Saturday, October 31, 2009


Original Title: Santa Claus
Year: 1959
Director: René Cardona
Writer: Adolfo Torres Portillo, René Cardona
Genre: Horror!!!!!

With the aid of Merlin, Santa Claus must defeat the evil machinations of the devil Pitch to ruin Xmas.

Surpriiiiise! I saved the scariest until last! Today! Halloween! Eve of El Dia de Muertos! Thank you everyone for reading and commenting and enjoying (cough) my super theme month.

But now, onto the dirty work. I've covered a lot of trash and a few treasures this month, but I have to say Santa Claus, while very weird and entertaining for the wrong reasons, just sucks a fat one as a film.


I was so bored watching this most of the time.

Let's cover the good stuff though for the sake of the holiday. Santa is a fucking weirdo creep! José Elías Moreno plays the jolly one in Cardona's vision of the Christmas legend, and isn't bad I suppose. I mean, Santa is supposed to be a fat fucker that laughs a lot and sneaks into children's homes, and he had that down. This Santa chose to do things a big differently.

Firstly, there are no elves in Toyland, a magical place where Santa's Castle of crystal and gold stands IN OUTER-FUCKIN-SPACE. No North Pole here! So yeah, instead of elves, Santa runs a sweat shop with children from around the world. We are introduced to each region of children helpers as Santa plays his magical organ and makes the bastard children sing shitty songs and play with 50s style toys that kids of today would toss to the side.

Keep an eye out for the children from Africa, as they are presented as dancing, painted savages instead of just some normal clothing like the others had.


I mean, the poor kid has a fucking BONE taped to his head!

With the help of his kidnapped child labor, Santa spies on children of the world, looking in on what they are doing with a long eyeball stalk, what they are saying with a satellite dish with a giant ear, and he even has a crystal ball type machine that allows him to watch their dreams!

Who knows what the hell this machine is for.

 (But I kinda want one!)

You know, we grow up with the Santa story, just accepting the fact that he knows if you are naughty or nice. But when a physical process is given to his deducing the information, it just makes it seem like an invasion of privacy instead. I wonder what Santa does when he sees a child discover masturbation for the first time.

What, too much?

Santa likes to play in piles of mail and hang out with Merlin the Wizard as his slaves make thousands of toys for all the children of Earth. Yep, Merlin the Wizard lives with Santa. He makes Santa magic powder to put kids to sleep (yikes) and gives him a flower that makes him invisible (yikes.) Santa conveniently forgets how to use EVERYTHING so Merlin has to explain to Santa (i.e. the audience) how it all works.

Merlin, played by Armando Arriola is so fucking annoying how he trots around and has a chemistry set and fake butterflies. Fuck him in his sparkly dumper. It was pretty funny how he was dubbed however, as it seemed like the writer was making fun of his movements and actions.


So while all the preparations are going on in outer space, Lucifer calls his most trusted demon Pitch out and tells him he needs to go make all the children of Earth evil before Santa arrives. Santa is apparently Satan's main nemesis. Huh, who knew?

Pitch, or El Diablo, is played by José Luis Aguirre 'Trotsky' who seems to be a pretty good slapstick comedy actor. It's hard to tell anyone's actual ability in the film due to my watching a hilarious English dub, but his movements and facial expressions were made for a role like this.

They could have at least found a costume for him that had the zipper on the BACK.

No one can hear Pitch outright, but he whispers in ears and people hear the voice in their subconscious. The classic good conscious, bad conscious, only without the good this time. He can also blow on shit and make it red hot too which was pretty amusing I guess.

And blowing on people as they sleep makes them have nightmares, including a particularly creepy one that he gives a little girl Lupita who is so poor she can't even afford a doll.

Which brings me to another point about the film that is pretty fucked up... the small poor girl Lupita doesn't even know who Santa is. She has the weird fever dream about giant two faced dolls that creepily dance around thanks to Pitch, but she just cant get that one sorry rag doll that she wants. We all know that it is because her parents cannt afford to give her presents, but the story is presupposing that Santa is the gift giver. Why has Santa never given poor Lupita a present before now? Is she bad for only wanting one fucking doll when there is a rich kid so spoiled he only wants a hug from his parents for Christmas.

Santa... child slave owner and classcist fuck.

The movie overall had some really messed up imagery and ideas. I must have enjoyed it on some level because tonight at a party I had a lot of fun describing this oddball image of Santa to several guests. Santa having wind up mechanical deer that turn to dust in the sunlight of Christmas morning, leaving Santa stranded on Earth to starve to death without his ice cream and candy made from clouds was a popular point and one of the odder elements of this version of the Jolly one.

The film was a mess - and I'm not exactly sure how children would even enjoy it. The songs were not catchy at all, and it seemed like the English dub was almost tongue in cheek. Besides the strange ideas portrayed that I loved relaying to others, the structure itself had me wanting to hold that fast forward button. Cardona somehow turned an hour and a half into fucking Lawrence of Arabia or something. Pretty miserable.

This film is worth a watch definitely for the ideas and images. It's probably much better in a group, and I kind of regret not taking the time to show it to my guests this evening. The English dub seems very sarcastic and is a fine way to view the film, because I'm afraid a straight presentation of it would just be too boring.

High recommendation for all the wrong reasons.

Score: 2.25 / 10

And with this, I bring Mexploitation Month to a close. How fitting that the last film is the worst!


Emily said...

I love a blogger who can write a review that's far more entertaining the film itself. Good work.

Was this featured on MST3K? It's familiar to me and I can't think of how else I could have seen it. I will say though: I always assumed Santa watched kids via mass security cams, so on that front, the movie got something right.

pickleloaf said...

i believe it was on MST3K. I would really have liked to have seen the Spanish version, but I cannot find it with subtitles.

Thanks and glad you liked the review!