Christmas films to avoid

crapxmas-santawithmuscles-590x350WE ALL HAVE our favourite Christmas films that we make a point to watch over the festive period: Jingle All the Way, It’s a Wonderful Life, Die Hard (this is not up for discussion)… all classics of Yuletide cheer, joy and wonder, product placement etc, etc. Much like a good Christmas song, a good Christmas film instils us with a sense of anticipation, of rapt expectation and, perhaps, inebriation; it gives us something to properly look forward to when Nadolig clamps its fettering jaws all over our starry-eyed faces.

The examples I’ve provided above are good Christmas films. Unfortunately, we won’t be discussing those films in this article – that would be too fun. As the title might indicate, the following entries of Chrimbo catastrophes ought to put the s*** in your stocking and ascribe all new, similarly scatological meanings to the Yule log. These are some of the worst Christmas films around, in no particular order.

Santa With Muscles (1996)

Hulk Hogan (good start) plays a multi-millionaire bodybuilding supplement seller(?) who, via shenanigans, changes into a Santa Claus costume, gets amnesia(?!) and is now under the impression that, yes, he is Santa Claus. Couple this with a shriekingly unfunny comic relief elf (Don Stark), gut-wrenchingly awful child actors (amongst them a deeply embarrassed Mila Kunis) and an evil, germophobic scientist (Ed Begley, Jr.) who wants to take over their orphanage to, you guessed it, gain access to a horde of magical crystals within its catacombs (WHAT?!), we have a fever dream of seismic proportions. Filmed in what I can only assume to be July in blazing Californian sunshine, Santa With Muscles is about as festive as a colonoscopy.

Santa Claus (1959)

Santa Claus from 1959 is a Mexican film. Its premise is insane. It is also evil and wretched – it, quite literally, sucked the Christmas spirit right out of me. How do you ruin a film where Father Christmas, from his orbital space station of Toyland, battles the forces of Hell itself with the aid of the wizard Merlin? How can this concept possibly fail to deliver on the sheer weight of its potential? A sequence where human-sized dolls start doing ballet in a young girl’s nightmare sums it up really.

The battle between Santa and Hell is fought with slapstick so tepid the Chuckle Brothers could do better blindfolded. Merlin spends most of the film looking into a telescope, bored. Santa’s global roundtrip on Christmas Eve is apparently to four children’s houses in Mexico City and is almost thwarted by a barking dog. We don’t even get to see Toyland used as a Death Star! Wait. Death Star…

The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

The one thing on earth that George Lucas is so ashamed of he won’t even officially release it. This is the man who thought Jar-Jar Binks was a good idea. Yeah. That should be enough of a warning for what you’re letting yourself in for, but it really isn’t. Nothing about the original or even the prequel trilogies can possibly prepare you for the Holiday Special.

You know how Chewbacca isn’t anyone’s favourite character? Yeah, imagine an entire family of Chewbaccas having whole scenes of dialogue between each other, unsubtitled. I am not making this up. On Life Day (Life. Day.), a very disgruntled-looking Han Solo, a very orange-looking Luke Skywalker and a carol-singing Princess Leia all pop up amidst Jefferson Starship and an assortment of bizarre celebrity cameos (Bea Arthur? Art Carney? Harvey Korman?!) to… well, watch it and find out. They show up; we suffer.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

I don’t need to dress this up. It’s Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Well, to be fair, it was the 60s. Tragically, that’s not an excuse – Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is one of the worst films ever made, let alone worst Christmas film. Martians kidnap Santa because there’s apparently no such thing as ‘fun’ on Mars but there’s apparently a lot of weed because everyone in the film is stoned out of their minds. Spectacularly appalling and fabulously incompetent on every conceivable level, it’s also the perfect film to watch drunk off your face with friends, marvelling at the sheer awfulness onscreen. “You spell it S-A-N-T-A C-L-A-U-S – Hooray for Santa Claus!”

I have suffered through these films so you don’t have to. For the love of God, honour my pain: don’t watch any of these films for Christmas or ever, unless you intend to get thoroughly blottoed on mulled wine and derisive laughter. You have no one to blame but yourselves. Whether it’s through morbid curiosity or abject self-loathing, subject yourself to these disasters at your peril. I have warned you. May your spirit of Christmas be stronger than mine was, and have a good un. Nadolig Llawen i chi, pawb.