I understand bringing one of the worst films ever made to Blu-ray if you were planning to include fun special features like maybe the commentary track that 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' did. But if you're just bringing this crap to Blu-ray because you think people are the least bit interested in the actual movie then you're sorely mistaken. I hate to pile on a movie that has been critically bashed ever since its inception, but 'Santa Claus Conquers the Martians' is really, really bad.
If this movie is a family favorite by the time Christmas rolls around then your family has a twisted sense of humor. No doubt you're laughing hysterically while watching it. That's the only way to watch this. Sitting down and watching it in order to get something out of it is a futile exercise.
Do we really need to go over the story? We do? Well, okay then, but don't say I didn't warn you. Christmas is coming and all the good little boys and girls are awaiting Santa's delivery of toys. Apparently, Earthling television is received on Mars and is watched by Martian children. Only these children are completely devoid of fun and enjoyment. Basically they're like a race of terribly painted green Vulcans, only a lot dumber. The leader of the Martians is convinced that Santa can bring happiness and laughter to the dour Martian children, so a plan is hatched: kidnap Saint Nick.
There's a whole plot about two kids from earth and how they rescue Santa from the evil clutches of the Martians. It tries really hard to be a feel-good movie about kindness and generosity, but its corny campiness maims it.
I can't believe I ended up watching this movie without the 'MST3K' commentary. I also watched it alone. Double whammy. I didn't have anyone to make fun of the movie with so I just sat there, stunned by how ridiculously stupid it is.
I guess I'm being a little harsh on it since it's an ultra-low-budget movie with chintzy effects, terrible actors, and bad writing. I shouldn't expect too much out of a movie with the kind of origins that this one has. Still, even at a brisk 81 minutes it still feels like an exercise in numbing one's mind until the gray matter simply disappears.
It's a waste of time, frankly, to sit down and watch this movie without any of the above suggestions being followed.
With a group of friends, preferably after a night of hard drinking, 'Santa Claus Conquers the Martians' wanders into the "It's so bad it's good territory." It would most likely make for a fun session of riffing and that's about it.
Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
The movie comes in a standard keepcase on a 25GB Blu-ray Disc. It's a Region A release.
You know, it's like they didn't even try. We can argue whether or not the source was in good enough shape to bring to high definition, but if this is the result, then why even bother? Supposedly the movie is presented in 1080p, it's hard to tell.
It's so full of grime, scratches, and unbearable light flickering that I wanted to turn it off after the first few minutes. The first part of the movie has an undulating black spot on the right hand side that pulsates in and out of the frame like a malevolent amoeba. There isn't a moment of clarity or detail in the entire movie. It's a hazy mess buried beneath a sea of source noise that looks as if no one even paid attention to it. I understand that this is as obscure as Blu-ray releases get, but if you're planning on bringing something to the format you'd better have a reason, however small. This seems like they just slapped an old copy of the movie on a Blu-ray and called it good. It's relentless in its ugliness.
The audio is pretty terrible too, although not as bad as the video. The DTS-Master Audio Mono track is about as good as it can get for this movie and that's not saying much. Many lines of dialogue are garbled beneath the movie's music and terribly mixed sound effects. Everything sounds tinny and hollow. The track frequently crackles and pops. It's a muddled mix at best. Most of the dialogue can be heard somewhat clearly. Somewhat clear is about as good as it gets here.
That will be the last time I ever watch 'Santa Claus Conquers the Martians' without the 'MST3K' guys guiding me through its absurdity. Life's far too short to waste on movies like this. Crappy audio and crappy video add up to a pretty cruddy experience. One to avoid.