Mars. It's bad enough that the Martians are all colored a ridiculous shade of green, dress like rejected superheroes, and wear ridiculous antenna-spouting helmets on their heads at all times, but now the children of Mars are all acting depressed and withdrawn; all they want to do is sit and watch Earth TV. Kimar (Leonard Hicks), the leader of Mars, seeks the advice of the planet's 800-year old wise man and is told that he must bring Santa Claus to Mars so that the children can actually have fun and be children for a little while. Voldar (Vincent Beck) opposes the plan every step of the way, arguing that Kimar's plan will soon result in a whole planet full of lily-livered, mush-brained nincompoops. Kimar wins out and sets off for Earth in the most pathetic spaceship of all time to catch Santa and bring him back to Mars - along with two Earthling children. Well, Santa starts up a new workshop on Mars, hoping he'll be allowed to return home in time for Christmas, but Voldar is as tenacious as he is ridiculous-looking and is determined to kill Santa and stomp out all signs of Christmas spirit on the red planet.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians features a young Pia Zadora as a little Martian girl, but perhaps the movie's most unforgettable feature is the swinging theme song, Hooray for Santa Claus. If you watch the movie, you'll have this silly song in your head for days. Dropo (Bill McCutcheon) gives a memorable performance as Mars' resident screw-up with a heart of gold, but my thoughts always remain with John Call and his disturbingly weird portrayal of Santa Claus. I can pretty much guarantee that this movie will make you laugh with its unashamed ineptness, and bad movie lovers are ineligible for their very first merit badge until they have watched Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and lived to tell about it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2008
You can get it for a dollar at Target. And, for only a dollar, it is the best value-to-price ratio ever. You and your friends will spend hours laughing at the silly quirks this movie is made up of. Voldar, Droppo, the whole gang are going to entertain your socks off.
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