Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Nobody does weird like the Latin Americans, which explains why 1959’s ‘Santa Claus’ appears to be a collaborative work between Salvador Dali, Ed Wood and the Pope .

Up in Santa’s castle of gold and crystal, which floats above the North Pole for no good reason, happy children from all the nations of the world help Santa make his toys, all while singing off-key and staring at the camera with the theatrical flair of roadkill. As they work, St Nick plays his pipe organ like some sort of Santa of the Opera, leering at the children at a manner which is probably intended to be jovial, but actually comes across as intensely creepy.

Meanwhile, down in Hell (which appropriately enough resembles a brimstone-laden jazz ballet class), Lucifer commands one of his devils to go up to Earth and tempt boys and girls to be naughty rather than nice. The devil, whose name is Pitch, jumps to it, and soon has a trio of little boys chucking rocks at a mechanical department store Santa… which let’s face it, we’ve all been tempted to do at some point. I don’t see the big deal myself.

Thus the battle between Santa and the Devil is joined, proving that we may need a few more missionaries to head down to Mexico to bang some kinks out of their theology. It doesn’t help that Santa is armed with some of the most sinister accessories ever conceived. His reindeer are clockwork robots who chuckle like they’re about to go for your neck, and he keeps tabs on the children of the world through a disturbing machine with an enormous set of human lips, a telescope with a giant eye that emerges from it on a flexible rod, and a human ear apparently grafted onto an oscillating fan.

There’s also some magic powder (well, it is Latin America), and an enchanted flower that allows Santa to teleport, and a weird dream sequence in which a kid gets his own parents in giant boxes for Christmas… well, basically, it’s all just weird.

Feliz Navidad everyone!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if the theological landscape wasn't sufficiently confused already, Santa has Merlin to assist him - apparantly as a kind of "Q" to Santa's James Bond.I suppose Merlin lying neath the sod awaiting the return of the Once and Future King just a teensy bit dull, so he thought he'd pop on over to Kringle's place and help him out with the toys.

There must have been a lot of naughty children that year. Naughty enough to not get any presents, but not naughty enough to warrant a special delivery of coal. Santa only visited, I think, four houses before returning to his palace.

And speaking of the palace, I wouldn't have thought that Santa would be a big fan of the Spanish-Moorish style of architecture. Somehow I see him being much more... Northerly.... in his tastes. Not to mention that the Moors were probably not big fans of Christmas - being Muslims and all.

I think I need to get out more...


11:23 PM  
Blogger MC Etcher said...

I'm tempted to say you made all of that up, but it's too weird not to be true!

12:48 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

It's further evidence that Santa is trying to usurp Christ.
First he hogs all the attention on Christ's Brithday and now he's taking on Christ's nemisis, The Devil!
Next we'll be getting Santa churches.

12:07 PM  

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