The holidays are upon us, so why not spend Christmas Day watching a bad movie at your house with RiffTrax instead of going to the movies to see something just as bad? RiffTrax does an amazing job of finding long forgotten gems for the holiday season and turning them into a thoroughly pleasant and hilarious experience. Let’s go through them.
Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny
Filmed at the legendary Pirates World amusement park in the ’70s, the titular characters appear only in the poorly executed framing device where Santa Claus is stuck on the beach and recruits local children to help him get back to the North Pole. Once they fail in spectacular fashion (they actually bring a man in a gorilla suit to the beach and somehow thought that way be helpful), Santa tells the children the story of Thumbelina to motivate them to TRY HARDER, DAMN YOU! Then the Ice Cream Bunny comes and… well, words simply can’t do it justice. Get the riff, watch it and be prepared to have your lives changed forever. This movie was also featured at RiffTrax Live in December 2015.
The Star Wars Holiday Special
This entry is unique because of the circumstances surrounding the move itself and how RiffTrax pulled it off. The Star Wars Holiday Special has only existed as a VHS recording for 30 years as the actual original tapes of the show may not exist anymore. Most people have only seen it with the commercials that were broadcast with it from the local Baltimore television station, making them part of the legacy. Mike, Kevin and Bill do an excellent job riffing on the special particularly given that it is hard to find and they (until recently) could not legally distribute it. Syncing the old file with a pirated version was a bit tricky, but now with the synced version, we don’t have to worry about that.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
This one is really awesome because it was only the second entry from Mystery Science Theater 3000 to be riffed again by RiffTrax. They brought a lot of new stuff to the movie making it fresh and enjoyable to those who had already seen the MST3K version.
RiffTrax Live: Christmas Shorts-Stravaganza
The second RiffTrax Live show after Plan 9 from Outer Space. At this point in RiffTrax’s history, they were still experimenting with just what not only the riffs could be but also what to do with the live shows. Until the MST3K Revival Show earlier this year, this was the only live show not featuring an actual movie, but instead a collection of short films, educational and otherwise. Weird Al Yankovic shows up in what is probably the funniest, most exciting guest appearance.
Santa’s Village of Madness
This feature is basically just three shorts put together. The director of this insanity, a man named K. Gordon Murray, reused footage from the MST3K standard Santa Claus (which they would also later re-riff) to pad all the shorts, and combined it with characters from another one of his films, Little Red Riding Hood and the Monsters. The result is utter, incomprehensible madness. Hell, the Ice Cream Bunny even shows up somehow! Apparently, he can bend time and space to his will to get into a movie that was released 15 years before he was even conceived.
I Believe in Santa Claus
This riff closed out what was probably the best year RiffTrax has had in its history in terms of film selection, live shows, and pure, unbridled creativity. This French offering, which has been dubbed into English, features young children who get abandoned on a field trip to the airport and somehow wind up somewhere in Europe to meet up with Santa in his Unabomber-style cabin. There are also those longtime Christmas staples, fairies, and African warlords. Can you feel the Christmas spirit? CAN YOU?!
Magic Christmas Tree
Long before TBS murdered what was once a charming movie about a kid wanting a rifle for Christmas and shooting his eye out by playing with it nonstop for a month every year for three decades, the Magic Christmas Tree owned the trope of a little douchebag wrecking the holiday season with his selfishness. The movie also has severe attention deficit disorder, as the viewer is repeatedly and jarringly catapulted into new storylines with absolutely no warning. It can be frustrating to watch, but Mike, Kevin, and Bill are the anchor for your sanity.
Santa Claus is another MST3K movie that was later riffed at a RiffTrax Live show. This one actually wants you to feel as much emotional pain as possible. Christmas? Cheery? I call balderdash, sir! Christmas is about unending human sadness and desperation. Oh, and the devil. Gotta have the great deceiver, that wacky ol’ fallen angel who actively works to send all humankind into eternal damnation. That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. Just like those that came before, Mike, Kevin, and Bill bring a freshness to the movie, making it a distinct experience from the MST3K version.