SANTA CLAUS is on Netflix Instant as a double shot! Lucifer orders you to watch both the original and the MST3K versions, so you can take in the full madness. Do it now, or he’ll make you eat chocolate ice cream.
So here’s what I suspect happened. A bunch of Mexicans snorted 18 lbs. of high grade cocaine, grabbed some 35 mm cameras and, while on the greatest drug high of all time, made the king of all In Its Own Universe films. There is no other explanation under the sun that could explain the insanity that is SANTA CLAUS.
The first 10 minutes of the film showcase Santa at his organ, playing along as kids from all corners of the world sing. Does it further the plot? Absolutely not. Does it makes sense that the skit uses the same kids over and over again in different dress? Nope. Transition to the bowels of Hell, where Lucifer in the form of flaming stones addresses his minions, a bunch of dudes in red sweaters and tutus. He orders the minions, with their bad masks and glued on beards, that they must stop Santa from doing good. This presents a problem for Santa, who can only leave the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Good thing he has three 8 year olds as advisors, and a partnership with the great wizard of Arthurian legend, Merlin. And a telescope with a green eye on the end.
The film boils down to a struggle for the immortal soul of little Lupita, as head minion Pitch tempts Lupita to steal toys she can’t afford; and Santa and the forces of good try to convince her that she just has to hold out and be good, and she’ll get here goodies.
Santa’s an interesting cat. Merlin gives him the disappearing flower, which makes Old Saint Nick invisible when he sniffs it. And if he doesn’t get back in time before sunup on Christmas Day, his reindeer will turn into dust. Given the astounding loopiness of SANTA CLAUS, I can’t read these as anything but metaphors for drugs. Santa’s also got a key that opens all the doors of the world, which I take as a reference to gateway drugs that will open all the doors to his imagination. As for Pitch, Lucifer’s threatened to feed him chocolate ice cream if he can’t seduce Lupita to do evil. Munchies, anyone?
I always found it funny that “Santa” is an anagram for “Satan.” Claus likely gets his name from a derivation of the word “saint,” but this film finally posits what I’ve always suspected: Santa and Satan are two sides of the same coin, light and darkness, generous giving and corrupt stealing that go hand in hand. Without Santa, there can be no Satan. SANTA CLAUS has the cojones to put this right in your face. Alongside Merlin and a male devil in a skirt. Kudos, you crazy Mexicans.
SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS gets all the press, but that movie is awful, and it doesn’t have the sheer joy of Merlin or Lupita. I can’t believe I’m about to recommend this, but if you’re looking for a loopy Santa movie, watch SANTA CLAUS. I’ve never done a single drug in my life, but now I know what it would be like if I snorted a bagful of cocaine and made a movie about Claus vs. Lucifer with a bunch of Mexicans.