And now a Deep 13 holiday presentation, Pia Zadora in: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Shield your eyes, Frank!
  — Dr. Forrester

The Movie


The flamboyantly dressed ("Tonight, I'm a space pirate! Permission to come aboard!"-Crow) Martian Kimar is upset that his children have become obsessed with TV shows from Earth that extol the virtues of Santa Claus. In the broadcast, a KID-TV reporter visits Santa's workshop and interviews the jolly old elf and his helpers. ("You know, elf tastes just like chicken."-Tom). Kimar, however, after a brief visit with the "laziest man on Mars", Martian Dropo, consults the wise oracle Chochem. ("He looks like a Troll doll."-Joel) Kimar is told that the children of Mars do not act like real children, and that to act normal again they must have fun in their life. Another Martian known as Voldar dislikes this idea and the two Martians repeatedly butt heads. It is also revealed in the flight that Dropo has stowed away on the ship. When the Martians arrive on Earth, they see many Santas, ("And he's kissing Mommy!"-Joel) but they do not know which is the real one. Kimar decides to ask two Earth children, Billy and Betty Foster, for help. They tell Kimar that the real Santa is at the north pole, but Voldar fears they might warn the authorities (because who wouldn't believe a pair of moppets with a wild story about meeting aliens?), so the Martians decide to take the children with them to the North Pole and to Mars. Dropo shows the children around the ship, but when the others come in he panics ("Oh-ho, Dropo, you've done it again!"-Joel) and forces them into the radar box.


Kimar (Oscar Wilde 2000.-Tom) and the others arrive at the North Pole, and Kimar decides to use the mysterious "Torg" to capture Santa. Upon hearing this plan, Billy sabotages the ship's "radar box" ("No, no, no. The RADAR box, not the TOY box!"-Tom) to make sure that the Martians will be detected upon their escape from Earth. They then set out to find Santa's workshop and warn him before the Martians get him. However, they are waylaid by Voldar and an unconvincing "polar bear". ("You can see the fold where the headpiece is draped over the body!"-Tom) When they try and reach Santa for the second time, they are captured by Torg, a really unconvincing "robot". ("It's a guy in a cardboard box wearing a coffee urn on his head!"-Crow) They are brought back to the ship while Torg batters down the door of Santa's workshop. ("Knock-knock."-Joel) Santa, however, turns Torg into a toy, prompting the Martians to take him themselves, freezing several elves ("He stopped them SHORT!"-Tom") and Mrs. Claus in the process. Santa comes quietly and the rocket travels to Mars. Along the way, Santa tells several stories to the children in an effort to cheer them up (which Joel and the Bots interpret as war stories), but they fall flat. ("Santa, you're as funny as a train wreck!"-Crow) On the ship, Voldar attempts to dispose of the children and Santa by throwing them out the airlock, but they escape through the air vent, with Santa's chimney magic.


When they arrive on Mars, Santa and the children meet the Martian children, Bomar and Girmar. Santa's infectious laughter makes the Martian children laugh for the first time in years, and Santa quickly builds a factory to make toys for the Martian children. ("Does Mars have child labor laws?"-Crow) Voldar, Stobo and Shim, sabotage the factory and change the programming so that it makes the toys incorrectly. Meanwhile, Dropo puts on one of Santa's spare suits ("I feel like I shouldn't be watching this."-Tom), as well as a false beard ("So, Lady Momar made Santa an extra beard?"-Tom) and starts talking and acting like Santa Claus. He goes to the toy factory to make toys, but Voldar mistakes him for the real Santa Claus and kidnaps him. When Santa and the children come back to the factory to make more toys, they discover that the machine has been tampered with. Voldar and Stobo come back to the factory to make a deal with Kimar, but when they see the real Santa Claus in the factory they realize that their plan has been foiled. Dropo, held hostage in a cave ("The Gum Disease Caverns."-Tom), tricks Shim, who was guarding him, and escapes. Kimar then arrests Voldar, Stobo and Shim. Santa notices that Dropo is acting like him, and says that Dropo would make a good Martian Santa Claus. Kimar agrees to make Dropo a Santa Claus on Mars and sends Santa and the children back to Earth. ("They'll die in the vacuum! They'll burn up on re-entry!"-Tom)[1]


  • The first documented appearance of Mrs. Claus in a film.
  • Most of the film was shot in an abandoned aircraft hangar on Long Island, New York.
  • The Martian guns are actually painted Wham-O Air Blasters.
  • Pia Zadora's film debut.
  • When Santa starts making toys, one Martian is fascinated by "a coiled spring that walks down stairs." Slinky had a resurgence in the early 1960s.
  • Executive producer Joseph E. Levine was also responsible for Hercules and Hercules Unchained.
  • The techno music group The Laziest Men on Mars got their name directly from a line spoken during this movie. Their song Invasion of the Gabber Robots was one of the earliest known Internet Memes.
  • Was nominated in the Golden Turkey Award series for Most Insufferable Kiddie Movie Ever Made. It lost to Pinocchio in Outer Space.

The Episode

Host Segments


Prologue: The Bots pore over expensive Christmas catalogs and tell Joel what they want for Christmas.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): The Mads reveal their devastating holiday invention, the Wish Squisher, which can turn any cool present into something horrifically lame. Joel and the Bots demonstrate their own Misfit Toys.


Segment Two: Crow writes his own Christmas carol, "A Patrick Swayze Christmas". Thanks to some violent lyrics, Joel is not impressed.

