DISMEMBERCEMBER: Santa’s Christmas Elf Named Calvin (1971)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally posted on December 25, 2020.

Barry Mahon’s real-life story offers movie maniacs the kind of thrills that we breathlessly devour and share with one another. After volunteering for the British air force before America officially entered World War II, Mahon earned the British Distinguished Flying Cross and escaped from a concentration camp twice after being shot down, then became the personal pilot and manager of Errol Flynn before going into making his own movies.

And oh his movies.

Barry’s oeuvre is a madcap mix of ripped from the headlines fearmonger films like Rocket Attack U.S.A. and Cuban Rebel Girls along with horror like The Dead One and Sex Killer, then some nudie cuties like Fanny Hill Meets Dr. Erotico and The Diary of Knockers McCalla and finally, improbably, kids movies like The Wonderful Land of OzJack and the Beanstalk and the Thumbelina movie that is part of perhaps the most berserk holiday movie of all time, Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny. Oh yeah — and he also made Musical Mutiny, a movie that I have yet to come to grips with*.

I hesitate to even call this a movie because it was made with all the motion of, well, a slide show. Instead, it’s a series of still images with a narrator speaking every single part. It is the very epitome of low budget, with puppets and people shot in only the murkiest of lighting.

If you ever watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and wondered why everyone treated the hero so poorly — and why he would not only forgive them but blame himself for so much of their horrific and abusive behavior — then get ready. Calvin gets brutalized throughout this movie with even the narrator continually reminding us of how ugly he is.

*Some people, if given a time machine, would go back to meet famous people or kill Hitler. I would just go to Dania, Florida and spend the day at Pirates World.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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