Wednesday, December 8, 2010



Santa hos and Shatner shats; a not-so subtle Erich von Daniken parody; and thousands of ass-flattening hours watching the History Channel.

More details here.


Lloyd Darrow (Chris Clark) is the world’s premier “Santologist" or Santa Claus Expert whose glorious, lifelong and mostly futile attempt to prove the existence of Old Saint Nick is the focus of this incisive documentary.  The breadth of Darrow’s research has included first-hand accounts of Santa sightings from impish kids and questionably sober adults, alleged recordings of Santa sending X-mas wishes during séances, the interrogation of so-called Mall Santas who may be agents of a secret cabal to conceal the truth, and of course, a plethora of Santa-related archeological evidence:

The Aztecs loved their stocking of sacrificial heads on X-mas morn.

Also featured are his long-suffering but supportive wife Barbara (Lisa Clark), his sweet daughter, his increasingly disillusioned son, and enthusiastic research assistant Clarence (Daryn Tufts) who stands by Darrow's questionable certainty despite the odds.  The detail of their investigation in the days leading up to X-mas reveals the full scope of the Santa Conspiracy which provides explanations for  everything from crop circles (alternate landing fields for Santa’s sleight), to UFO sightings (Santa’s sleigh ride tests), to  the so-called “alien” body recovery at Roswell, NM in 1947:

All the autopsy revealed was three pounds of semi-digested sugar cookies.

The passion that drives Darrow and his protégé Clarence is finding out the identity of who or what is suppressing public knowledge of Santa's existence, and they come up with some pretty reasonable answers.  For example, if Santa – the universal gift giver – existed, parents would be able to save their money at the end of the year, or perhaps invest in a certain masked movie blogger’s Hamdinger franchise.  Santa’s free goody giveaway would result in economic ruin as well as a shitload of leftover candy canes.  While the rest of the world mocks him, Darrow perseveres and his belief is bolstered by the appearance of mysterious characters that enter his life with secret information and stories about governmental interference in the truth about Santa Claus.  In the end, we are presented with a livid portrait of a man obsessed with unraveling that which cannot – and perhaps should not – be unraveled, and the truth may reveal a stocking filled with glittering lies, a Pandora’s box of tinseled chaos, a time bomb of elfin deceit.  Insert gratuitous fruitcake joke here.


I might be talking out the business end of my hinder but when it’s all said and done, the 2000s will be known for one thing and one thing only: the post-Spinal Tap reemergence of the mockumentaryStalking Santa is a great idea for a fake documentary and its X-mas chuckles, creative enthusiasm, spirited performances, and awesome William Shatner narration make for light fare and fun times.    Filmed perhaps to perfection in the style of any History Channel UFO documentary with hints of The Office, the movie hits its comedic notes consistently and the production values in terms of the Santa “evidence”, eyewitness accounts, and interviews are smart and well-done.  Interspersed between the wackiness are interviews with real kids sharing their feelings about Santa.  For the most part, these sequences are cute but not very memorable.  Well except for this one little girl. 

Trust me, this kid steals the show.
The movie for the most part avoids most of the pitfalls of lesser mockumentaries that could have sunk its subtle humor and deadpan delivery and provides some good laughs without getting too wacky or off-topic.  If Santa does indeed exist, and duh he does, maybe he’ll put this fun little movie in your movie stocking.  That is, if you haven’t been a complete asshole this year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

ELVES (1989)


A Grisly End to a Career; A Catalog of Bent Wangs; Crypto-Nazi Grandpa; Crypto-Nazi Imaginary Beings; Crypto-Nazi Valley Girls; a useful purpose for non-virgin blood; Christmas Cat Dip; (s)elf-powered puppets; and the thankful absence of Will Ferrell beating midgets.

More details here.


Bitchy teen waitress Kirsten (Julie Austin) has never had a nice X-mas.  All her life she’s had to deal with her insufferable family including her extremely nervous Mom (Deanna Lund), her pervy TMNT-fan brother, and her wheelchair-bound badly accented Grandpa (Borah Silver).  And so to battle her holiday depression, she enlists the aid of her mentally-challenged girlfriends to venture into the forest and perform an arcane ritual to ruin everyone’s X-mas.  She accidentally cuts herself and bleeds into the grave of long-entombed creature. So what at first was a cry for help quickly turns into an accidental conjuring of an evil elfin spirit, and I ain’t talking about double-chocolate dipped chip cookies. 

Speaking of cries for help, former cop and recovering alcoholic Mike McGavin (a very sad-looking chain-smoking Dan Haggerty) shows up at Golem’s department store and begs for a job.  He eventually gets the coveted job of store Santa after the former jolly fat dude gets Lorena-Bobbited by the evil elf which is now on the loose in the store and apparently hates wieners.  Kirsten, who works in the store’s diner, befriends Grizzly Santa and one night while locked in the store, the pair is attacked by German goons on the trail of the resurrected demon-spawn in a furry hat.

No, I won't work past five on the 24th, Fatso!

The next day, Mike and Kirsten launch an investigation into the nature of the monster and its khaki-clad followers and discover that elves were worshiped by the Nazis and subsequently genetically engineered by Kirsten’s Grandpa in order to raise an army of angry toy-making freedom haters.  They also find out that on Christmas Eve, this particular alpha-elf is going to stuff virgin Kirsten’s silken stocking to jump-start the Master Elf Race, aka the Littlest Reich.  Oh, and there’s this weird incestuous twist tossed  in that takes Mike over the edge and so he starts whaling on anyone that might look “whimsical”.

You said you'd pay me in cash!!!
So what follows is a Magical Pixie Apocalypse that brings the forces of evil (German Goons & Uber-Elf) against the Forces of Good (Virginal Kirsten) against the Forces of Tubby and Phlegmy (Poor Ol’ Dan Haggerty).

The tradition of shitty horror movies set at X-mas continues with the abjectly cheap Elves, a relatively and perhaps deservedly obscure X-mas horror title.  Ok, so this wasn’t James Cameron’s sequel to Elf.  Strike one.  Also, Haggerty didn’t bother to bring along a big ass bear to do some Nazi-chomping.  Strike two.  In defiance of its own title, there is only one fricking elf in the film.  Strike effing three.  And it’s a hatefully ugly little thing, kind of like a $.99 Store version of a mini-Voldemort only not good.  And you never see the full body, only the top half which moves way too puppet-like.  The idea of evil elves battling Santa Claus in a department store on X-mas Eve sounds like a no-brainer, and the casting of Haggerty sounds even more inspired.  But somehow the creative forces behind this thing decided that piling on incest, racism, animal abuse, and an uncomfortably horny kid made for fun holiday horror fare.  Well, actually it does kinda work at times, but the inept execution takes the edge off and ultimately it comes off as just mean-spirited and creatively bereft.  Another huge problem is that you only see Haggerty in a Santa suit for about ten seconds.  What the hell, man?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


EL TREMENDO is planning to review random movies very soon. Any obscure, cultish, weirdly outstanding titles to recommend?