'm watching the 1964 classic "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians" and of course my mind begins to wander away from the plot (yes it had a plot....at least somewhat). It seems that the Martians are upset their children have become obsessed with T.V. shows from earth that extol the virtues of St. Nick and the Martian leaders send a group to earth to kidnap Santa. I'm not sure how that's going to help anything, but trust me, that's the plot.
Now the fun begins, at least for me, when I start picking apart the weirdness in this film. These Martians carry around ray guns that look exactly like blow dryers and I'm puzzled not because they're apparently armed with hair care appliances but because the movie is so old that I don't think hand-held blow dryers were in wide spread use in 1964, so I guess in a sense the movie really is futuristic at least in that way. Next I notice that the invaders appear to be wearing leather football helmets and I'm starting to get sort of pissed because I have always wanted one and these clowns appear to have found the motherlode. The leader of the group "Vulgar", pronounced "Vul-Gar" is a black guy with a bushy fu-manchu that seems to have come straight out of one of those blaxploitation films. I mean it's Fred "The Hammer" Williamson as "Vul-Gar" or at least it could be. The body-hugging outfits these guys wear is adorned with symbols such as the moon and stars, the atomic symbol and oddly enough, if you stare closely, a crucifix. It's good to know the King James Old Testament is alive and well on Mars sometime in the future. Pia Zadora was in the movie and she's hot even though they had to go to extremes of the imagination to figure her into the scheme of things.
This all set me to thinking about science fiction outer space movies in general. Do you ever notice that the people in the movies always wear the hairstyles that prevail at the time the movie was made even though it's supposed to take place far in the future? Ever notice the aliens seem to like to wear that stretchy polyester material? In the future we are going to realize all that stuff about healthy breathable cotton fabric was just a bunch of unenlightened bullshit. Good to know. Do you notice that often the aliens , especially in the older movies are just like earthlings except with one ugly feature that sets them apart? The alien will look just like Cary Grant for example except maybe he'll have really big ears or a bulbous forehead or an extra arm sticking someplace it shouldn't be. The women from space all have incredible figures but might have a crazy looking set of eyes or maybe even an extra eye. Furthermore, there are no fat or flat chested women in outer space. It's an intergalactic law of nature.
My final thoughts on "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians" and si-fi outer space movies in general and then a helpful tip for viewing these movies: Are we really supposed to believe that the Martian kids were sitting around all day watching American T.V. shows? I mean, come on, there were only three channels back then! And my tip: Watch the feet. Look at the footwear. In the really older movies (think black and white and cinemascope era), the wardrobe departments didn't pay a lot of concern to the shoes these guys wore. You see there wasn't a lot of full length close up shots and certainly very little panning to the feet of the extras in the crowds. You'll see people from Mars and everywhere else wearing whatever they left the house with. Army boots, sneakers, wing-tips, you name it, it's all in the crowd.
Oh, and one more tip: Don't watch old movies with me. I'll drive you crazy with this very kind of stuff. It's a disease or affliction of some sort. I just can't help it. Enjoy your popcorn.
I am a Mississippi native and now live in Jackson,Tennessee. I write about everyday life and events from the perspective of how they effect my own thoughts and feelings.