Sunday, December 25, 2011

SANTA CLAUS (1959) - (shown December, 1993)

     Now that the K.A.C. is wrapped up for another year, I'd like to get back to my regular reviewing of the films that we showed during the early years of Conjure Cinema. We pick up with our showing of December, 1993 ... and wouldn't you know it, it's a Christmas film! Not just ANY Christmas film, though - it's the notorious K. Gordon Murray Mexican-imported cheesefest from 1959, SANTA CLAUS!

     Go back to my December 16th entry on THE MAGIC CHRISTMAS TREE ... even though I managed to escape THAT disaster, I saw THIS one as a wee lad! I've written about the experience before, in a short-lived Boston newspaper called ETCETERA (the article is reproduced at left) -   the good news (well, GREAT news for some of us!) is that this perennial holiday 'favorite' has been released in Blu-ray DVD! I have a hard time imagining seeing Santa, Pitch and Merlin (as well as the charming Lupita and her possessed dolls) in crystal clear Blu-ray clarity, but (to borrow a quote from another 'classic', ROBOT MONSTER), "I cannot - yet I must. How do you calculate that? At what point on the graph do "must" and "cannot" meet? Yet I must - but I cannot!"

     For a change, rather than talking about the film proper, let's talk about what happened behind the scenes. Laura and I had been running the Conjure Cinema showings out of our house, and were trying to figure out when the December feature should run. The holiday season is always busy for everybody, running around like chickens without heads, until collapsing on the 25th. It's also usually a very hectic and stressful time ... with that in mind, Laura looked at the available dates and said, "Why not hold it Christmas night?" As I was about to argue the point, I thought about it and realized that by the evening of the 25th, most of our friends had fulfilled their family obligations during the day and might want to have a party of their own to go to and unwind after the forced obligatory get-together ... or it could just be us at home without ANYONE AT ALL coming over. Either way, we put the notice out and waited to see who would show up. We were anticipating a small crowd, but instead got the LARGEST ATTENDANCE since our founding of Conjure Cinema! More than one friend showed up gratefully telling us, "THANK YOU! You gave me an excuse to get away from ... (fill in the blank)!" :) As a result, we had a standing room only crowd in attendance, so blankets were passed out and hurried introductions (and new friendships) were made as folks sat on each other's laps or anywhere they could find, to watch this cinematic candy cane unspool. Looking back on my notes, I realize that the version we showed here was the MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 take, which the audience totally got into and enjoyed! Everyone headed out in great spirits and it gave birth to another annual tradition, a Yankee Yule Swap party held on Christmas night that we have gone to now for many years and always have a grand time at. In the end, we all have K. Gordon Murray and SANTA CLAUS for bringing us all together on Christmas evening ... touching, isn't it? :)

     NEXT TIME: We enter 1994 with tires squealing as we hitch a a turbo-fueled ride to Hell with ... THE CAR! Come back and find out why THIS ONE FILM almost spelled the end for Conjure Cinema!