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Old 12-16-2020, 02:44 PM   #61 (permalink)
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I just noticed you did a review for Evil Roy Slade a few years back. One of my favorites and I missed that gem.

For a Christmas movie, may I suggest The Christmas Chronicles? It's fairly decent.
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Old 12-16-2020, 03:19 PM   #62 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plankton View Post
I just noticed you did a review for Evil Roy Slade a few years back. One of my favorites and I missed that gem.

For a Christmas movie, may I suggest The Christmas Chronicles? It's fairly decent.
Hey, thanks for commenting, Plank!
Yeah, I spent YEARS looking for Evil Roy Slade. My boss at work recommended it over and over, so when it was finally on I watched it and I agreed it was unmissable. For decades after that though, I could never buy it, rent it, download it or blackmail it from a visiting alien bounty hunter, and believe me I tried. How amazed was I when all of a sudden it appeared on, of all places, You Tube! Absolutely hilarious movie, and so many good scenes. Thankfully they left it alone, neither made a sequel nor tried to (shudder) reimagine it.

Thanks for the rec; I actually seldom if ever watch Christmas movies, hence this list.
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Old 12-17-2020, 09:37 AM   #63 (permalink)
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I think my brother still has the VHS tape of it somewhere. It might even be on Betamax.

♫ Stubby index fiiinger... tapping out your code... ♫

lol

Also, there's a sequel to that Christmas Chronicles movie, but it's no bueno.
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Old 12-17-2020, 10:40 AM   #64 (permalink)
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Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)

And if you thought that was trippy, try this. Santa’s sleigh gets stuck in the Florida sand, and he has to rely on children to help him get it loose. When this fails he tells them the story of (depending on which version you happen to be unlucky enough to have got) Thumbelina or Jack and the Beanstalk (how are those stories even thinly related?) - this entails a previous movie of both being played in its entirety, so that most of what you get in this movie is one of those fairy tales. For some reason Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are commenting, and then the Ice Cream Bunny shows up driving an antique fire engine… you know what? I’ve had it. Just watch it if you dare.

Rotten Tomatoes ratings

Tomatometer: 0%
Audience Score: 11%

IMDB rating

1.3/10


Well, not only does it have a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience score is 11%. That’s the lowest joint score I’ve seen yet. Only one critic, but boy does Tim Brayton of Antagony and Ecstasy let fly! Its execution is at places so determinedly bereft of even the most limited, accidental filmmaking talent that it doesn't seem right to call the resultant object an actual work of cinema.

One person who watched it for other than their day job said A short list candidate for the worst movie ever made; it makes you admire the professionalism and continuity of PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE.

Ouch!

Another gasped Wow!! It's so hideously bad the only motivation I could think that this abomination was produced in the first place was simply because some guys had a couple of tacky-looking fancy dress outfits laying around in the loft and decided to make a movie with them. As a movie, this is the poorest you could ever find. Everything about it is amateur, from the acting to the set design to the photography, editing and direction. Even the songs are akin to the type a 6-year-old could come up with. The kazoo-heavy score is also inferior. This could surpass for entertainment as a movie, and if it's intended to be a 90-minute advert, it fails at that too.
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Old 12-17-2020, 02:22 PM   #65 (permalink)
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Inevitable, I suppose, but still... while fixing up the intros to all my journals and replacing lost images, it came to my notice with this one that I had earlier promised to look into certain types of movies, among them ones about the president, animated ones and foreign language ones. Well what can I say but

I'm pretty busy with Christmas stuff right now, but in the new year I will begin getting to these movies. I won't be doing them in one or several blocks, like the shark feature, but spreading them out over the months, with say an animation review, then a foreign language, then one about the president etc. Not quite sure what order there'll be, or even if there will be an order. Working that out as I write. But either way, we'll


Yes yes: I get the message. Stay tuned.
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Old 12-18-2020, 09:14 PM   #66 (permalink)
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Bad Santa 2 (2016)

