Santa Claus the Movie
An attempt to superhero-fy Santa by the same folks who brought us Superman 3.
Kevin Loria commented
If you like this y’all gonna love Kurt Russell as SANTA in Christmas Chronicles
First off this is NOT the Santa Claus movie which was riffed on MST3K, RiffTrax, then RiffTrax Live. This one was produced in the mid-80s by Alexander Salkind (yes, the same Salkind who did the original Superman flicks).
And this one is an odd wild ride indeed. Instead of having the jolly fat man living on a floating castle with disturbing machines, child labour and a demented wizard based off King Arthur, not to mention having theme parks about the place, this one tells the tale about Santa and his origins... then it goes off the rails for some reason.
Basically this Santa starts off with his and his wife who are local woodcutters who give their village's children handmade toys every Christmas. One night, however, they get ensnared in a blizzard, only to be rescued by elves, who take them into a magic realm. There they meet an Ancient Elf (Burgess Meredith) who tells them that because of their kindness, they will be rewarded by living in a land where they will never grow old, and they will share their gifts with the children of the world by giving them gifts.
So the woodcutter becomes Santa, and we see here that the reindeer fly by not consuming magic feed corn (as Rankin/Bass would have you believe) but some odd golden sprinkles (yes, Kevin, I, too wonder what it is, and no, Bill, it's definitely NOT grass).
For the most part, the film enters a montage of over the years how the legends behind Santa Claus has come to pass. Why he only travels on Christmas Eve, the naughty and nice list, and so on.
Meanwhile we enter a subplot, and you'll be relieved it has NOTHING to do with devils or demented wizards, but it does have Dudley Moore as Patch the Elf. Wanting to modernize the toymaking business, he develops a machine which can produce toys better than the elves can. Before you can say, 'John Henry,' Santa proposes a contest upon who can produce more toys. The winner will be made the Head Elf, in charge of toy production.
As you would expect, Patch's machine does crank out the toys, but along the way, we secretly see the machine covertly mess up in doing so. Apparently elves have no concept of quality control here, but that's the way it goes.
Meanwhile in the real world, John Lithgow has his own problems as B.Z., the head of a toy company who is under legal fire for selling unsafe toys to the public. And the problem is this is going on during the holidays, and he needs to come up with something to save his company. Oh, and he has a niece, for some inexplicable reason, why only one and not three, I'm not certain. But she's called Cornelia and feels neglected because she has always been left with nannies and such, and feels her uncle should run his business honestly.
Back on Christmas Eve, while Santa is making his run, he comes across a homeless boy named Joe. At first, Joe thinks this guy is some crazy nut, until he lets him join his ride on his sleigh delivering toys. Along the way they meet Cornelia, who offers Joe some food and they hit it off.
Santa secretly leaves them and later Joe leaves feeling strange that he should be in a ritzy place.
Another montage is revealed as we see some of Patch's automated gifts suddenly break down and the damaged goods mystically return back to the North Pole (hey, not sure how but it does).
Outraged by the fact they've never had returned toys, Santa wonders how did this happen. Of course, the weird part of this is, instead of Patch fixing the machine, as you would expect, he instead runs away, taking some of the golden sprinkles with him, after he resigns being Head Elf.
Apparently finding a Warp Zone at the North Pole, Patch winds up at New York City (NEW YORK CITY?!) and learns about B.Z. Toys. Complaining how they've grossly misrepresented Santa's workshop, Patch ends up meeting B.Z. and learns about the magic golden stuff.
Puts it in lollipops and makes everyone fly to put the toy company on the map.
Meanwhile Joe gets beaten up for Santa's shoddy work, and Cornelia wonders about her uncle, Santa gets sad because of Patch, but even more depressed that people want lollipops that make them fly instead of, you know, actual toys.
Rather than spoil the rest of the plot, I'll give you the three reasons why this should be riffed:
1) Typical late-80s flick: During this time, many directors believed if you put in some major stars then pepper them with some unknowns, you had a film. Regardless of the plot or continuity, as long as you have two major stars, you can apparently sell it to audiences. In this case it was John Lithgow and Dudley Moore, with Burgess Meredith thrown in for good measure. And Santa Claus doesn't disappoint, of course speaking of plot.
2) Story starts off good, then goes off the rails with strange subplots. Truthfully, and you thought 'I Believe in Santa Claus' was a caution. The film does start off telling the story about.. you know.. Santa Claus and his origins.. but then Salkin
Is this the one with Dudely Moore from the 80's? If it is then you rifftrax guys should do this one! For nostalgic reasons or for the fact that it's just plain goofy!