Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Ryan Watches A Motion Picture #79: Mystery Science Theater 3000: Santa Claus (1959, MST3K Version in 1993)
Not sure what MST3k is? Read this first!
Apparently Santa was not in high standing in Mexico in '59. El Santo certainly was, but Santa and Christmas were, it was felt, a distinctly American tradition that had little place in the imaginations of Mexican children. How best to sell the Santa meme to Mexico? Why, the only way to properly bridge the gap is to put Santa in the service of god! You know, make him lock horns with satan and his minions! Kid movie stuff. The MST crew have a field day.
Santa lives in a cloud fortress made of crystal and filled with surreal anthropomorphic contraptions that monitor Earth. These contraptions were made by none other than fucking Merlin. Merlin lives in the fortress with Santa. Oh, and an army of 6 year old toy-making workers from every nation on the planet. These must be the purest child-souls to be found on Earth, to be working for god's newest general in a magic cloud city. The elves are nowhere to be found, and this will be a strange movie indeed. I can only assume that they, like the angels before them, grew jealous and rebelled and were cast down amidst the fire.
Soon enough we get a bizarre sequence with Santa playing organ and singing along with each nation's representatives in turn, and let me tell you, it is a badly dubbed buffet of racial stereotyping.
I'd have to say this episode possesses one of my favourite MST3K moments to date, a moment where the clockwork reindeer, having just been awakened from their year-long slumber, begin to laugh along with a merry Santa. Now, the reindeer's jaws open and shut in a jerking, string-pulled fashion and they can never blink. Their laugh grows into what I'm sure is an unintentionally disturbing cackle, a cackle the guys of course are compelled, in the evil spirit of Christmas, to join in on. It then becomes an unholy chorus of laughter akin to the scene in Evil Dead where Ash has his first true mental breakdown.
It's possibly the most offensive MST I've seen, and certainly one of the darkest. Given the subject matter of the film in front of them, the boys aren't afraid to make fun of every national culture they can think of in the name of fairness and in step with the flick, and poke fun at the rammed down your throat religiosity and fear of hell that this film tries to install into children.
So: Pretty damn awesome. Still with a bit a Hallowe'en in the brain yet ready for Christmas, this might be perfect for you sinners.