Oh God! Santa save me! Now we run into a set of sequels that never needed to be made. I already slated the original Bad Santa in the first look at the 25 Worst Christmas Movies in 2014, so all I can say about this is that it seems to take the worst of that movie and amplify it, adding nothing but possibly subtracting much. The producers lost their shirt, not even making their money back at the box office, and not even the presence of Kathy Bates can turn this turd around. Rotten Tomatoes’ consensus reads Loaded up with the same scatological and misanthropic humor as its predecessor but precious little of its heart or genuine wit, Bad Santa 2 presents a foulmouthed shadow of Christmas past

Rotten Tomatoes ratings

Tomatometer: 24%
Audience Score: 33%

IMDB rating

5.6/10

Metacritic rating:

38

Majorie Baumgarden of The Austin Chronicle noted These jokes may be good for momentary release, but the joke's no longer on the holiday: It's on us.

Kevin Maher of The Times agreed: It takes everything that was fresh and assertive about the original and transforms it into vile, hateful overkill.

Tim Robey of The Telegraph admitted The level of not very funny things this entails, even by the standards of barely-awaited sequels to lowbrow Yuletide comedies, is kind of impressive.

James Bernardinelli of ReelFilm said At its best, Bad Santa 2 feels like an echo of its predecessor. At its worst, it's unfunny, crass, and uncomfortable (not in a good way).

And audiences were similarly unimpressed.

Incredibly crass and vulgar, Bad Santa 2 is even more offensive than the first one.

A massive drop in quality compared to the first Bad Santa movie, and although Kathy Bates was a welcome addition to the series, based on this entry, I don't think we're likely to ever see a Bad Santa 3.


God, let’s hope not!
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Old 12-19-2020, 11:28 AM   #67 (permalink)
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Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman

It’s so depressing, not to mention baffling that this B-movie failure slasher movie masquerading as a Christmas offering got a sequel. I mean, that title sounds like something out of a comic series or something doesn’t it? This time it's set in the most natural habitat for a snowman - a tropical island!

Oh, and point to note: there are in fact two movies entitled Jack Frost, as we'll be finding out in more detail soon (stay tuned): one starring Michael Keaton made in 1998 and the prequel to this one, which does not star Michael Keaton, or indeed anyone, made the previous year. I reckon they're as bad as each other, but it's probably not a good idea to get them mixed up, so if you want the one where the father returns from the dead to be with his kid, it's the 1998 release with Keaton. If you prefer the one where the serial killer returns from the dead to serial kill and wreak bloody revenge, it's the 1997 one. Your kids may thank you for not getting the wrong one!

Rotten Tomatoes ratings

Tomatometer: n/a
Audience Score: 29%

IMDB rating

3.7/10



Scott Weinberg of EFilmCritic was the only one who would bother to go on record, noting A few "stupid-funny" kill scenes aside, there's nothing here worth bothering with.

Audiences were more divided.

This movie is so bad its hilarious

When it comes to a film where the snowman is the killer, you can't take it seriously whatsoever. This sequel is just as satisfying as the original with even more tongue in cheek moments to be had on screen.


The plot is easily forgettable and filled with annoying characters that you'll love to see get killed by the mutant snowman. The death scenes here aren't as funny as in the original, the most hilarious death in this sequel was.... nothing. The original gave us a snowman raping a human and than smoking a cigar, if that's not good comedy I don't what is. Another problem with the sequel is Jack Frost kids, yes, a killer mutant male snowman can produce kids. And by gosh are they as annoying as Jar Jar Binks and even sound like him too. Cooney succeeds in fine style, principally by following the established blueprint in an entirely new location. In this case; a tropical island. Natural stalking ground for a snowman.

