Friday, December 16, 2011

K.A.C. 2011 - T - 9 ...

     It's that time again, Merry Moviegoers! The tallies are counted, the votes are in and here is the 2011 winner in the 'Worst Christmas Movie of the Year' contest! A brief recap, for those of you new to the K.A.C. - each year we give out the award for 'Worst Christmas Movie of the Year' - 2008's winner was SANTA AND THE ICE CREAM BUNNY, which was trumped by 2009's entry, SANTA'S CHRISTMAS CIRCUS (see my entry of December 3rd, 2009 for the write up on that). Last year we had the '13 Strangest Christmas Shorts' contest and never got around to a feature, so let's remedy that shortcoming with this: THE MAGIC CHRISTMAS TREE.

     Made in 1964 and not starring ANYONE you ever have or ever will hear of, it's a low-budget wonder that played the holiday kiddie-matinees of the time. It sounds criminal now, but back in the 1960s, parents thought nothing of giving their kids admission and snack money and dropping the tykes off at the movie theater while they went off to do their Christmas shopping. I speak from experience, as this happened to me year after year - it was actually a fun time! In addition to the lame feature, there were usually cartoons and other shorts that ran to fill the two-hour slot, plus the kids were all sugared-up and just barely under control ... it was Hell for the ushers and manager, but WE enjoyed it!

     The true impresario of the kiddie matinee was showman K. Gordon Murray (more on him later in the K.A.C.), who had cornered the market. When other filmmakers saw the kind of money he was pulling in from these Holiday Horrors, they wanted in! Low-budget, no-budget, it didn't matter ... they figured (rightly) that the kids wouldn't care what was on the screen, as long as they were watching SOMETHING Santa-related. Which brings us to today's film.

     I saw a number of these as a kid, but thankfully I missed this one. I can tell you, though, it follows the usual pattern: use saturation ads and posters in the major markets (via print and TV time) and get the kids all jacked-up to see it, then dump the unprepossessing product on them and rake in the cash! The poster was nine times out of ten the best part of the film ... and judging by the trailer, such was the case here, as well.

     Go take a look at The Back Row blog for the trailer ... I particularly liked Robin's descriptions of the "highlights" of the film ... "The Happy Witch ... The Greedy Giant ... and The Runaway Lawnmower!" Now THAT'S low-budget!

     Come back tomorrow for more ... and keep a suspicious eye out on YOUR Christmas tree!

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