Sunday, October 23, 2016


Posted: 22 Dec 2013 04:03 AM PST

Directed By: Nicholas Webster

Starring: John Call, Leonard Hicks, Vincent Beck

Tag line: "Santa Claus saves Christmas for the Children of the World!"

Trivia: The Martian guns are actually painted Whamm-O Air Blasters

Not all Holiday films give you the warm and fuzzies. Some might even give you the dry heaves, like 1964's Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, a saccharine-sweet schlockfest that ranks as one of the worst motion pictures ever made.

The children of Mars are walking around in a funk, and Martian leader Kimar (Leonard Hicks) wants to do something about it. After consulting with an 800-year-old soothsayer (Carl Don), Kimar decides the best course of action is to hop in a rocket, travel to earth, and kidnap Santa Claus (John Call), who will then spread Christmas cheer by delivering presents to all the good Martian boys and girls. Of course, not everyone thinks this is a good idea; Voldar (Vincent Beck), Kimar's chief political rival, believes the children of Mars are becoming too soft, and the last thing they need is a fat guy in a red suit giving them a bunch of useless toys. Despite Voldar's protests, Kimar makes the long journey to earth and grabs Santa, loading him into the spaceship along with a couple of earth kids (Victor Stiles and Donna Conforti) before heading back to Mars. Things seem to go well for a while, and Kimar's own kids (one of whom is played by a very young Pia Zadora, in her first film role) light up whenever Santa is in the room. But Voldar refuses to back down, and hatches a scheme to end Christmas on Mars before it ever has a chance to start.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is geared entirely towards children, and was designed to be a harmless bit of Holiday fun that the whole family can enjoy. In fact, the only thing preventing it from becoming a Christmas classic is it's an absolutely terrible movie, with an awful storyline and horrible make-up and costumes (the Martians wear green tights and have some sort of metallic paint smeared all over their faces). Even the stock footage, some of which was on-loan from the U.S. military, makes no sense (following a report that an alien ship is in orbit around earth, there are clips of pilots leaping into state-of-the-art airplanes and taking off. What exactly was a plane going to do to a ship still in outer space? Well, that's never really explained). Perhaps the only kind thing I can say about Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is that John Call makes for a convincing Saint Nick, playing him as a jolly old man who takes everything in stride. As for the film's other characters, they're either: a. One-dimensional, b. poorly portrayed, or c. All of the above. Most annoying of all is Dropo, Kimar's bumbling assistant. As played by Bill McCutcheon, Dropo is supposed to be the comic relief, though, personally, I was hoping someone would vaporize him with a ray gun!

Like Plan 9 from Outer Space, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians has, over the years, become something of a cult favorite, an example of a picture so horrendous it's now an unintentional comedy classic. And while the movie certainly fails as holiday entertainment, I guarantee you'll find plenty to laugh about if you watch it. Be warned, though: it may take a few days for you to get that damn title song out of your head ("S-A-N-T-A… C-L-A-U-S… Hooray for Santy Claus!").

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Post-War Cinema Realism

Films recommended by Charles Reich in "The Greening of America."
I think "Hurry Sundown" would fit nicely in said moi-disant category.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ghost Team free, only on Google Play

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Friday, July 1, 2016

THE SHALLOWS' Jaume Collet-Serra just made your weekend plans

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Date: Jul 1, 2016 3:07 PM
Subject: THE SHALLOWS' Jaume Collet-Serra just made your weekend plans
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Guest curator - Jaume Collet-Serra

With acclaimed shark thriller THE SHALLOWS, director Jaume Collet-Serra continues a genre-loving filmography that began with the unexpected delights of HOUSE OF WAX and the masterful, warped OPRHAN. Collet-Serra's Hollywood pulp stirs Hitchcockian control with a touch of the outrageous and has earned a loyal cult following in the process.

We asked the filmmaker to choose five of his favorite films on Shudder and the result is a stirring lineup of the notorious, the artful, the spectacular and the vicious. Sounds about right.