Early sequences, in which Jack is represented by a puddle of water and a carrot on a piece of thread, might suggest to the casual viewer that the budget for this follow-up will not stretch to the dazzling visual spectacles presented by the original. Don't be fooled.. Cooney knows just what he's doing, and is merely lulling the casual viewer into a false sense of security. He pulls out his trump card in the latter third of the flick. He has bought a home PC animation package, and he knows how to use it. Well, he doesn't *quite* know how to use it. But he'll have a jolly good go. Hence, inept live action effects are seamlessly blended with inept computer generated effects, and we're all set for a staggeringly poor finale.

Despite the somewhat misleading title, at no point does Jack kill any mutants. Pity. I'm sure he'd have kicked Wolverine's fuzzy backside.
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Old 12-20-2020, 10:39 AM   #68 (permalink)
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Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?

Apparently the shitfest that was Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger wasn’t enough of a warning that such movies should never be made. Hopefully this will be. How people of the calibre of Jason Watkins, Catherine Tate and Martin Clunes got conned into acting in - sorry, being associated with is bad enough - this steaming pile of donkey shit is beyond me, but I hope to everything that is good and evil that they do not attempt a fourth. It’s just… beyond awful. Here, read, read!

Rotten Tomatoes ratings

Tomatometer:
16%
Audience Score: 37%

IMDB rating

3.5/10

There have been many recent films based around memory loss, but few that most adults will want to forget as quickly as Nativity 3. That’s Jeffrey McNab in The Independent. No mercy either from The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw:

This is one of those British family comedies that make you want to soil the Union flag with your own faeces in the cinema foyer before setting fire to it.

Come on dude! Say what you really think: don’t cloak it in innuendo and hyperbole!

Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph had advice for how to forget the movie: As soon as I left the cinema, I went looking for a donkey to kick me in the head.

If only the producers had been kicked instead.

Variety’s Guy Lodge agreed. Even fans of the series are likely to deem this dopey "Donkey" a step down, with a surprising streak of unseasonal mean-spiritedness.

While Tara Brady of The Irish Times wondered How do I go about awarding the square root of negative one as a star rating? Is it just "i"? Or is there a special graphic?

Can’t help you there, Tara. What about audiences? Were there any? Just one who would comment, but it’s a good one: Went in without knowing anything about previous two films or seeing reviews.Came out scarred for life, don't understand how such a truly awful film can get distributed. By a long way the worst "film" i've ever seen.Hiding underneath jacket didn't work, trying to fall asleep didn't work. Like a two hour episode of Gigglebiz without the jokes and budget. I can't say it enough but truly awful, if this is a "British" film then I don't want to be British anymore. No redeeming features whatsoever, no jokes, a few donkey farts and that's about it. I can't stop people from going, but don't say I didn't warn you!
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Old 12-21-2020, 01:13 PM   #69 (permalink)
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Christmas Trade (2017)

I really don’t know what to say! Peurile, simplistic and somehow Christmas-themed movie about an adult and a child switching bodies, which you’ve seen done far better in films like Freaky Friday, Big, 18 Going on 30 etc etc etc. Holy crap! William Baldwin and Denise Richards are in it? Must have been some roofie you guys drank! Bet you’re sorry now!

Rotten Tomatoes ratings

Tomatometer: n/a
Audience Score: 38%

IMDB rating

4.8/10

Only one critic review, and that’s pretty unimpressed as you might imagine. Renee Schonfeld of Common Sense Media yawns Dad, son switch bodies in flimsy, predictable holiday comedy.

Indeed. Another zero percenter on Rotten Tomatoes. Who knew there were so many?
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Old 12-21-2020, 03:33 PM   #70 (permalink)
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Christmas is a time for giving, so let me give you a treat. We haven’t explored the deep, dark depths of the worst of the worst in quite a while, so I invite you to crowd nervously behind me as I gingerly light a taper and we descend the slippery, rusty iron steps down to the sewers as we go in search once again for a movie so bad it could only ever end up here. In other words, welcome to our Yuletide visit to

And what else would we look at in this festive season but a Christmas movie? But not just the one, oh no. Either you’ve been very good and Santa has answered your letters or the reverse, but either way you’re getting a three-for here. Yup: three of the very worst Christmas movies ever made by hand of man. The kind of movies that make you either laugh uncontrollably at how bad they are, scratch your head and say “huh?” or just make you wish your religion didn't require you to celebrate this “holiday season”.

