Don’t Watch It, John! Santa Claus (1959)

The idea behind the Don’t Watch It, John! series is to find cinema that’s so rotten, so foul, so incredibly fetid that no other human being would dare recommend it to another human being. So why on earth would I watch this stuff? I like to think of myself much like Colonel Nathan Jessup in A Few Good Men. We live in a world that has horrible movies, and those horrible movies have to be kept from potential viewers. Who’s gonna do it? You? You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That someone watching movies like Santa Claus(1959), while tragic, probably saves lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You want me on that wall, you need me on that wall, protecting you from 50-year-old Mexican Christmas movies that feature Santa fighting the devil.

What is Santa Claus?
From Netflix:

José Elías Moreno stars as Santa Claus in this decidedly dark take on the Christmas season, a bizarre tale involving the devil, a demon named Pitch (José Luis Aguirre “Trotsky”) and a plot to derail yuletide cheer with pure, unadulterated evil. But there’s another big twist worth mentioning: This Santa Claus lives in outer space, and his only hope for saving Christmas lies in the hands of Merlin the Magician (Armando Arriola).

Who stars in this cinematic monstrosity? Uh… Papa Noel? El Santa Claus? El diablo? Basically it stars a bunch of unknown Mexican actors from the 1950s.

The Stats: 2,517 IMDb users have given it an average score of 2.1 out of 10. Rotten Tomatoes has no critic ratings. However, 41% of 2,250 RT audience members liked it. 

The Review: I haven’t done a time stamped version of Don’t Watch It, John! in quite some time. Let’s roll that beautiful bean footage.

0:45 Ah, yes. Director of Photography, Raul Martinez Solares. I’d recognize his work anywhere.


Religious icons and a home that probably smells like vindaloo.

1:45 Santa Claus lives way out in the heavens… and apparently tells a bunch of religious icons who’s naughty and nice.

2:45 Santa’s home looks a lot like an Indian restaurant, but with a toy factory controlled by a keyboard. Where’s the keyboard for my chicken tikka, Santa?

3:09 Oh wow. Kids of different races and creeds are Santa’s helpers, and they show them all. Hello, unintentional racism!

4:52 Those kids from England are shitty singers. And why are they singing London Bridge around Christmastime?

5:56 “Even Russia has a delegation.” EVEN GODLESS 1950s COMMUNISTS STILL BELIEVE IN SANTA!

8:56 And now the children from the USA, who are singing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” for Christmas. If there’s one thing we Americans love, it’s lambs. And apparently, we also loved kids dressed as cowboys and cowgirls with horrible singing voices in 1959.

10:00 Little kid: “Santa, do you like the devil?” What kind of fucking question is that?!?

10:20 Awesome. This is when it becomes an LSD trip with a bunch of devils dancing around in hell. Strangely, it’s a lot like the work of Mélies.

11:45 The devilish punishment for being defeated by Santa Claus: being topped with ice cream. This is especially bad because chocolate is bad for indigestion. No, really- that’s something they point out here.

12:32 Dammit, this is 93 minutes long?

santaclaus14:00 So, just to clarify, the devil is a dude wearing a red catsuit with a painted red face.

14:42 This is the exact moment in which you get to see Santa get hit in the face with rocks. It’s way funnier than I ever expected.

15:30 Santa has a “magic observatory” with telescopes and a “master eye” to keep track of little kids.

16:00 This “magic observatory” is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen.

18:33 The devil is back. I admire his hand-rubbing and ridiculous grin to indicate that he’s evil.

19:35 So… Santa is some old guy who lives with a bunch of children from around the world and uses a telescope to watch the moves of every little kid around the world. This has “Amber Alert” written all over it.

21:31 These gift boxes contain “what a child loves best- his parents.” Whoever wrote this has never been around real children.

24:47 Just when I thought it might get creepy, it returned to normality with 20 life-sized dolls in masks dancing around a 4-year-old-girl for 4 minutes in a shroud of fog.

27:58 I swear, in reference to the devil, Santa just said “Believe me, that old bitch is going to pay for this.”

29:12 Seriously, Santa’s home makes me really hungry for some vindaloo.

30:30 Santa is now looking into kids’ bedrooms. Amber Alert.

32:56 With all of that mail going to Santa, does that mean there’s a mailman who goes to the heavens where Santa lives? PLOT HOLES!

