What the Hell Were They Thinking?!

Santa Claus + Lucifer + Merlin the Wizard = WTF???? Jose Elias Moreno, Armando Arriola and Jose Luis Aguirre star in Santa Claus.

Santa ClausCast of Characters:
Santa Claus – Jose Elias Moreno
Pedro – Cesareo “Pulgarcito” Quezadas
Pitch – Jose Luis Aguirre
Merlin – Armando Arriola
Lupita – Lupita Quezadas
Billy – Antonio Diaz Conde hijo
Hephaestus – Angel Di Stefani
Narrator – voiced by Ken Smith

Director – Ken Smith
Screenplay – Adolfo Torres Portillo & Rene Cardona
Producer – Guillermo Calderon
Rated G for general audiences

On December 24, Santa Claus (Jose Elias Moreno) prepares for his annual journey at his Toyland castle in outer space. Meanwhile, down in Hell, Lucifer has instructed his chief demon Pitch (Jose Luis Aguirre) to travel to Earth and turn all the children against Santa by turning them bad.

There’s your get out of jail free card, kids. Just tell good ole Babbo Natale the Devil made you do it.

After Pitch is let loose on the world and corrupting as many kids as he can, Santa’s child workers come out of their sweat shop to alert him of Pitch’s plans. With so little time before Christmas, Santa seeks help from his trusted assistant Merlin the Wizard (Armando Arriola) to stop Pitch from ruining the festive holiday.

Originally a Mexican film from 1959 (apparently, to this day, Mexicans revere this film much like we Americans do with It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story) Santa Claus was remade for American audiences a year later by producer K. Gordon Murray (under the pseudonym “Ken Smith” for the film), possibly after experiencing all the hallucinations he gained from swallowing the worm.

You’re really drunk on that Mescal shit when you swallow the worm and don’t even know you did it.

A film this bizarre, which features everything from a creepy Santa who uses Rohypnol – I mean “dreaming powder” on kids, a Tae Bo loving devil to a galloping wizard and some of the worst dubbed-in English you’ll ever find, is hard to explain.

So there’s really only one way to do it any justice…

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
While way, way up high, above the human race
Worked Santa and Toyland out in… uh – outer space?

Santa’s little helpers from all nations of the world
Work tirelessly on toys for all the good boys and girls
They slave away for hours and hours… and hours of the day…

Seriously, the scene literally felt like half the movie. That’s ’cause there’s a rundown of all the kids from every nation that isn’t Vatican City or Lichtenstein. And the parade of stereotypes kicks off with some bongo-beating, jazz hands dancing, bones in their afros African kids that would make even David Duke wince uncomfortably.

With no child labor laws to help them or their 10¢ an hour wage

Yeah, and what does that fat, jolly bastard do. Gets jiggy with it on the organ while watching them like an even more disturbing version of “Aqualung”.

Santa’s letters from the children come flying right in
Thanks to the wonders of Mexico’s anti-gravity, or simply reversed film
A football, a baby doll, a baby brother – oh, what fun!
Roller skates, a scooter, an atomic lab and machine gun

Really? Those last two don’t get you on the naughty list? Well, we now know who’s responsible for all the shootings.

When out from below there arose such a clatter
The children sprang from their workshops to see what was the matter

When what with their wondering eyes should they see
But Lucifer’s prancing demon Pitch from the pits of Hades

Oh, no! Cry the children. Santa, what shall we do?
Get the fuck back to work, he says. This doesn’t concern you!
Santa gathers all toys, Christmas will prevail this day
Though scrawny Pitch’s deeds are no worse than childish games

This is a mercenary sent from the depths of Hell, and his terror on the entire planet revolves around hijinks from a Home Alone film.

With the help of Merlin…

Whoa – wait? What’s King Arthur’s wizard got to do with this?

With the help of Merlin, Santa readies his sleigh
To save once and for all this festive holiday

By using what looks like radioactive chemicals capable of causing more harm than good.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

NOW! DASH…

What the hell are those?! Are they made of plastic or styrofoam? It’s like all that’s needed is one slight breeze and Santa’s sleigh goes spiraling down and out of control like a suicide bomber.

Now down on Earth, Pitch’s plans have begun
Wreaking havoc on all of Earth’s innocent children

But oh, never fear, there remains two pure souls
Sweet Lupita and Billy with untouched innocence white as snow

Lupita has nothing save the love of her mother
Just a destitute life that the two share together
All Lupita wants is a baby doll to call her own
I mean, why bother with a hot meal or even clean clothes…

Or decent indoor plumbing, maybe a home that’s not condemned, or a bed that’s not riddled with fleas, or perhaps something to get rid of the head lice.

Then last of all there is sweet, little Billy
Who’s wealthy but just wants the love of his family

Good Lord, his folks go out for dinner for just one night, and he’s already acting like he’s Little Orphan Annie.

Santa grants him his wish to spend time with his parents
By offering mom and dad a drink of remembrance

But not before revealing himself to Billy in what has to be the creepiest moment I’ve ever seen involving a character that has brought more joy to children this time of year than anyone else.

This potion from St. Nick is unlike any other
It brings back to the mind an important reminder
Of the one thing that they always have loved the most

But if they fail the potion will burn out their throats

Seriously, Homeland Security needs to be getting surveillance on this guy like now.

In the end, Christmas wins, Santa’s brought down the demon
Though how hard is it really to beat a devilish Richard Simmons?

Yes, love has prevailed, Santa declares victory
As he tells all the children HO! HO! HO! THERE’S NO GOD BUT ME!!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle
But I heard him explain, ere he drove out of sight
THOSE LITTLE BASTARDS BACK HOME BETTER NOT HAVE GONE ON STRIKE!!!!

A film such as Santa Claus actually lends just cause to Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch’s point of view toward Christmas. The cheap set design and badly dubbed English dialogue is just the tip of the iceberg; what takes the cake is that they managed to take jolly old St. Nick and make him so creepy I actually had to shower off the dirtiness I gained after watching this film.

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