So Bad, It’s Good: Hulk Hogan in SANTA WITH MUSCLES
Adding to Scotty’s previous point in SBIG: Jingle All the Way about action movie stars and family friendly comedies, particularly holiday-themed comedies, I submit to you an equally desperate sub-class of Hollywood cash grabbing: wrestlers appearing in movies, particularly as violent heroes (or anti-heroes) with a heart of gold. While almost every superstar who’s banked enough momentum in their pro-wrestling career today gets a shot at the silver screen, thanks WWE’s studio division, there’s one man that turned it into a Hollywood trend: Hulk Hogan.
Hogan’s first feature, No Holds Barred, may have been panned by critics in 1989 but that didn’t stop his 24 inch Pythons from appearing in a string of bad films and TV movies during the 90s, ending with his last leading role in SANTA WITH MUSCLES. Although the movie wasn’t enough to squelch Hogan’s entire Hollywood career, it would definitely diminish it – eventually winding up on IMDb’s Bottom 100 list as the worst movie of all time. Ouch.
For starry-eyed wrestling nostalgists like myself, however, Santa with Muscles is a time capsule of cheesy 90s slapstick, bad acting, thin plot lines and cheap production values all rolled into one agreeably awful – yet somewhat still entertaining – stink pile of Christmas mayhem. In the film, Hogan stars as Blake Thorne, some sort of beefed out Richard Branson type millionaire with a bad attitude, who somehow finds himself on the wrong side of the law for reckless driving. To hide from the police, Blake hides out in a local mall and disguises himself in a Santa suit.
But wait! Blake (still in Santa suit) gets bonked on the head giving him amnesia and he decides to randomly help out a struggling orphanage as Santa (with muscles). As it turns out, the orphanage is being terrorized by the evil Ebner Frost (Ed Begley, Jr.) and his trio of weird, supervillain-eqsue scientists. Things only get more bizarre from there as Blake gets a new Santa “superhero” costume, the kids at the orphanage reveal there’s a crystal-filled cavern in the basement and Santa punches a lot of people.
Remember the “worse atrocities that have been released onto the film-going public in the name of quick cash” that Scotty mentioned in his Jingle All the Way review? This is one of those atrocities. Still, that doesn’t stop me from revisiting it every year before I move on to the “good stuff” like Ernest Saves Christmas, Home Alone and Elf (yeah, I said it). Plus, it’s got Hulk Hogan in a Santa Claus suit… that’s got to count for something right?
Speaking of bad Christmas movies starring former pro-wrestlers as Santa, I thought it’d be fun to pit Hogan’s Santa against Bill Goldberg from Santa’s Slay. Now there’s a Main Event! My money’s on Hogan getting an icicle to the eye socket. Who do you think would win?