Full and fair disclosure here: as I mentioned in my 25 of the Worst Christmas Movies Ever - Probably feature, I don’t tend to watch too many Christmas movies, much less those considered really bad, so I don’t know anything much about the ones I’ll be doing here. They’ll all be a first-time experience for me. I’m being guided by lists and by the likes of Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, working on the assumption that if a large proportion of people hate movie X, then it must be terrible. Of course, almost everyone seems to hate Jingle All the Way and I liked it, but I guess there are always exceptions.

Reading about the movies though, you can usually make a relatively informed decision as to whether or not it deserves to be lambasted, and the first two certainly leave no room for doubt. The third, I don’t know but we’ll see, I reckon it’s a fairly safe bet though.

Kicking off with this one, well known for being not only one of the worst, but certainly one of the trippiest, whacked-out movies of all time. I mean, spaced out gets a new meaning with this one. Originally released in Mexico and obviously in Spanish, it was re-released (god alone knows why) the following year, with what I am reliably informed is bad dubbing, and a few slight changes. But for all that, while I would like to watch the original my Spanish doesn’t come up to the level of being able to ask for a tequila while also enquiring where the bathroom is, and even if it has subtitles, well, it’s probably going to be more fun to see what a poor job the Americans did dubbing it.

Title: Santa Claus
Year: 1959/1960
Writer(s): Adolfo Torres Portillo and Rene Cardona
Director: Rene Cardona (original) Ken Smith (US version)
Genre: Science-fiction (yeah…)
Stars: A whole lot of hombres you won’t know. In this version, for some reason, none of the cast are named. At all. Other than the narrator. Who is also the director. Yeah. Ken Smith. Go figure.

Before we get going, a word on the title. I mean, I know it’s supposed to be an awful film (which we will decide for ourselves over the course of the next 94 minutes, which may seem like 94 hours), but couldn’t they have come up with a more original title? I mean, it’s so bland! Santa Claus? Really? That’s the best they could do? Couldn’t they have called it something more Mexican? L’Hombre de Cristomas or something? Would that have been racist? Can you be racist about your own people? In any event, this is what it’s called, and you only track it down on Google by inserting the year after it, otherwise you’re there all day.

Right, so: a few things to get straight from the get-go. Santa, contrary to popular belief, does not live at the North Pole. Not according to these guys anyway. Santa doesn’t even live on Earth, but in some kind of cloud in space (how does a cloud form in space? Your guess is as good as mine, and mine ain’t so good) where he lives in a Disneylike castle. Oh wait: according to the narration, he does live at the North Pole - but the North Pole is in space. Or he’s several hundred thousand miles above it, out in space. The main takeaway from this informational snippet is this: Santa lives in space.

Now, when we first see Jolly Old Saint Nick we only see his arms and chest, as he fixes up a Christmas crib, and I must admit, his deep, booming laugh sounds less jolly than maniacal - I expect when the camera pulls back to see he has a co-ed or two tied up, terror in their eyes, sweat on their … no? Oh well. It’s off-putting for sure. As is Santa’s sitting down at a Phantom of the Opera-style pipe organ and, um, using it as a computer monitor? Seems Chris Cringle doesn’t need elves in his workshop, far more progressive. Or possibly regressive, as it seems he has bunches of human children working for him. What sort of child labour laws apply in, um, Toyland, as it’s called, anyway? Right, well, either those so-called helpers from Spain are seriously anaemic or they’ve all been drained by vampires. They’re white! I mean, absolutely white! No colour at all. We don’t even get to see the kids from England, only from a distance.

