The 1964 holiday film Santa Claus Conquers The Martians has the distinction of constantly being named one of the worst films ever made. It also contains the acting debut of Pia Zadora, although that may be unrelated to its critical status. Instead this film was all about bringing "freedom" to poor Martian children who have been brainwashed by machines. Of course, Neo can't rescue them — only Santa Claus could bring that kind of liberation. How does this film stack up to The Matrix? Let us count the ways.
- Kids on Mars are educated, instructed, and raised by machines. People living in the Matrix are educated, instructed, and raised by machines... plus, the Matrix also feeds them. Winner: The Matrix.
- When you're raised in the Matrix, you end up with unsightly computer interface portals all over your body. When you're raised on Mars, you end up with green skin and antennas. Winner: The Martians.
- On Mars, your 800-year-old Martian sage Chochem declares that Martian children are becoming distracted due to the rigors of Martian society and their machine education. In the Matrix, bald-headed sage Morpheus shows Neo how humans are slaves due to the rigors of the Matrix society and their machine education. However, their machines also enslave them as human batteries. Winner: The Matrix.
- Chochem says that Mars needs a figure like Santa Claus on Earth in order to set the Martian children free, so the leaders of the planet decide to kidnap him. In the Matrix, Morpheus needs a figure like Neo to free the humans from enslavement, so they kidnap Neo. Virtually. Winner: The Martians.
- When Martians invade Santa's workshop on Earth, the mean-looking elves bust out baseball bats and start swinging wildly. When Smith comes after Neo, they stick a sentient tracking bug in his belly button. Winner: The Martians. You can't trump an angry elf with a bat.
- Santa Claus decides that Martian children needs toys and "fun" to free their minds, so he decides to have the Martian tots build a toy factory on Mars. Talk about your slave labor. In the Matrix, Morpheus has to get Neo to choke down a huge red pill in order to free his mind. Give of toys over medicine any day. Winner: The Martians.
- Evil Voldar constantly tries to foil Santa's plans by murdering him, although his comic appearance and oversized mustache don't inspire much fear. Meanwhile, Agent Smith in the Matrix has a grinning evil countenance and awesome angular sunglasses. Winner: The Matrix.
- The Agents in the Matrix carry Desert Eagle guns that fire .50 caliber bullets, and the baddies in Santa Claus Conquers The Martians wield painted Wham-o Air Blasters. For sheer deadliness, you'd have to go with the Desert Eagle, but those painted toys actually look fairly cool. Winner: The Martians.
- One of the Martians who seems to be mentally deranged puts on Santa's spare suit (always travel with more than one, Santa?) and starts acting like the jolly fat man. Later, the evil Martians kidnap him, thinking he's the real deal. In the Matrix, Agent Smith hops into the body of Bane, and is able to ride him over into the real world. This means he looks like Bane on the outside, but is Agent Smith on the inside. Winner: The Matrix.
- Voldar decides to fuck with Santa's toy factory by wonking up the machinery, meaning baby dolls get teddy bear heads, and vice versa. It's mass hysteria! Agent Smith decides to fuck with Neo and his pals by killing everyone on Earth and turning them into clones of Smith. Winner: The Matrix.
- With the help of the Martian children, Santa Claus eventually overcomes Voldar and his bad guys, and the leaders decide to make the Martian in Santa's suit the Martian Santa Claus, and return Santa safely to Earth in time for Christmas. In the Matrix, Neo meets with The Architect (who looks a bit like Santa Claus) and discovers that he's tried to save mankind many times before. He cuts a deal with the machine city and sacrifices himself in order to stop Agent Smith and save mankind, and dies in a crucifixion ripoff scene. Winner: The Martians. Mainly because that last Matrix movie sucked.
- You'll have to lay out some cash, or spend hours downloading in order to see The Matrix, but you can watch Santa Claus Conquers The Martians right here for free. Game, set, match: The Martians. You just don't see this kind of cheese anymore.