Tag Archives: Famous directors

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 249 – Suspiria 2018

So, here we are. Suspiria 2018 is a remake of the all-time great Dario Argento 1977 film. The Argento one is one of our mutual favorites. It’s definitely in our Top 15 Horror Films of All Time, if we were to make such a list (to get a sense of our sensibilities, the other entries would include Maniac, Martyrs, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, to cite a few).

So, we faced this one with some trepidation, some anticipation, but mostly that time-honored sensation felt by many a gore-hound: PLEASE, for the love of all things holy, don’t F this up!

Luca Gadagnino is apparently also a great lover of the Argento film. And you can tell. He does a loving tribute, but does so in a way that’s so different from the original that it can operate as its own entity.

Apart from the American student, the German locale, the ballet school, and the coven therein, there is not too much tying this 2018 Suspiria to the original one.

On this episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast, we do a deep dive comparing the two. On the show, we talk about:

  • Expectations we have of art
  • Audience and critical reception of the film, in the likes of New Yorker, etc
  • German politics and German post-war guilt, the Lufthansa airlines hijacking
  • The cities of Berlin and Munich in film
  • Scene settings and sense of place and real vs unreal in horror films
  • Internecine coven politics
  • The wonderful actress Tilda Swinton, and her portrayal(s) in Suspiria
  • Radiohead and Thom Yorke, the impact of the original film’s score vs the 2018 version
  • How this remake was handled verses David Gordon Green’s 2018 Halloween
  • Moral agency through the character of the psychiatrist
  • Body horror and color palettes used in horror films

And much, much more (including some Goblin whistling!)

Check it out, and please subscribe and leave a comment on iTunes.