Friday, December 16, 2011

Santa With Muscles

By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter

Last year my friends and I started a tradition of trying to watch as many Christmas themed movies as possible during December. Unlike most normal people, we don’t seek out the good movies such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone, or Die Hard to watch. Instead we try to find mediocre or bad Christmas films. Why? They are just more entertaining to watch with a group of people and they test one’s patience. Last year the “winner” of the best of the movies was the Ben Affleck classic Surviving Christmas. In case you don’t remember, Surviving Christmas was released right before Halloween so it would be on home video in time for Christmas. I can imagine people standing in line at the theatre talking amongst themselves, “Do we want to see Saw 4, Halloween 2, Trick R Treat or Surviving Christmas?” I bet some marketing genius lost his job that year.

This year started off with a bang. The first film we watched was The Dog Who Saved Christmas. It’s basically a retelling of Home Alone starring Kevin James’ older brother and a dog voiced by Mario Lopez. I’ll wait while you let that set into your consciousness. The dog may have saved Christmas, but there was no way he was saving this movie. When the credits rolled there was a collective agreement no movie could be worse than the one we just watched. Oh how could we have been so na├»ve? There was something out there worse and we managed to find it.

One of the films we sought out last year was the 1996 Hulk Hogan Christmas themed, Santa With Muscles.  We scoured all the used DVD/VHS bins around Los Angeles along with Amazon, Ebay and other online retailers we found nothing. There was no trace this movie existed. After some online research it was discovered the movie was never released on home video in the United States. It was however released in Canada. This year, I called in some favors from contacts north of the boarder and ended up with bootleg DVD from a VHS transfer.  With DVD in hand, my friends and I gathered to view this holy grail of Christmas schlock.

While I expected the movie to be bad, I didn’t expect it to be THAT bad. If you look past Hulk Hogan the movie boasted a cast of Saturday Night Live alumni and current Two Broke Girls supporting cast member Garrett Morris. Adam Wylie who was superb on Picket Fences. Clint Howard who makes most D-level movies at least C+ level. Ed Begley Jr. played the bad guy. As well as future That 70s Show co-stars Don Stark and Mila Kunis. How could a movie with this much star power be so bad? Well I guess New Year’s Eve proves again that stars are only as bright as the material they’re given.

A recap of the plot won’t even do justice to the atrocity of Santa With Muscles. Here’s the trailer. If you manage to make it all the way through, the full movie is on YouTube. 

I honestly don’t know why this movie was made. Who read the script and thought it was good? Who had the money lying around and thought this would be a good investment?  Why does Hulk Hogan think he can carry a movie? I love bad movies. In fact, my DVD collection has more guilty pleasure movies than actual good movies. But Santa With Muscles is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I would rather do a 6 hour marathon of The Dog Who Saved Christmas, The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation and The Dog Who Saved Halloween than try and sit through 10 minutes of Santa With Muscles again.

The movie came out in 1996 about five months after Hulk Hogan joined the nWo. I think releasing this abomination of celluloid on the unsuspecting public was the most heelish event in the course of Hulk’s career. If Eric Bischoff really wanted to make people boo the Hulkster, all he had to do was promote this movie as much as WWE promotes most of their DVD movies.

I hope you’re on Santa’s “nice” list this year. Otherwise you may wake up Christmas day and find a copy of Santa With Muscles in your stocking.

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