Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmarathon Day 22: MST3K Xmas Bonanza

These are probably going to be the two worst films I'll mention during the entirety of my Christmas movie marathon, but they're also the two that are the most worth watching. The movies themselves are terrible and completely unwatchable, but they were both used for episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, so that was how I first saw them, and that's the only way anybody would be able to sit through them at all.

If you have never seen or heard of MST3K, it's a show that takes old, terrible movies, and has their cast make jokes as it plays in the background. It's a hard concept to explain if you've never seen it, but it's my all time favorite TV show that doesn't have the words Star or Trek in the title. At it's best, it's brilliantly funny, and they are at their best when the movies on which they are riffing are at their worst. Over the course of the show, they did two Christmas movies, both of which are as bad as anything they've ever done, and they'd done the worst movies in the history of mankind. That was pretty much their thing.

Santa Claus Conquers The Martians is a movie about, well, Santa Claus conquering the Martians. Some Martians kidnap Santa and bring him back to Mars because they want him to bring presents to the children of their planet. It's every bit as dumb as it sounds, with horrible production values, laughable acting, and terrible dialogue. It sucks.

The MST3K episode is from the third season, and features Joel as the main guy. It's a movie that seems made to be mocked, and Joel and the bots do a great job. It's a very, very funny episode. It's interesting how they go on and on about how one of the kids in this movie is played by a very young Pia Zadora, considering how nobody today remembers who the hell Pia Zadora was anyway. Joel and his cohorts from Cinematic Titanic redid this film, doing mostly the same style of jokes and riffing. I haven't seen that, but I'm sure it's funny too.

And if you thought Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was awful, check out Santa Claus, a Mexican Christmas movie with some of the oddest mythology ever presented on film. Santa Claus as his team of children have to go up against the Devil, who is attempting to seduce children all across Mexico into doing evil deeds. This movie is beyond weird, featuring a Santa Claus who lives in space and spies on the children of the world with a giant telescope that has giant eyelashes. I mean, having Santa Clause fight Martians is all well and good, but when you bring the devil into the equation, things just get too weird. Shouldn't God or Jesus step in at that point?

But this episode of MST3K is amazing. It's without a doubt my all time favorite episode from the entire series. It's crazy funny and a perfect jumping on point for anybody who has never seen the show before. The episode is from the fifth season so it features Mike as the main guy. I'll always love Joel, but I'm a die hard Mike Nelson fan through and through. His style is just funnier to me, and he's never been better than he was in this episode.

Both episodes are available to watch on youtube (along with seemingly every other episode of MST3K), and they are well worth checking out if you want to laugh while enjoying some Christmas cheer. They also both inspired two great alternative Christmas songs:

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