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Cinematic Titanic Presents Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (2008) – DVD Review

Cinematic Titanic Presents Santa Claus Conquers the Martians DVD cover art


Written & Performed by: Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, J. Elvis Weinstein
Directed by: Sharp-Ford

Released by: Cinematic Titanic
Region: 0
Rating: NR
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Fans must own.

The children of Mars have something wrong with them. Besides being in this movie, I mean. They don’t feel like eating their food pills. They don’t feel like sleeping. They’re moping about and just watching television. Are they going emo? No. They’re in a funk because they’re treated like shrunken adults rather than being allowed to have kid fun. The solution? Kidnap Santa Claus and bring him to Mars. Naturally.

If you have a movie this bad, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can watch… Cinematic Titanic.

I am not a rabid disciple of MST3K but that’s more because I just don’t watch television rather than a lack of respect. Indeed, we appreciate the show enough around here to have “Wait for MST3K” as a staple of our advice ratings. Which took on more weight after the end of MST3K, so “Wait for MST3K” for a while there was shorthand for “To hell with it.” But I do understand that with their assault on this film, the MST3K crew provided a delightfully sick perennial holiday favorite that’s for some the whacko equivalent of It’s a Wonderful Life.

[ad#longpost]So I can understand how some might be afraid of the Cinematic Titanic crew, comprised of five members of Team MST, tackling this gem when it’s already been tackled. However in this case, they don’t just tackle the film, they hang it on the wall like a trophy. Or, to put it another way, Brother Dave Gardner once said that you can’t do That again, you can only do something similar. Same thing is true here. They have a great bit in the beginning where they call out the fact that the film’s been smacked around before, including a “runner” situation that must be dealt with.

This is my first experience with the Titanic. And I was quite pleased with it. They’ve taken the whole silhouette motif from the original MST and taken it to its logical conclusion: all you get is silhouette. As a result, you can play around with anything since any props you need can be just 2-D bits added in later. I also find it interesting that in all three of the full production MST variations–original, this and Film Crew–there’s a need to provide some sort of backstory upon which to hang the action of riffing on films.

If there’s a weakness to the proceedings, it’s that with MST, you got the backstory in the title song. With Titanic, I had to ask somebody what this whole “Time Tube” time capsule business was about. (They’re recording these riffs for posterity and placing them into the Time Tube for safekeeping.) That’s important to know, lest you be startled at the large phallus descending into frame at the end of the film. I mean, let’s face it: we’re all here for the riffing and the backstory is just a convenient excuse to get to it, but I feel if it’s important enough to have, I want to know what the hell’s up with it.

Chochem from Cinematic Titanic Presents Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
'And my axe!'

The crew going to town on the film is priceless, my favorite bit being the best “It’s!” reference I’ve heard in forever. Granted, if you’re going to riff on a film–something this bad is like shooting fish in a barrel filled with fish so they can’t possibly accidentally move out of the way of the fired-off round. However, the riff here is sharp and intelligent and quick–even moreso that you’ve got five people who can go to town on it whereas you had three people in MST.

Honestly, if you’ve been devouring the MST collections as they come out from Rhino, then you need to snag this. It’s a crapload of fun and it’s money even better spent because, as the warning at the beginning of the disc states–Cinematic Titanic is these guys. So by buying the disc you’re supporting their stuff and encouraging more of this wonderfully deplorable behavior. Recommended.

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