Even atheists have a favorite Christmas movie. Whether it’s an obvious choice: Elf, A Christmas Story, Gremlins, Love Actually; or not: The Nightmare Before Christmas, Black Christmas or the underrated, OTT action flick The Long Kiss Goodnight, starring Geena Davis. Flagrant has a favorite, too. It’s Santa Claus aka Santa Claus vs. the Devil, a completely bonkers holiday fantasia. The movie puts “Jesus H. Christ What Am I Watching?” back in Christmas. Lurid sets, fantastical plot, terrible dubbing – which recalls the Pippi Longstocking series – and a conniving, queeny devil protagonist make for must-see viewing no matter what day it may say on the calendar.
Hecho en Mexico in 1959, the movie was dubbed into English and released in the U.S. the following year. The cinematic marvel usually played as part of a kiddie matinee double feature during the ‘60s and ‘70s. The taglines used for posters and ads pumped the hyperbole higher than a vaping reindeer.
Bursting upon our BIG SCREEN in all the colors of the rainbow… a prize-winning blue ribbon treat for old and young alike! Here’s something for the whole family to see together!
See All the Weird and Wonderful Characters of Make-Believe! The Fantastic Crystal Work-Room of the Happy Elves! The Fabulous Realm of the Candy-Stick Palaces!
Better Than a Visit from Saint Nick Himself!
All the WONDERS and the SPARKLE and the BEAUTY unfold before your eyes!
The plot is equal parts Dr. Seuss, L. Frank Baum and Luis Bunuel. With the aid of the wizard Merlin, Santa, who lives in the clouds above the North Pole, must foil Satan’s plan to ruin Christmas. Lucifer can’t be bothered to leave Hell so he sends his mincing minion, Pitch up to the surface to tempt children into misbehaving, thereby spoiling the holiday. Any detailed plot description is pointless. Suffice it to say this film is a visual marvel considering the Dollar Tree budget and it has more heart than all the cruddy Home Alone films together.
After the film’s theatrical run, it slipped into semi-obscurity. Scrooges unfairly placed it on Worst Film Ever lists. A sizable camp/cult status grew around the movie as well-worn bootleg VHS copies were shared among friends. The film was featured during the fifth season of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” in 1993 and a new generation was introduced to the marvels of Santa Claus.
Today, the film is readily available via Amazon and YouTube.
Gift yourself this weird, wacky, wonderful holiday treat. It’s fruitier than fruitcake, and nuttier than granny’s fudge.