Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mexcan* (for Mexican*)

Cultural diversity can go a long way toward illuminating the differences in Christmas celebrations around the world, but honestly, nothing can really explain the wonderfully egregious 1959 holiday fare from south of the border simply called Santa Claus. There are other bad Christmas movies (I suppose we all have our favorites), but take it from me (or from most of the many commenters on IMDb), none of them even comes close to this utterly bizarre little gem by Cuban director René Cardona, who also brought the world Night of the Bloody Apes ten years later. He's like the Mexican Ed Wood and then some. Not everyone hates this film, however. As one viewer put it on Amazon: "Rene Cardona's brilliantly flawed surreal masterpiece is like a Ken Russell Christmas fable." The twisted plot, such as it is, involves a little girl named Lupita, who's determined to be good, despite the festive efforts of a fey (not to say gay) version of the Devil known as "Pitch." Santa is a de rigueur white guy, but he's pretty scary as well. Check out this "Santa Claus" if you get a chance. You really gotta see it to believe it. There were two cases of Mexcan* (for Mexican*) in OhioLINK today, and 32 in WorldCat.

(Marquee poster for Santa Claus, courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

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