Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is a 1964 film shot in an abandoned aircraft hangar in Long Island on an estimated budget of less than $200,000. It is a staple of the Internet Movie Database’s infamous Bottom 100 List, as well as a number of other “worst of” film lists. In spite of its terrible script, awful effects, dreadful costuming (or “custuming”, as the credits would have it), and laughable makeup, it holds a certain charm. The catchy theme song will get into your head and remain there like a parasitic infection.
Most of the actors were pulled from the Broadway stage. Bill McCutchen, who plays the comical Dropo, went on to become a respected thespian, winning multiple Emmy and Tony awards. He played the character of Uncle Wally on Sesame Street for four seasons, and even had a role in the film Steel Magnolias. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians also features an 8 year old Pia Zadora, a bad actress best known for growing up to marry a man who’d buy her a Golden Globe award.
Just in case you haven’t seen the movie.
But a Roleplaying Game Setting?
When you start to pull individual elements apart, there are a lot of unanswered questions, and that’s where the potential to do some world building and tell some additional stories lies. Hey, you can play elves and Martians! That 800 year-old wizard-look Martian wise man, Chochem, begs a lot of questions about Martian history and the possibility of magic on Mars. The U.S. sent rockets after the Martian ship, and who knows what impact first contact with the red planet will have on the space race with the Soviets?
Coming Soon from Asparagus Jumpsuit
Yes, we’re really doing it. Right now we’re putting the finish touches on Santa Claus Conquers the Martians: The Official Series Bible. A systemless setting, filled with player character ideas and plot hooks. The central conceit is that the film was actually wildly popular, and spawned a spin-off television series that gained a Star Trek-like cult following. This setting presumes to be the RPG based on the fictional TV show based on the movie.