I must say, the architecture of Santa’s slave palace I mean workshop looks very Arabic. Hmm. Yeah, it goes on like this for about ten minutes as Santa displays all the different nationalities of kids he has pressed into service for him. Jesus on a pogo-stick. We get the idea. Can we get on with it please, before it really is Christmas?

Finally the excruciatingly long - and somewhat racist - parade of the United Nations of Enslaved Children is over, and we’re in Hell. What? You thought we were there already? Well, kind of. If you’d had to listen to Mexican toddlers singing “La Cucaracha” or English brats singing “London Bridge is Falling Down”, you would probably have come to that conclusion. As did I. But now the scene changes and we really are in Hell, where Lucifer orders one of his demons, Pitch, to go to Earth and make all the children evil to get on Santa’s wick.

Look, there’s something disturbing about being shown the slightly upsetting scene of a small girl whose mother can’t afford a doll for her for Christmas, and hearing fucking Santa ho-ho-ho-ing all over it. A little insensitive, don’t you think, big guy? And why is he so jolly all the time, that’s what I’d like to know? He only works one day a year and what he makes can’t possibly cover his overheads. Santa has to be deep in debt, probably owes big to the Chinese Mafia, may even have some sort of addiction that has to be fed with cookies and milk every Christmas Eve, mistreats his reindeer, forcing them to fly and has an odd propensity for climbing down chimneys, an act otherwise seen by the law as breaking and entering I believe. I don’t feel Santa has too much to laugh about, but there he goes, and he won’t fucking stop. Maybe it’s a nervous thing?

Pitch is soon in among the kids anyway, sowing mischief - I assume he’s invisible, as otherwise that woman he’s pushing up against would be saying something like “Hey! Keep those fucking horns to yourself, pal!” Though probably in Spanish. Anyway, thanks to Pitch a riot soon doesn’t break out, though some kids throw stones at the window at his urging. Oh no! Kids throwing rocks! That would never normally happen! Santa sees what’s going on and focuses on the little girl who wants the doll. He watches her (in Mexico, natch) as she first steals the doll and then puts it back, annoying the demon. Santa however is delighted.

Yeah. The girl - what’s her name, Lupita? - well, her mother either has a baby under her shawl or massive and misshapen tits! Fucking weird! Also weird are the machines Santa has in his workshop: more like the deck of the TARDIS! Some crazy thing with big lips, something that resembles a dildo and moves out with an eye on it. And is that a rat moving slowly across the floor? And he has a machine for seeing into people’s dreams. That might be awkward. “His dream will appear on the dreamscope. Oh, wait, now what’s that? Oh dear! OH DEAR! Children! Avert your eyes! Quickly!” Never underestimate the dreams of a ten-year-old!

Lupita gets attacked by creepy dolls in her dream - Jesus! Reminds me of Barbarella! Actually they’re just women, don’t even look like dolls, but then, the budget for this was probably 50 pesos and all the fajitas the crew could eat, so what do you expect? Lot of smoke here, probably meant to convey dreamspace, but it looks like the place is on fire. Oddly enough, the dialogue for the Japanese kid is not translated, so he keeps speaking Japanese; probably couldn’t figure it out. Confusing though, as he has a fair few lines. Reminds me of Toshi in American Dad. Not a clue what he’s saying. Santa just ignores him, obviously as much at a loss to understand him as we are.

Overall though I have to say, it’s pretty slow and boring so far. If I wasn’t reviewing this I’d be saying oh hell no and be moving on. Let’s hope it picks up a little before too long.

Disturbing, too, that when Santa gets a letter asking for a brother, he seems to think he can arrange it. Are we to assume Santa has taken the details and is going to pay the kid’s mother a visit? Is Santa a rapist now too? He goes out onto the factory floor to gen up the troops, forcing them to redouble their efforts to make toys - does the Bureau of Child Safety know about this? Does such an organisation exist? And what the blue living fuck is Merlin doing here? Merlin, court wizard to King Arthur at Camelot, working at the North Pole. In space. For Santa Claus. Right. So Merlin (referred to by Santa as Mister Merlin) is mixing some sort of sleeping draught in an urn which he clearly says is made of uranium and plutonium, therefore highly radioactive and quite deadly. Does he use gloves, a mask, a hazmat suit? Does he take any precautions at all? Does Health and Safety know about this?

