If there was ever a cool retro holiday movie, it has to be "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians!" The film, made on a threadbare shoestring budget back in the Mad Men crazy days of 1964, was strictly a kiddie matinee movie when it was released for the first time to scalding reviews. But of course, kids loved it!
The film has been digitally restored and looks better than ever by the Holland Films Co. and has been playing around the U.S. in special programs at theaters with over 30 minutes of classic holiday cartoons along for the ride.
"Rudolph The Reindeer" and "Christmas Comes But Once A Year" are from the 1940s and were originally theatrical shorts. They look amazing up on the big screen in full color!
Also in the mix are Ozzie and Harriet, Shari Lewis and Lambchop, and Abbott and Costello. There are even commercials that played in the movie theatres in the '50s and '60s wishing patrons a Happy Holiday season.
The program plays at the Palme d'Or theatres in Palm Desert through December 22nd. A must see for retro fanatics wanting to have a more "traditional" Christmas than touch-screen phones and Botox gift cards provides.
The film itself is a cinematic wonder. It plays like a surreal step-son to the '50s sci-fi classic "Forbidden Planet" and involves Santa being kidnapped by the martians to provide a Christmas holiday for martian kids who have suddenly grown glum and bored in their Jetsons like existence. Pia Zadora, a child actor played her part to camp perfection in heavy green face paint.
The finale where Santa and the earth kids take on the Martians in the space age toy factory is a real treat and a spoof of the vintage "Babes In Toyland" film. This is a really cool holiday treat to see this movie on the big screen and there is a trailer and much more information on the web site: SantaMartiansMovie.com.
Happy Holidays to everyone and remember there is no problem too big or complex that a cold cup of egg nog (preferably in one of your Tom and Jerry retro holiday mugs) can't cut down to size!