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RiffTrax Live: Santa Claus
Rifftrax // Unrated // December 1, 2015
List Price: $12.95 [Buy now and save at Rifftrax]
The Rifftrax group has been poking fun at bad movies for a while now, and for the past several years they've presented live events, broadcasting real-time riffing to theaters across the country in association with Fathom Events. This holiday season they have released two of their previous live shows on DVD, and they are both worth picking up: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and this one, the Mexican movie Santa Claus.
Before the main film there was a short, 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.
The stereo audio track is fine. The levels are mixed well so you can hear the riffers as well as the movie and neither one overwhelms the other.
The image quality is fine. While the film itself shows some wear, the shots of the riffers and the audience are clean and clear. Overall the picture looks good - no complaints.
They also include the slides that were shown before the movie during the live event. 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.)
All in all, this is a hilarious disc. The Rifftrax Live events are always fun and it's great that they're releasing them on disc for those fans who weren't able to attend the screening. If you like MST and Rifftrax, this is a must-buy. Highly Recommended.