The Rifftrax team (Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy) presented a one-night-only “double feature” on Thursday night, featuring encore performances of two of their holiday-themed live events.
The first, a live riffing of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) from 2013, is an odd little movie from the “drop-the-kids-off-at-the-theatre-so-Mom-and-Dad-can-do-the-Christmas-shopping” genre of films, one which appears to be yet another casualty of the digital age, for better or worse. If you’ve somehow missed it, the leaders of Mars realize that their children are depressed and listless because they never have any fun. They decide to remedy this by heading to Earth and kidnapping Santa Claus. This they do, along with a couple of Earth kids, Billy & Betty. Naturally, wacky hi-jinks ensue, as how could they not? It’s probably best remembered for a young Pia Zadora, who plays one of the Martian children.
Next was the Christmas Shorts-stravaganza, a selection of eight short films interspersed with some vintage toy commercials. Most of the shorts, understandably, were holiday-themed, though there were a couple of odd ones out (including a swimming event in Beverly Hills and a paean to New England pork). This is an interesting event for Rifftrax fans because A) it was only their second live event, and B) “Weird Al” Yankovic was a special guest during the pork segment. It was originally presented during the 2009 holiday season.
The evening wasn’t entirely devoid of new materials: there were some brief “bookend” segments featuring the team sharing old holiday photos and engaging in slapstick. Not enough to justify the price of admission by themselves, but at least a nice bonus for longtime fans who had seen the other events before.
Overall, it was a good evening: the double feature did compensate for the dearth of new material, as seeing the show with friends is a social event in itself. For those who missed the evening, the two features are both available from Rifftrax in either digital or physical formats.
(Kelly Luck totally wants one of those Martian outfits for the next time she goes scuba diving. Her other SciFi4Me work can be read here.)