When one looks through the annals of mexploitation cinema, it's impossible to not come across the name Rene Cardona. And
for good reason too. Amongst his 145 directing credits you'll find several Santos and Blue Demon titles, splatter classic
Night of the Bloody Apes, and the epic Wrestling Women vs Aztec Mummies. However, I would argue his most memorable film
just may be 1959's Santa Claus (you'll notice it took a foreign-language film to spell Santa's fucking last name
correctly), a fantasy film that puts a uniquely Latin spin on the mythos of everyone's favorite portly gift-giver by placing him
in an eternal battle against the literal goddamn (heh) devil.
We start our journey in Santa's castle in the clouds (just one of the many interesting changes made to the St. Nick legend)
with our jolly elf kidnapping stereotypes from all over the world to place in his child zoo.
Among the horrifyingly racist caricatures on display are turban-sporting Indians...
...tiny Chinese geishas...
...and drum-thumping Afri....
You know what, let's move on.
We then take a quick detour down to a surprisingly fun-looking Hell where one of the dancing demons is giving the mission
of spreading evil thoughts to kids in an attempt to ruin Christmas. Will he succeed? Only time will tell.
He looks super into it, though
We then jump to yet another location, a town in Mexico, where we meet impoverished Lupita, a curly-haired rich kid with negligent
parents and a gang of little assholes. Our demon friend has no problem convincing the tiny douchebags to do terrible things,
yet Lupita remains poor yet pure time and time again.
Ok, admission time. It's been a super long time since I'd seen this movie so I tried to find it on YouTube, but the only
one I could find is with the original Spanish audio so I have no fucking clue what the greater complexities and details
of the film entail. But if we're being totally honest, I doubt they really matter in the long run.
Anywho, we then head back up to Santa's castle to observe some of his fun (i.e. wildly creepy) child-watching devices at
work, including an eye on a stalk kinda like the aliens in War of the Worlds and the world's biggest fleshlight with the
fellactio attachment embedded in the wall.
Then we cut to Lupita's fever dream for what feels like about 5 hours. I don't have any pictures of that, nor would I show
them if I did. It doesn't matter anyway, right after that and a needlessly long montage of letters from children being
delivered we discover where Santa gets his wonderful trinkets and magic spying equipment. If you guessed they were designed and
built by motherfucking Merlin the wizard, then you were clearly cheating at my little game and I don't want you to
You know what that means? Merlin invented the giant Fleshlight up there. Think about that the next time you're washing a week's-worth of jizz out of the detachable inner gel sleeve.
After even more time-wasting montages, Santa finally waddles his fat ass up on his sleigh and heads down to Earth with
his eight shiny, white, admittedly-badass clockwork reindeer.
And this is honestly where the movie could've easily stopped. Nothing really happens; the random devil keeps trying to make
kids to bad things, they don't, random devil keeps trying to mess with Santa, he doesn't, Santa gives kids presents. That's
about it. This is a Christmas movie, we all knew how this would end.
My review/article/whatever really turned sour quickly didn't it? I know things started to turn pretty negative there, and
I do feel there is a LOT of padding in this movie, but there's quite a bit I genuinely like here. I like the weird changes
to the Santa lore with all his gadgets and mechanical deer, and there really is a sort of heartfelt and hand-stitched
elementary-school-Christmas-play sincerity here that's hard not to like.
And who doesn't love casual racism?
Don't get me wrong, this is not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but if you're looking for a unique
kind of Christmas film steeped in a different and interesting culture, you could do a lot worse. Plus it's amazing to watch
while high......not that I would know anything about that.
- JP Wendel