Santa Takes on The Devil in a Grudge Match in Ballard Tonight!
The Hell with It’s a Wonderful Life. Miracle on 34th Street? Meh. Give me a demented Mexican import from 1959 starring Santa Claus, Merlin the Magician, The Devil, and creepy dancing dolls any old day of the holidays.
Santa Claus, the aforementioned holiday spectacle, must be the most mind-broilingly bizarre Christmas flick ever committed to celluloid. Imported by Florida businessman K. Gordon Murray in the late 1950′s, it wended its way through two decades of kiddie matinee programming and made a mint for its importer.
In it, Jolly Old Saint Nick employs ethically-questionable child labor to craft toys. He operates from a floating castle in the air. He uses an armada of James-Bond-cum-Rube-Goldberg devices to assess which kids are Good Little Boys and Girls. He sports a sleigh pulled by creepily-immobile white wind-up-toy reindeer. And he scores narcotic wacky dust from Merlin the Magician to knock out the small fry for toy delivery. He’s the good guy.
Old Pitch the Devil tempts a little girl to steal a doll, draws forth the ugliest id-generated impulses in innocent bystanders, incites a trio of Juvenile-Delinquents-in-training to vandalize local stores and kidnap Santa, and sics a snarling dog on everyone’s favorite flamboyantly-dressed toy deliveryman in an attempt to thwart Christmas.
Did I mention it’s a kid’s flick? And that it’s so weird that it makes Santa Claus Conquers the Martians look like, well, It’s a Wonderful Life?
The guys at Mystery Science Theater 3000 immortalized the movie on one memorable episode, but there’s really nothing like watching the Real McCoy, uncut and unexpurgated. I’ll be presenting it tonight at 8pm at the Aster Coffee Lounge in scenic Ballard, Washington. The Aster serves light food, beer, and wine, so it’s possible to actually eat, drink, and be merry. Yours truly will also be introducing the film, replete with choice factoids about its surreal breach-birth, and the cult reputation it’s acquired over the years.
Admission’s free for this screening of Santa Claus, so you don’t have to worry about blowing your holiday dollars…just your mind.