Category Archives: Science fiction

Really Awful Movies: Ep 253 – Mexican Santa Claus

Mexican Santa Claus as it’s known colloquially (sometimes known as Santa Claus vs. the Devil) is a  wild and woolly 1959 Mexican fantasy Christmas sci-fi film directed by Rene Cardona and co-written with Adolfo Torres Portillo.

The Cuban-born Cardona was a hugely influential figure in the so-called Golden Age of Mexican Cinema (but of course, fellows like us know him for the stupendous, Night of the Bloody Apes – the title of the 1972 English language version of the 1969 Mexican horror film La Horripilante bestia humana)

In this film, Santa Claus, our merry old elf, works in outer space (on the moon, actually) and does battle with a demon sent to Earth by Lucifer to ruin Christmas by “making all the children of the Earth do evil.”

Here, Santa has a weird silver palatial abode that’s not unlike Dr Phibes’ lair. He spies on children with a variety of implements that capture voice, sound, visuals, etc.

He really DOES know when you’re naughty or nice, sleeping or awake, etc.

Instead of Mrs Claus, Santa’s associate is Merlin the Magician, complete with conical hat and a bunch of soporifics and invisibility potions. What? And instead of elves toiling away year-round, building toys in some North Pole factory, Santa has enlisted the help of a bunch of kids “of all colors and creeds,” to work for him, and who wear the most ethnically stereotypical garb imaginable.

Mexican Santa Claus was lampooned on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 but we knew about it years ago, through the fantastic Suspect Video. We miss that as a physical bricks and mortar store, but luckily it lives on to provide you with all your obscure blu-ray and DVD needs.

Join us as we are full of the holiday spirit, and Christmas cheer. And what better way to celebrate the holidays than with this oddball south of the border, uh….classic?

And be sure to subscribe to the Really Awful Movies Podcast, and to pick up a copy of our book, Death by Umbrella! The 100 Weirdest Horror Movie Weapons.

Really Awful Movies: Ep 236 – C.H.U.D.

C.H.U.D. is a weird one. For reasons unexplained, the film’s left quite the pop culture legacy, referenced everywhere from  Aqua Teen Hunger Force to Clerks II, and of course, in The Simpsons. Why is this? Hard to say…It’s possible because while the 50s was the height of the monster movie craze, the similarly-themed C.H.U.D. was a definite outlier during the stalk-and-slash 80s.

The flick launches with a woman walking her dog in an inexplicably deserted New York street. She and her pooch are promptly pulled into the sewer.

We’re then introduced to a fashion photographer, George. He lives with his model girlfriend (that is to say, girlfriend who is a model, not the ideal girlfriend). His current photojournalism project is photographing NYC’s homeless population, some of whom live in a subterranean sewer lair.

Soon, Captain Bosch, NYPD, takes a personal stake in a spate of disappearances. Since many of the missing are dispossessed and down-and-out, Bosch interviews A.J., aka, “The Reverend” (Daniel Stern), who runs the local homeless shelter.

AJ, who has been poking around in the sewer and found items that include a Geiger counter, believes the events are part of a massive conspiracy. And since this is a 50s-style monster movie, he’s damn right.

While making barely a ripple at the box office in the 80s slasher boom, it’s still pretty fun stuff viewing it in present day. An A.V. Club reviewer was totally spot-on when he wrote, “Perfect for bleary-eyed late-night viewing and pretty much unwatchable at any other hour.”

Join us on the Really Awful Movies Podcast, where we dissect this fun creature feature. And decide whether AV Club had it right. Subscribe! And leave us a review on iTunes if you like what you hear.