City Paper staffers and readers pick some of their favorite bad holiday movies | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

City Paper staffers and readers pick some of their favorite bad holiday movies

They will make you laugh and provide a safe outlet for releasing any seasonal rage

Nothing takes the edge off being overwhelmed by all the fellow-feeling and cheery bell-ringing of December than indulging in a dreadful holiday movie. It will make you laugh and provide a safe outlet for releasing any seasonal rage. We polled staffers and readers, who weighed in with some of their favorites.

Santa's Slay. If you've never seen Santa kill someone with a stripper pole, then this is the movie for you! It's not Xmas without this naughty black comedy filled with B-list celeb cameos and curling! Ho ho ho! (Leanne Schraeder, Penn Hills, PA)

Holidays on Mars No. 1

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. EVERYTHING about this movie is bad! Low rent, low budget, half-assed writing. We had better scenery hanging in my high school plays. The exception is a rocking opening/closing song, "Hooray for Santy Claus!" You'll be humming it for the rest of the holiday season and beyond. Look for the DVD in dollar-store bins everywhere. (Maureen Kowalski, Brighton Heights)

Fred Claus Santa has a brother and he's an asshole. Well, he's Vince Vaughn, which is kind of the same thing. Predictable, tired and not very funny, this 2007 film is just plain bad, even after you add in a cast that includes Paul Giamatti and Kevin Spacey, and the "all-Christmas-movies-have-a-little-bit-of-charm-so-they-can't-be-all-bad" bonus points. (Charlie Deitch)

Mixed Nuts. A bunch of soon-to-be-unemployed suicide counselors, a cross-dresser, a ukulele-player and a fugitive hopped up on animal tranquilizers and dressed as Santa Claus may sound like your own family party. Steve Martin leads the cast of lovable misfits through eviction, murder, a stuck elevator and a pregnant woman with a gun. And if you require a feel-good holiday message: "Just remember that in every pothole, there is hope ... if you ... rearrange the letters." (Lauren Daley-Maurer, Rochester, N.Y.)

Christmas Carol Mess No. 1

Ebenezer. Canadian TV production sets up Scrooge (a terrifying Jack Palance) as a saloon-owner and card cheat in the Old West. Ridiculous subplot involving a myopic young cowpoke (a dreadful Ricky Schroder) supplies the Christmas high-noon shoot-out that Dickens left out. Ghost of Christmas Past is an Indian maid who spews anachronistic New Age-y howlers like "your life is a door you choose to go through." (Al Hoff)

Ernest Saves Christmas. In 1988, there was one celebrity who appealed to both suburban kids and redneck adults: Jim Varney, or, more accurately, his alter ego, Ernest P. Worrell. When this film premiered in November of that year, I saw it with my friend and her Skoal-chewin' father. The three of us didn't just chuckle at the dimwitted man-child's holiday exploits — we damn near hyperventilated (especially when ol' Ernest takes the reins of Santa's sleigh)! Of course, my buddy and I were 9 and her dad spent most of his time alone in the wilderness, but the laughter was genuine. Knowhutimean? (Kristy Locklin, Ross Township)

Holidays on Mars No. 2

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Who can't love a sci-fi movie with an 800-year-old Yiddish sage advising Martians to abduct Santa Claus to save their race? Routinely named one of the worst movies ever, this film is a must-see on our holiday list of activities. Hooray for Santy Claus! (Sue Kerr, North Side)

Santa With Muscles. This 1996 film, starring pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, is the absolute worst Xmas movie of all time. Hogan is an evil millionaire who gets amnesia and believes he is Santa Claus. He ends up fighting an evil scientist (played by Ed Begley Jr.) who is trying to take over an orphanage to get the magical crystals underneath it. In the end, the crystals cause massive explosions, Hulk Hogan saves the day, and it has little to do with the holidays outside of the Santa Claus moniker. It is as bad as it sounds. (Shane P. Hallam, Castle Shannon)

Christmas Carol Mess No. 2

An All Dogs Christmas Carol. Topping Ebenezer for bizarre extraneous plots, the main narrative of this animated film involves stopping a winged dog from employing a huge whistle that turns pooches' eyes green and makes them steal presents. Somewhere is this muddle of songs, pink angles and homeless dogs that hang out at a bar, one tough old boxer dog gets the requisite three ghosts and learns to be kind. (AH)

All I Want for Christmas. Elizabeth is a miserable, self-centered workaholic who doesn't realize that nearly everyone in her life hates her ... until an elf gives her an ugly Christmas pin that gives her the ability to read everyone's minds! Will hearing what people really think change her attitude, give her the Christmas spirit and help her land a man? If you too are wearing a magical Christmas pin, you already know what I'm thinking: Has any single woman ever not found a man at the end of a made-for-TV movie? (Lisa Cunningham)

Christmas Carol Mess No. 3

A Diva's Christmas Carol. In 2000, VH-1 took a stab at the Dickens classic, updating the banker Ebenezer to a miserly pop diva, Ebony, played flatly by Vanessa Williams, who is quite unbelievable at simply recreating herself. And Ebony's transformation to charity isn't very convincing: Christmas morning, she's on the cell phone demanding Wolfgang Puck make 100 turkey dinners now, and she gives her beleaguered band free tickets to her show that evening. Whoopee. (AH)

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