Watch Collet-Serra's interview with Shudder curator Sam Zimmerman at the link below.

Click here for the interview

Collet-Serra's Picks


Dream Home

"Dream Home is an unexpected masterpiece. It has some of the most original, and brutal, kill/death scenes. A very normal desire to succeed and aspire to more takes hold and turns an honest and hardworking person into a murderer. This is one of those movies you'll tell your friends about."

Make a down payment

Faces of Death

"During my teen years, this movie was a guilty pleasure of mine. I have memories of checking the VHS tape out from the video store and sneaking it home like it was a bad thing. Since it was released before the Internet came around, it was like the ultimate resource for the grotesque. Even if some of the content is obviously fake, I consider it a crucial watch for any horror buff."

Watch an essential

The Chaser

"This dark thriller is an essential. You watch it once, and it stays with you." 

Race against time


"Time travel movies are an impossible conundrum, but Timecrimes excels at it. Vigalondo successfully simplified a very complex subject and wove it into a narrative that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Adding the fact that no special effects were used, makes it all the more impressive."

Sit on the edge

We Are What We Are

"This film follows a family in Mexico and was done in a very realistic way. It builds the atmosphere so that you come to care for the characters, then realize they're monsters. As a viewer, it gives you mixed feelings of betrayal. You go from identifying with them, to being shocked at the terrible things such "normal" people can do." 

Be betrayed

This week on Shudder.TV Premium: Celebrate independence

The most impactful horror of our time has often been independent. George A. Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD – one of the many films streaming on Shudder.TV this week ­– was a grand shift in contemporary terror, a DIY production with ferocious, confrontational spirit. It is dissenting, bleak and carries the soul of its revolutionary era. In honor of the 4th of July, Shudder is celebrating some of the best American independent horror, fright films in which artistry, outsider perspective and vicious satire thrive.

You'll find Romero's classic, of course, as well as intimate, personal visions like NIGHT TIDE, HABIT, GANJA & HESS, TOAD ROAD and THE MIDNIGHT SWIM; classical chillers like CARNIVAL OF SOULS, DEAD & BURIED and THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL; the utterly irreverent views of THE BABY and CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH; harsh societal critique in THE STUFF and THE HILLS HAVE EYES; and all-timers like HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER and RE-ANIMATOR.

This weekend, it's not just fireworks keeping you up all night.

Start streaming

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

CHECK OUT RITA TUSHINGHAM (one of my favorite actresses)

If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger,There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats

<center>if charlie parker was a gunslinger,<br>there'd be a whole lot of dead copycats</center>

Friends and Family #78

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 09:04 PM PDT

Original Caption:

New York City Police Department Offers $25,000 for Lepke.

New York -- This is the poster being printed by the New York Police Department, advertising a $25,000 reward for the apprehension, dead or alive, of Louis "Lepke" Buchalter who is wanted for conspiracy and extortion. (1939)

Broadcasters #107

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 09:03 PM PDT

John Daly

Weekend #32

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 09:02 PM PDT

The Very Best of Gordon Parks! #2

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 09:01 PM PDT

Dr.Kenneth B. Clark conducting the doll test (1947)

When Legends Gather #879

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Tony Richardson, Rita Tushingham and John Osborne

Saturday, May 21, 2016

'Weiner' Film Review: This Is What Our Democracy Looks Like

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Date: Sat, May 21, 2016 7:05 AM


Subject:'Weiner' Film Review: This Is What Our Democracy Looks Like

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Saturday, May 21, 2016
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By Kasia Anderson — The career of Anthony Weiner (remember him?) may have imploded, but his personal and professional disasters provide the basis for what may be the most unnervingly canny treatment yet of our celebrity-mad political culture.
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Even if he wins the presidency, Donald Trump will be unable to halt international progress toward a low-carbon economy, a British expert says.
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In an interview with CNN, the former secretary of state also discussed party unification and noted that she and Bernie Sanders have followed “the same rules.”
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