Merry Christmas! I’ve got one more present for you to unwrap, and it’s a doozy! It’s the Mexican fantasy film SANTA CLAUS, brought to you by K. Gordon Murray, the enterprising film distributor who made a career out of unleashing South-of-the-Border lensed luchadore and children’s flicks on American audiences. SANTA CLAUS made oodles of money for good ol’ K. Gordon, and he rereleased it every few years to bank oodles more!
In this version of the Kris Kringle legend, Santa Claus lives in a castle up in the clouds above the North Pole, and has enlisted children from all over the world to work at Toyland, where they make all the toys for good girls & boys (can you say “slave labor”?). Santa inadvertently summons up The Devil Himself (here called Mr. Pitch), who does his best (worst?) to get kids to misbehave and piss off Jolly Ol’ St. Nick…
Every classic sitcom had a holiday-themed episode, and THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW was no exception. Andy and Ellie (Elinor Donahue) sing “Away in a Manger” and Aunt Bee serves up some home cookin’ for a family in trouble, while crotchety old Ben Weaver (the great character actor Will Wright) is on the outside looking in. It’s a perfect example of what made this show so great, and includes a guest appearance by Santa Claus… sort of!
4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.
4 Shots From 4 Holiday Films
Santa Claus (1959, dir by Rene Cardona)
Babes in Toyland (1961, dir by Jack Donohue)
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964, dir by Nicholas Webster)
We have a few traditions here at the Shattered Lens. Every Halloween, for instance, we feature Night of the Living Dead. And every Christmas Eve, we watch a little film from 19644 called Santa Claus Conquers The Martians!
Or, as Santa himself might put it, “Oh me, oh my…”
Today’s Ghost of Christmas Past is … well, it’s a little bit odd.
Santa Claus is many things but, for the purposes of this post, Santa Claus is a 1959 Mexican film that reminds us that before he became an advertising icon, Nicholas Claus was a Catholic saint. According to this film, St. Nick also apparently lives in outer space with a bunch of singing children. His best friend is Merlin and he apparently gets along with Vulcan, the Roman God of fire, as well.
Perhaps angered by the way that Santa is beloved by children of all races and figures of all mythologies, Lucifer orders a little demon named Pitch to go to Earth and turn the children against Santa.
So yeah, Santa Claus is really weird. However, if you’ve ever wanted to see a movie where Santa is revealed to be a God-like action hero who holds the fate of the world in his hands, this is the film for you!
Christmas Evilis an odd little horror film from 1980. It’s odd not that it features a killer Santa Claus but that the killer Santa is, ultimately, a rather sympathetic character. If a slasher film could ever be described as sweet than Christmas Evil is definitely that film.
Of course, that might not be evident from the scene below. Still, I think the scene perfectly shows what so many children know — Santa is a judgmental and intimidating figure.