ICFH 2022 Advent Calendar- Day 9
ICFH 2022 Advent Calendar- Day 9
There is nothing more American than a filmmaker who haphazardly just slaps together a "movie" to provide product for a specific audience. Cranking them out like sausages, many of these filmmakers were wise to the exploitation grind and then aimed their cameras at the kiddie matinee trade for a quick buck. Sometimes something wonderfully horrible was captured on celluloid to live on forever.
Warning: Spoiler Alert! If you are not drinking while watching this one, you are going to have a lousy time. Trust me! Reading about it won't spoil anything, watching it will.
ICFH 2022 Advent Calendar December 9- Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)
Our story begins with Santa Claus suffering in the hot Florida sun. He's stuck on the beach and the reindeer have all flown off for cooler environs. This is 1972 so he doesn't have a cell phone, but you would have thought there would have been a public telephone on the beach.
Drained from the sun, Santa falls asleep and telepathically puts out an SOS for a bunch of kids in the area for help. The kids are skateboarding, playing, wrestling and partaking in general 70's kid grab-assery. (One kid is seen jumping off an awning with a patio umbrella to slow his descent!)
When they feel the call to help they stop what they're doing and charge to the rescue. Immediately they realize they need to find something to pull Santa out of the sand. The first attempt is a man in a gorilla suit. Fail. Then a donkey, a pig, a sheep, a cow and finally a horse. I have no idea where these kids in Florida are finding all these damn animals, and I have no idea what they are doing with them after each attempt bombs.
From a raft, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn see the kids and come to shore to see what's happening. Yes, you read that correctly. From a raft, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn see the kids and come to shore to see what's happening.
Santa tells the kids a story to pick their spirits up, since they are a bunch of failures. It is a musical version of Jack and the Beanstalk that fills some running time. It inspires the kids to run and get the Ice Cream Bunny, who comes to the rescue in his vintage firetruck.
Hey, I'm just telling you what happens in the movie. I'm not making any of this up.
The Ice Cream Bunny and a bunch of latch-key kids drive through Pirate's World Amusement Park and then save Christmas.
Where do I start? This is so cheap and horrible and wonderful all at the same time. It doesn't appear to have been shot with sound, so characters say lines that were dubbed in later. (In fact, most times, when someone speaks, the camera is behind them to save the effort of having to post-sync lines properly.) Sometimes a narrator fills in the blanks.
Santa talking to the Ice Cream Bunny and the kids
Santa isn't fat, he's in better shape than I am. Flick depicts what children had to do in 1972 to stay occupied without Smart Phones and Internet Wi-Fi. The Ice Cream Bunny's costume is ghastly. (He looks like he should be on the side of the road, spinning an arrow sign directing people where they can find delicious sub sandwiches or affordable car insurance.)
The version I found on Tubi includes the Jack and the Beanstalk musical short (cut down from a longer version by Barry Mahon) while other versions include a cut version of Thumbalina, also by Mahon. (Mahon also provided the Tom and Huck footage from an abandoned project and made exploitation flicks like A Good Time with a Bad Girl (1967), Run Swinger Run (1967) and Sex Club International (1967).)
When it went out theatrically it ran an hour and thirty-six minutes. This version was only an hour and fourteen minutes. I cannot imagine how grueling the longer version must have been. (This is why kids from the 70's are tougher than kids today.)
Movies like this are the reason a person either loves Christmas or hates Christmas.
Don't be a dumbass like Santa. Keep your sleigh out of the sand!