Segment Three: Joel tricks Frank into sending up more Christmas specials. Some are good, and some are really, really bad.


Segment Four: The SOL reads their Christmas essays. Crow reads "A Christmas Editorial", Tom reads the classic "A Child's Christmas in Space", Joel reads about 70's office parties, and Gypsy says it all.

Segment Five: The crew sings their own version of "Angels We Have Heard on High", goes through their stockings, and reads a nice holiday letter, while the Mads exchange gifts.

Stinger: Voldar laughs evilly.



Quotes & References

  • "This is really cheap animation -- Clutch Cargo was better than this!"

Clutch Cargo was a television series notorious for its poor and limited - some might say disturbing - animation—the most striking example of this being the way the characters' mouths were "animated" simply by splicing in the filmed mouths of the actors performing the lines.

  • "Hi kids, this is Andy Henderson at the North Pole!" "No you're not, you're Rip Taylor."

A reference to the very flamboyant, but not funny, comedian who was a fixture on shows like "The Gong Show."

  • Father Martian tells his children to go to bed and Crow responds in a little girl voice, "will you buy me a Golden Globe then?"

The little Martian girl was Pia Zadora's first role, but she is probably most famous for winning a Golden Globe for the 1982 film Butterfly even though it was a flop. Her husband was accused of buying off the judges to get the award and she was also awarded "Razzies" as "Worst New Star" and "Worst Actress" in the 1982 Golden Raspberry Awards. She won more "Worst Actress" awards and the Golden Raspberry Awards later named her Worst New Star of the Decade (1980-1989).

One of the Martians is named Momar, recalling Colonel Muammar al-Qadaffi, the notoriously anti-American dictator of Libya.

  • "Their ship runs on a Simon game."
  • "Stratego"
  • "You sunk my Battleship!"

These are all games of one type or another, all are made by the Milton Bradley Company except Stratego, which is made by Hasbro. Oddly enough, the former is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the latter.

  • "I want those kids *dead*! I want Santa's house burned to the ground!"

Servo is paraphrasing Robert De Niro as Al Capone in The Untouchables.

  • "Are you sure it's not 'The Fish Who Saved Pittsburgh'?"

The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh was a 1979 movie starring basketball great Julius "Dr. J" Erving.

  • "Kimar is the Savings Place!"

"The Savings Place" was an advertising slogan used by Kmart during the 1980s.

  • "They've been reading 'The Bell Jar'!"

The Bell Jar is an autobiographical novel about mental illness - major depression, specifically - written by Sylvia Plath.

  • "It's Big Jim McLain!"

Big Jim McLain was a 1952 movie starring John Wayne.

  • "You! Get Donna Rice on the phone! I'll get a camera!"

Donna Rice was the woman at the center of a sex scandal that ended the 1988 presidential ambitions of Colorado senator Gary Hart.

  • "Wait a minute, it's Warhol's Factory!"

During the 1960s, artist Andy Warhol was based out of a New York studio he called The Factory.

  • "Bennies! Dexies!"

Joel is referring to various slang terms used by pill abusers.

  • "With whipped cream!" "And other delights!"

Whipped Cream & Other Delights was a 1965 album by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.

  • "Sounds like the music from 'The Ghost and Mr. Chicken'!"

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken was a 1966 movie starring Don Knotts.

  • "Hey, it's the Bugaloos!"

The Bugaloos was a TV show produced by Sid and Marty Krofft.

  • "I want my MTV..."

Servo is imitating Sting's backing vocals for the Dire Straits song "Money for Nothing".

  • Joel (as Voldar):"I like you, that's why I'm going to kill you last"

A nearly verbatim line from the movie Commando starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

  • "Santa Claus, you seem to have a nasty habit of surviving"

A paraphrased line from the movie Octopussy, said to James Bond.

  • "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

Reference to a repeated phrase in a well-known sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus.

  • Crow: "How ironic, I'm a victim of circumstance" Joel and the bots then chime: "hello, hello, hello.....hello!"

References to The Three Stooges.

  • The Martians look through a telescope and the image shown resembles a snow globe to which Servo replies, "Rosebud" and makes a glass breaking reference to a scene in Citizen Kane.
  • Crow: "old man, take a look at my elf, I'm a lot like you."

A play on the the lyrics to the song Old Man by Neil Young: "old man, take a look at my life, I'm a lot like you."

  • In distress, Santa Claus says "oh me, oh my..." To which Servo then adds: "by the bayou, me-oh, my-oh".

This is a reference to the song "Jambalaya (On the Bayou) " by Hank Williams, released in 1952, which includes such lyrics as "Dress in style, go hog wild, me oh my oh. Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou".

  • "Duh duh duh duh POW! Duh duh duh duh ZING! Duh duh OOF! Duh POW!! Duh duh CHOKE!"

Servo is mocking the fight scenes from the old Adam West Batman show, which had corny sound effect words imposed on top of the fights like the corny sound effects from fight scenes in the comic book.

  • Joel: "Some thing is wrong on Saturn 3!"

Saturn 3 is a 1980 sci-fi movie that takes place on a space ship where an android (built and programmed by a psychopath played by Harvey Keitel) runs amok.

  • Several times during the film, the Martians greet each other by touching foreheads together and Joel and the bots say "headbutt" which comes from the Saturday Night Live sketches featuring the Coneheads, starring Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin.
  • "Until next time, Bumpus."

"Bumpus" was the name of the unsophisticated neighbor family in the film A Christmas Story. Their dogs were especially noisy and unruly.

Video Release