As Santa prepares to leave his sleigh is made ready - the reindeer are clearly models that show no animation whatever - and he is given a special key that will open any door, so forget about that hi-tech security system you have: if this guy wants to get in, he’s getting in. More annoying singing from the kids - one of, I would have to say, the worst parts in a pretty poor movie so far - oh I see. The sleigh is a mechanical one, and so are the reindeer. Santa winds them up and off they go. Not bad, I have to admit. Rich kid goes to sleep with a toy rifle in his hands - obviously preparing for that scary night when a homeless black guy breaks in - and the three kids who were throwing rocks earlier have, at Pitch’s urging, decided to kidnap Santa and rob all the presents. Shades, perhaps, of Nightmare Before Christmas, long before, you know, Nightmare Before Christmas.

One thing I will give this movie is its not overly sentimental attitude to religion, which is to say, whereas most Christmas movies tend to either overdue the religious motif or ignore it altogether, this one weaves it rather tastefully into the story, with Lupita’s mother talking about the nativity and Santa hoping Jesus can join him on Earth. It’s subtle, but kind of respectful; without ramming it down your throat, they gently remind you what Christmas is all about.

The kids who were going to rob Santa seem to be easily frightened out of their plan and instead fall to fighting with one another, while Pitch tries to steal Santa’s sleigh, but the reindeer will only obey Santa so no luck there. He does however succeed in ripping the bag Santa carries with the powder to send kids to sleep and he drops the flower that allows Santa to disappear - look, it was all in the sequence with Merlin; I didn’t talk about it because, frankly, this movie is giving me a headache. If you really want to know, subject yourself to the same slow torture and watch it. Just take it from me, it’s bad.

Setting a guard dog on Santa, Pitch forces him to climb a tree to safety and then wakes up the householder, who happen to be Rich Kid’s parents. He whispers that there’s an intruder in the garden, but has not counted on the fact that it would appear Rich Kid’s dad is a coward, handing the gun to his wife and recommending she go out and confront the intruder! Pitch then has others make phone calls to the police and fire department, giving them nightmares and holding the phone so they can speak. Santa has a real problem now. If he can’t get back to, um, his palace in space before sunrise his reindeer will turn to powder and he’ll be trapped on the Earth. What? Because shut up, that’s why.

So he calls for Merlin - apparently just yelling out will make you heard out in the vastness of space - who tells him to use one of the toy wind-up cats he has in his sack to distract the dog. This allows him to get out of the tree, drop off the doll for Lupita and still get back before sunrise. Meanwhile, Pitch has the fire hose turned on him.

What, are you still here? No, that's it. Finito. Over. Terminado. Arrriba! Vamoose!

QUOTES

Santa: “Look at all those letters! Wonderful! They don’t forget old Papa Noel! Saint Nicholas! Santa Claus!”
(Um, yeah. We know who you are, and even if we didn’t, a) the damn film is called Santa Claus b) you’re in a big red suit with a long white beard and c) you won’t shut the fuck up laughing. Only two people laugh that much: you and lunatics. Why do you feel the need to confirm your identity to us, as if somehow we don’t get it?)

Santa (kneeling down beside rich kid who is asleep): “I know all those toys don’t make you happy. But I’ll do something for you that I only do for very good children.”
(Uh, yeah…)

Yeah, not much in the way of quotes I’m afraid.

