Film Review: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

Release Date: November 14th, 1964
Directed by: Nicholas Webster
Written by: Paul J. Jacobson, Glenville Mareth
Music by: Milton DeLugg
Cast: John Call, Leonard Hicks, Vincent Beck, Bill McCutcheon, Victor Stiles, Donna Conforti, Chris Month, Pia Zadora, Leila Martin, Charles Renn

Jalor Productions, Embassy Pictures, 81 Minutes


Known for being a terrible movie, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians gets a bit of a bad rap, in my opinion. Now I am not stating that it is a good film, it is pretty awful, as far as the art of filmmaking goes. However, it has some heart to it and unlike most really bad films, it isn’t unwatchable. In fact, it is kind of enjoyable.

If Ed Wood had ever made a family holiday movie, it would’ve probably been pretty close to this. Maybe he’d have a mummy and a werewolf in it too. The thing is, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is an entertaining bad film in the same vein as Plan 9 From Outer Space.

As should be expected, the acting is bad. The direction isn’t good either. Also, the score is poorly done. Most of the parts intended to be funny, aren’t funny at all. Then there are the parts where Santa laughs boisterously and it spreads like a plague, causing everyone to laugh uncontrollably. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is just bizarre and makes little logical sense.

Additionally, the Martian costumes are ridiculous, the Martian robot looks worse than the robot costume I made from a cardboard box when I was five, actual special effects are nonexistent and the sets look like something from a preschool Christmas play. That being said, it still works. The film feels otherworldly in a good way. There is something about its simplicity that makes it endearing.

It should also be mentioned that the film features a very young Pia Zadora, as one of the Martian children. She is the only notable person in the film and she’s barely in it or recognizable.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is bad. Yet, I still feel compelled to watch it almost annually as the holidays approach. Then again, I love to torture myself with bad movies.

Rating: 2/10

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