Reviews & Columns
International DVDs
In Theaters
Reviews by Studio
Video Games

Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Anime Talk
DVD Savant
Horror DVDs
The M.O.D. Squad
Art House
HD Talk
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum

DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info


Rifftrax Live: Santa Claus

Fathom Events // Unrated // December 4, 2014
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Fathomevents]

Review by John Sinnott | posted December 5, 2014 | E-mail the Author
Just a little over a month after their last live event, the Rifftrax crew, with the help from the good folks at Fathom Events, returns to theaters for a live broadcast of their Christmas Riffing special: Santa Claus. This is a Mexican film import by schlockmiester K. Gordon Murray back in 1960 and dubbed in English, and it has been riffed on MST3K back in the day, but that version was edited and now fans get to see the whole film (including the extended dance scene in Hell) riffed for the first time. It's a bizarre film involving Santa, a demon who complains about his weak digestive system, and a dance number with giant, horrific dolls. In other words the perfect film for the Rifftrax group to tackle.

For those who haven't run across Rifftrax before, the group consists of Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy (all alumni of Mystery Science Theater 3000). They create commentary tracks to movies, both big-budget Hollywood specials and B-grade schlock that are available for purchase through their web site, The running discussion at our house is which is better, classic MST3K or Rifftrax, and the latter is a slight favorite.

As with all Rifftrax Live events, this one started off with some great pre-show slides accompanied by some humorous songs (think Weird Al). There were slides on Movie Quotes, Yuletide Facts, and Depressing Christmas Specials. My favorites were the "Rejected Stocking Stuffers" including "Tickle-me Ebola" and "A tree branch you wrote 'Groot' on with a sharpie." The most hilarious, though it takes a minute to get the joke, was "Hair combs for anyone who thinks watch fobs make a great gift." (If you're having trouble, think O. Henry.)

The show started promptly with the three stars taking the stage and bantering a little. Bill Corbett was dressed as an elf, but the others didn't get the memo and they bickered about that a bit. I really like their intros since they have a chance to improve. The audience unexpectedly cheered when Bill mentioned the fact that he had curly shoes and he ran with that, making fun of his partners 'stupid flat shoes' to the great amusement of those present.

Before the main film there was a shorts, another of the "At Your Fingertips" instructional films that ACI released long ago. This time it was "Sugar and Spice" a video that illustrates how to make hollow egg ornaments and snowmen out of sugar. This was okay, with a lot of cocaine and meth jokes thrown in about the powdered sugar, both natural and tinted with blue food coloring. The best part was the end when the filmmakers turned a group of children loose on a table full of solid sugar snacks and had them devour the sweet treats. As one of the riffers remarked: Instant Diabetes.

The main attraction was excellent. If you've seen Santa Claus before, you know who strange and rather eerie the film can be. It was as if someone explained the idea of Santa to a writer in one or two sentences who then went off and wrote the script. It has a lot of standard Santa folklore including his flying reindeer, going down chimneys, giving coal of children who have been naughty. There's a lot that's new to the whole Santa mythos however. In this film Santa lives on a cloud out in space (past the orbit of the moon) and has teams of children from every country (including the country of Africa) making toys. He has Merlin the magician working for him who gives him his sleeping dust and flower of invisibility as well as some Norse god-like blacksmith who fashions a key that allows Santa to open any lock (and apparently he has to do this every year). The strangest thing about the film however is Santa's antagonist: a demon from Hell named Pitch. He's instructed by Santa to go to Earth and convince children to be bad and foil Santa's plan to spread happiness and cheer. It's Santa vs. Pitch in this no-holds-barred grudge match.

The riffing for this solid throughout and very funny. They started with the incredibly long opening titles ("Mexican credits are like Pesos - there are fifteen for every American credit") and kept right on going. The film starts with Santa laughing ("I've turned your cherished holiday into a greed soaked orgy of junk purchasing!") and then shows Santa's outer space lair ("This looks like a torture chamber designed by Dr. Suess.") and the laughs keep coming.

They make fun everything from how lame Pitch is ("Devils: They're like Donald Duck, only less evil.") to the absurd dance numbers ("This is the dance equivalent of the last sketch on Saturday Night Live.") and the whole surrealistic feel of the film ("Never get involved in a philosophical argument with a burlap doll... nothing good can come of it."). They are a lot of jokes at Santa's expense too. (As he's climbing in a window: "Santa moves with the grace of a walrus.")

All in all, this was a hilarious evening. These Rifftrax Live events are always fun and they're made that much more enjoyable with a theater filled with others who enjoy their scatter-shot humor. Highly Recommended.



Highly Recommended

E - M A I L
this review to a friend
Popular Reviews

Sponsored Links
Sponsored Links