Notes

For most of this movie I just felt bored, frustrated and not a little depressed. Much of that, to be fair, is down to the “listen with mother” style of the narrator, who seems to think he’s describing the movie to a bunch of children. I guess he might be; but as an alleged adult I can see what’s going on, so I don’t need his annoyingly American voice telling me “Oh no this is happening!” or “Oh no! What will Santa do now?” It’s just aggravating.

The story itself is very very poor. The idea of kids taking Santa hostage never comes to anything, is basically forgotten until someone must have said you know that idea to kidnap Santa? What happened there? And then they had to crowbar in a frankly unsatisfactory scene where the kids, who had laid their trap, are frightened off by light and noise, like a bunch of raccoons scared away from the dustbins. Other than that, the central premise of the film, to have kids turn bad, just doesn’t happen. Lupita is steadfastly good, Pitch unable to sway her, and only three little brats succumb to the demon. Hardly a revolution now is it? The rest of the movie basically follows Santa as he delivers his presents and Pitch as he tries, with increasing ineptness, to thwart him.

The acting is minimal: Santa (José Elías Moreno, a well-known Mexican character actor) completely hams it up, and while Pitch, played by José Luis Aguirre, you would expect to overact, does, it’s almost more as the capering jester than the supposedly evil demon he tries to be. It’s almost a cartoon, though nowhere near as funny. It is, to be blunt, a real struggle to get through, and I was constantly watching the running time, counting down to the end, willing it closer. It’s a confused jumble of ideas, some good, some terrible, and nothing really ever meshes with anything else.

I suppose that’s a little unfair. The Rich Kid’s parents, having drank from Santa’s cock… tail of love, go back from their night out (on Christmas fucking Eve??) to their son and they all embrace, and Lupita is rewarded for not stealing, and gets her doll. But if you were to try to write out the basic plot in one sentence, it would not be easy, as there kind of isn’t one. The kids all stumble around, desperately trying to, I guess, remember lines, and that’s fair enough: these are young kids. I mean, Lupita can’t be more than six or seven, Pedro, who helps in the workshop, little older, and even the Rich Kid might be ten years old but that would be it. I feel if this had been shot in America those kids would not have been allowed take part due to their ages.

One thing I will say: there’s a heavy dose of morality in it - mostly the idea of “be good because Santa wants you to be good” rather than “be good to avoid punishment” - and most of it grates because it’s laid on so very thick and without so much as the tip of the tongue in the cheek, but the scenes with Lupita’s mother, struggling because she is poor and her husband can’t find work (well, this is Mexico after all) are actually very touching and seem almost to belong in another film. Even the music here - generally badly-rendered versions of Christmas carols everywhere else - is different, a kind of fifties Hollywood drama score, wringing every last drop of emotion and sympathy out of the viewer. You can’t say much about Lupita’s performance (yes that’s her real name too: Lupita Quezadas) as she's just a little kid and looks like she’s mouthing words without any real idea of what she’s saying, but as a figure she works well, as a moral compass for the movie, and as a symbol for sympathy.

But overall this is a movie you can definitely avoid seeing and never worry you were missing out. It’s not even in the category of being so good it transcends scorn and becomes something to celebrate. It’s just bad. Really, really bad.

But if there’s one thing I can pick out that’s worst about it, it’s not the irritatingly preachy Santa, not the stupid, almost gay Pitch, nor the various annoying children. It’s the only real change made north of the border, and it’s the incredibly badly acted narration of Ken Smith. Shame on you, sir! You succeeded in achieving almost the impossible, and made this already terrible film even worse.

Was there anything good about this movie?

Well, surprisingly, yes there was. Shining like a diamond set in shit, the gentle humility and grace of Lupita’s mother, who’s not even mentioned in the credits even as a character, takes the film, for the times she’s on screen, to a whole new level. I think someone must not have explained to her her role, or that she thought she was acting in a different film altogether, but she plays her part with heart-wrenching pathos and is, as it were, the adult in the room. If more of the movie had revolved around her, this might actually have been good.

But that’s it. Everything else about it is Grade A shite.
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