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3 Weird Holiday Movies To Break Up Your Media Monotony

Topics: Popular Media | Add A CommentBy admin | December 13, 2009

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians Conquers My Criticism, The Hebrew Hammer Invents The Expl-oye!-tation Film, And The Star Wars Holiday Special Redefines Horror.

Tired of the same old holiday movie fare like “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “A Miracle On 34th Street” and “A Christmas Carol”? Well, beyond the cultish and clever movies like A Christmas Story, The Ref, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Rudolph (which we already touched on here), there’s another entire layer of holiday weirdness waiting for you, and we’re taking a quick look at three…

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians Conquers My Criticism

You may have heard of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, or if you’re old enough, and your childhood was abusive enough, you may have even seen it as a child. If you have seen the film, you more likely rented it or viewed it as a joke, or as a bit of pop culture archaeology. The movie is often compared to the films of Ed Wood because of its amazing ability to pass itself off as an actual feature film in spite of its seemingly incoherent and implausible storyline, cheesy sets, and bad acting. The problem is, over time, the storyline has become a spot-on cautionary tale, and many of the sets, props, and costuming look almost hip in a weird way. Especially the 60′s furniture. And the acting? Although some of it is simply overwrought or on the other pole – a little flat – more of it is just “big acting”, which is simply a style that comes and goes. If you don’t appreciate the performance of Vincent Beck as Voldar (the cranky Martian that looks like Tom Selleck in green-face), then you probably didn’t like Daniel Day Lewis in “There Will Be Blood”. Especially when Voldar hisses lines like “All this trouble over a fat little man, in a red suit“. As a kid, that delivery really, really, creeped me out. And before the Martians head out for Earth, there’s a riveting scene with Carl Don as Chochem, an ancient and wizzened Martian they summon from the underworld. Looking remarkably like Christopher Lee as Saruman in the “Lord of the Rings”, Chochem delivers a monologue about what’s wrong with Martian children, though he could easily be describing your average iPod-toting millenial: “They have children’s bodies, but with adult minds. They do not have a childhood….They are born, our electronic teaching machines are attached to their brains…information is fed into their minds in a constant stream…they’ve never played…they’ve never learned to have fun! And now…now, they are rebelling!” Can you think of a better description of the average 16-20 year old? And the costuming and sets? Yes, the Martians are all wearing what looks like FM radio-enabled teapots designed by HR Giger on their heads, but this film wasn’t shot in Hollywood, it was shot in warehouses in New Jersey. Given that fact, even the weird “are-they-green-or-did-they-just-finish-working-on-their-car” makeup can be excused. And although the story line spins totally out of control about 12 minutes in, they do an amazing job of maintaining some kind of continuity. As ridiculous as it all is, part of what gives the film a cohesively Twilight-Zone-like quality is a strong sense of back story. A really BAD back story, but a solid one that miraculously holds together somehow. This film may just become a holiday tradition for me. If you’d really rather not watch it, there’s a pretty accurate text summary here, and a 10 minute YouTube summary here.

Vincent Beck (as Voldar, left) chews up the scenery like Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood:

Is that Christopher Lee In Lord of the Rings? No, it’s Carl Don as Chochem, an ancient and wizzened Martian

The Hebrew Hammer Invents The Expl-oye!-tation Film

Who’s the kike who won’t cop out? The Hebrew Hammer. If you enjoy seventies blacksploitation films, and you’re not sensitive to the spiritual beliefs or cultural values of blacks, Christians, Chinese people, anglo Americans, Jews, the disabled, or pretty much anyone else on the planet, you simply must pick up a copy of The Hebrew Hammer. Especially perhaps if you’re Jewish. In it, Adam Goldberg plays a Jewish street hero in the style of Shaft, a self-proclaimed “certified circumcised private dick”. In an effort to get her son married, The Hammer’s mom tricks him into taking on the task of saving Hannukah from the evil new-generation Santa, played by another certified dick, this one named Andy. To accomplish his goal, The Hammer partners with the leader of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front, Muhammad Ali Paula Abdul Rahim, played by Mario Van Peebles, which is just one of many tributes to blaxploitation as the movie creates its own genre, the expl-oye-tation film. This flick is rife with really, really bad vaudeville-inspired deadpan and puns that made it almost unbearable to watch the first time around, but will probably grow on you with repeated viewings, in the way that movies like Undercover Brother tend to do. The Hebrew Hammer spares no-one; from a Manischewitz-driven barroom slaughter of neo-Nazis to African American sex dwarves, The Hebrew Hammer has it all. One of the most powerful tools put to work by the evil young anti-semitic santa is the video equivalent of Chistmas Crack: free copies of “It’s A Wonderful Life” flooding the streets, which before you know it has otherwise sensible Jewish kids believing in angels, trinities, and wanting Christmas trees. Personally, I’m still hoping for a Halloween followup called “The Hand That Rocks The Dreidel”.

The Unspeakable Horror of the Star Wars Holiday Special

I’m not gonna say much about this program, partly because it was too painful to watch all the way through, and partly because you can watch it below yourself. George Lucas virtually denies its existence, and Harrison Ford will walk off the sets of talks shows when asked about it. Watch it yourself, and tell me all about it if you can make it through….