35:06 So… I think Santa will bone your mother if you send him a letter asking for a brother or sister?

36:00 Merlin the Wizard makes an appearance. In outer-space. In a Santa Claus movie.

36:50 “Well,  Merlin, tell me if the sleeping powders are mixed?” Santa is totally a child molester in this movie.

37:18 I want to see a buddy cop movie starring Merlin and Santa teaming up to fight crime.

38:24 Merlin prances around like a little kid riding a fake horse.

41:00 Merlin just gave Santa a flower that helps him disappear. Whoever wrote this was kind of an idiot, but they were thorough. I’ll give them that.

Santa and his styrofoam reindeer.

Santa and his styrofoam reindeer.

44:21 “Let’s have a look at Santa’s reindeer.” This is my favorite part. His reindeer are made out of white styrofoam. And the kids on Planet Santa are brushing them like they’re real.

45:15 The Russian kids are recommending Sputnik in lieu of reindeer, but Santa says no.

47:24 As if this film wasn’t shitty enough, the dubbing makes it extra horrible.

48:58 Apparently the styrofoam reindeer are “toys”. Nice save, shitty screenwriter.

51:10 “That was close! He almost ran into the moon!” 1950s pop culture, you so crazy.

52:20 In what I presume is a kids movie, three kids are plotting to make Santa their slave to give them candy and toys all the time.

56:43 The devil’s nefarious plot involves pushing the chimney out of place. WORST DEVIL EVER.

57:56 Santa’s going to use a magic umbrella to defeat the devil’s plot. Whatever.

59:00 Kids might see you? That’s ok, Santa. Just roofie them with Merlin’s magic dust.

1:00:14 Seriously, this whole movie is about Santa fighting the devil. What the fuck?

1:01:48 This is pretty much the worst possible execution of “defeating Christmas” that a devil could attempt.

1:07:42 This little kid kind of has a weird, stalkery relationship with Santa.

1:09:17 And now out of nowhere, we see high society.

1:09:40 High society is getting a reminder of their whiny little kid at home.

1:10:59 NOW they decide to question the reality of Santa Claus, after illustrating that he lives in outer-space and uses child labor to roofie kids to please them.

1:12:59 There’s still 20 minutes of this fucking thing left.

1:14:45 The devil’s whole plan amounts to turning three kids into assholes. That’s it. “Lucifer will be very pleased!”

1:15:29 The devil is going to stab Santa with scissors? Finally, the bloodlust I crave.

1:16:40 Nope. No stabbing. Instead he’s preventing Santa from making himself invisible. WORST DEVIL EVER.


Satan’s minion, a dog.

1:18:39 The devil is now using a dog to assault Santa. Right. Like Santa wouldn’t have a steak or bacon to appease the dog.

1:18:25 Oh wait. I guess the devil’s plan also includes making Santa look like a weirdo hiding in a tree.

1:22:57 If you’re poor, but obedient, you’ll still get what you want, sayeth the movie. DON’T YOU KNOW THAT’S HOW THE MAN KEEPS YOU DOWN?!?

1:28:34 Merlin saves the day… with a cat, representing the only time in human history cats have been useful.

1:30:14 I can’t stress enough how much this version of the devil is useless. A decent devil would have beaten Santa pretty easily.

1:33:14 A kids’ mom just acknowledged Santa by making the sign of the cross.

The end. It’s just about everything you’d expect from a movie about an outer-space Santa who teams up with Merlin to fight the devil.


Filed under Don't Watch It John!, Humor, Movies

12 responses to “Don’t Watch It, John! Santa Claus (1959)

  1. This looks like a very jolly movie!

  2. So is it better or worse than ‘Santa Claus Conquers the Martians’?

  3. aleksa

    I’ve only seen the MST-riffed version of this, but it left an impression.

  4. Holy crap, I have to watch this.

  5. According to IMDb, Raul Martinez Solares was also cinematographer on a movie called Den of Virgins, and another one called The Hippie Princess. I smell 2 more Don’t Watch It, John! columns coming.

  6. Pingback: A letter to Santa from his attorney « aliceatwonderland

  7. Pingback: Santa Claus (1959) | 35 mm

  8. Pingback: Letters to St Nick | aliceatwonderland

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