Rifftrax Live!: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians Review: An Odd Christmas Classic

If you are not familiar with Fathom Events, the company does one-night-only events of films, operas, and other special events that give audiences a wider access to things they may not be able to see on television or the big screen. They also give audiences a chance to participate in one-night only events that may be far away from them. This was the case with the Rifftrax crew taking on the short Santa Claus and the Fairy Snow Queen and the feature Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. This event was broadcast to almost 600 theaters across the country while former MST3Kers Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo), and Bill Corbett (Crow) riffed live from the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee.

Before the event even began, the theater was playing slides of funny “Christmas Facts” and well as “Rejected Stocking Stuffers.” And instead of random music just playing while the audience waited, we got to hear the incredibly funny Christmas album, One Christmas at a Time by Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick. If you wants some holiday laughs, I recommend you get this album.

Once the event began, the audience could see the live Rifftrax event from the Becourt Theatre. Nelson, Murphy, and Corbett were brought to the stage and then spent some time discussing the short they were beginning with, Santa Claus and the Fairy Snow Queen. This short is from 1951 and is one of those weird Christmas-inspired stories that just doesn’t make any sense. Then again, if it did, Rifftrax wouldn’t be covering it. The plot revolves around the Fairy Snow Queen wanting to play a trick on Santa so she decides to bring the toys to life. Needless to say, what ensues is creepy and weird, but it gave the guys a lot to work with. I was laughing so hard I was crying during this short.

After it, Nelson, Murphy, and Corbett spent a few moments discussing their thoughts about Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. (This is not their first time riffing on it and it’s a fair assumption that many audience members have seen the MST3K version of the film.) Afterwards, they got right into having fun with this terrible movie. For those who have not seen it, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is about a Martian leader kidnapping Santa Claus from Earth to bring him to Mars in order to pull the Martian children out of a depression. There is a whole group of odd characters in this film, however Droppo, dubbed “the laziest man on Mars,” gets a lot of attention. If you have not seen this film, it’s an odd Christmas classic. Although I did not cry-laugh during this film, the guys still had some fresh and hilarious riffs for this movie.

I would definitely attend another one of these Rifftrax Live events. The team at Fathom really puts together the whole package in setting the mood and tone for the evening. On top of it, the audience was one of the best behaved audiences I had been a part of in a long time. No phones ringing, no one had to be told to stop texting; it was glorious!!!

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Darcy Staniforth

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