Comedy Oddities: Santa Claws

santa claws indexA low budget Christmas movie produced by the schlock merchants The Asylum who are best known for the Sharknado movies, I very much doubt this will appeal to the film’s young target audience as even a toddler would notice this is dodgy fare and the talking cats it features often say nonsensical rubbish. But if you’re fond of really bad movies that are easy to mock than it’ll be something you’ll be mightily fond of, as there’s so much here that can be ripped in to and torn apart with glee.

It begins thirty year ago with two fat shaming cats who mock poor old Santa as he arrives to deliver presents. In this world Santa is allergic to cats and so when one of them leaps all over him he falls over, sneezes a sod load and wakes up young Julia and her next door neighbour Marcus. Then it leaps thirty years in to the future, and Julia (Nicola Lambo) is a pissy single mom who hates Christmas, and won’t let her son Tommy (Ezra James Colbert) celebrate it in any way, while Marcus (Evan Boymel) still lives next door and I’m not convinced isn’t a serial killer due to the cold dead eyes and creepy manner of the actor who plays him.

Despite seemingly hating kittens Julia has three of them, along with the mother cat, and these kittens are sassy types who are fed up with Julia’s anti-Christmas stance, complaining “Here comes another sermon, I’m out of here”, and though her son Tommy is only ten years old she keeps on telling him he must be self sufficient and not rely on others, something that any child that young would of course love to hear. Naturally he ignores his mother, which leads to the kittens causing (very, very minor) chaos and Julia decides that they have to give the kittens away, and so Tommy decides to put them in an airtight box and give them to Santa (John P. Fowler), if they don’t run out of oxygen and die before he arrives at least.

When Santa comes a visiting once again fortunately they are still with us, but he has an allergic reaction to one of the kittens, and how he’s survived the last thirty years without waking up millions of people due to his loud sneezing upon seeing a cat is never quite answered. Santa ends up falling off a roof and is knocked unconscious, and so it’s up to the kittens to deliver the rest of the presents for him, which luckily for them they manage with ease as the sleigh has an onboard computer which tells them what to do, and the two reindeers are fairly helpful too, though why they sound like nineties stoners is one of the thousands of mysteries which are sadly left unanswered by the end of the credits.

Because this is a low budget affair we only see them deliver to about five people, and most of the time they screw up and damage Christmas trees or get captured by a kid and made to wear skirts. Well, okay, the latter only happens once but it’s such an outlandish scene that it made me laugh hard, especially when one of the kittens begs for death afterwards. There’s also a subplot where Tommy somehow drags Santa in the house, presumably after injecting steroids or sniffing an illicit substance as I can’t explain his sudden bout of strength in any other way, and when Julia finally notices Santa she understandably freaks out, but he wins her round and the ending isn’t exactly the most distressing you’ll ever see.

I’m not convinced that they didn’t just film the kittens fucking about in various locations and then wrote the script around their antics, most of the time you don’t actually see their mouths move when they speak and the voice over is just chucked in over the top of the action. The dialogue is often sublimely ridiculous as well, with the kittens sometimes being world weary and cynical and saying things like “I picked one hell of a week to quit coughing up hairballs” while another complains “I never got to say goodbye to the litter box”, and there’s more fat shaming as one of the kittens comments “This guy needs to lay off the cookies” when he sees Santa.

Sometimes the dialogue is just plain absurd too, when Tommy reads the kittens a bedtime story one kitten comments “I want to eat that book”, while it’s suggested that another is so frightened by everything that even “A litter box gives you the creeps”, though that’s not consistent with any of the other scenes with him in it. There’s also a couple of highly unconvincing action scenes too, one where a Christmas tree branch is used as a catapult is hilariously naff, while another which contains speeded up footage of the cats delivering presents suggests that they’d all but run out of cgi budget by that point.

Next door neighbour Marcus gets a minor subplot which involves him pretending to be a mouse at one point in the hope of capturing the mother cat, which is why he’s forced to deliver the line “Can’t you smell my goody mouse-ness”, and he’s such a weird, unsettling character that the happy ending he gets makes me fear for Tommy and Julia, and I can only presume we didn’t get a sequel to this as he’s currently wearing their skin. And though the (oddly balding) guy playing Santa is okay he’s a surly sod a lot of the time too, and this is the most unlikeable Santa I’ve ever witnessed.

This really is terrible nonsense then, but it is terrible nonsense I enjoyed a good deal. The kittens are shockingly cute and adorable, the dialogue they’re given all kinds of silly and daft, and though the plot is a weak one and the acting from many of the adults quite questionable, it’s enormous fun to mock. A film which definitely should never be watched sober, even by children, if you’re in the mood to celebrate Christmas with friends while delivering withering put downs about a film this is a great one to do it too.

Watched when sober: ★
Watched when drunk: ★★★★

Alex Finch.
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