If you’re not in the Christmas spirit yet, these strange Christmas movies are sure to get you in some kind of spirit.
There’s nothing like a wholesome, feel-good Christmas movie to get you in the Christmas – I mean, Advent – spirit. Everyone with half a heart enjoys snuggling up to a loved one and re-living those old favorites: George Bailey sacrificing his dreams to help his neighbors, Will Ferrell bringing the Christmas spirit to New York City, and Santa Claus conquering those pesky Martians. Wait, what?
Oh, you haven’t seen the great 1964 Christmas classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians? In the same year that Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “war on poverty”, John Glenn orbited the Earth, and the Second Vatican Council hammered out the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, the world was blessed with this extremely strange space-age movie. If you’ve even heard of it at all, it’s probably because it’s regularly listed as one of the worst movies ever made.
Christmas is a cash cow. In the rush to release products to get a piece of the action, standards plummet, and the same goes for movies. I take it as encouragement though: if these movies can get greenlighted, then my amatuer movie ideas definitely have a chance!
In any case, the next time you’re snowed in (or the temperature falls below 50 degrees in Los Angeles) and up for something to shake-up the normal secular Christmas routine, here’s your must-watch movie playlist.
1) “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny”
From that great year for long-lasting classical art, 1972, emerged “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny”. What is an “ice cream bunny”, you ask? It’s a big bunny that drives a red car. When Santa’s sleigh gets stuck in some sand in Florida, the man in a bunny suit shows up to give Santa a ride so he can continue delivering his presents – that is, after a group of children with the help of a pig, sheep, donkey, horse, and a man in a gorilla suit are unable to help him.
But that’s just the beginning and the very end. Most of the movie is actually Santa Claus telling the discouraged children the Hans Christian Andersen’s story Thumbelina for some reason.
2) “Barbie in A Christmas Carol”
There are many movie adaptations of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, but what would it be like if Scrooge was played by Barbie? Your curiosity can finally be satisfied with this short film produced by Mattel. The main character is technically named “Eden”, looks slightly different than Barbie, and is a performing diva rather than a mean old banker, but it’s close enough.
3) “The Night They Saved Christmas”
Big Oil isn’t just threatening caribou, polar bears, and the lives of millions of humans that live on low-lying coastlands, it’s also ruining Christmas. When an oil company starts blowing things up with dynamite, one of Santa’s elves from the North Pole shows up to tell them they are threatening their city. When the workers don’t believe him, he takes them to the North Pole where they meet the rest of the elves, Mrs. Claus, and finally Santa Claus himself.
Being the pragmatic moderate that he is, Santa tells them where they can get some oil without threatening their city, and both Christmas and the oil industry are saved.
4) “The Star Wars Holiday Special”
In addition to well-known characters like Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, C-3P0, and R2-D2 – played by the original actors – you get to meet Chewbacca’s father Itchy, his wife Malla, and his son Lumpy. Christmas is called “Life Day”, and Princess Leia sings a “Life Day” song at the end surrounded by people in cloaks. It’s also 97 minutes long.
The 1978 CBS special was so poorly received, it was never rebroadcast or released on video, and only remains in existence from fans who somehow got a hold of a copy and have distributed it on the Internet.
5) “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”
When Martian children are watching too much TV, their parents decide to kidnap Santa Claus from Earth and bring him to Mars where he’ll hopefully inspire the kids to have more fun. But before they can do that, they have to determine who the real Santa Claus is. To do this, they kidnap two Earth children and have them vet various candidates.
Besides all of this kidnapping, not all Martians are on board with the plan to bring Santa to Mars, and one Martian repeatedly tries to kill him. In the end, they discover a Martian who can do a really good Santa impression, and they decide they’ll let the real Santa go free. Phew!
6) “Silent Night, Deadly Night”
I always thought one of the greatest Christmas carols ever needed its own slasher pic. I’m glad to know other people felt the same way and had the inspiration, time, money, and gall to bring it into existence for the good of the world – and then make four sequels.