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Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - SANTA WITH MUSCLES

santa with muscles review
Hulk Hogan in a Christmas turkey.


Review by Mike Vaughn

Directed by: John Murlowski

Starring: Hulk Hogan, Don Stark, Ed Begley Jr, Mila Kunis, Clint Howard, Garrett Morris

santa with muscles bluray



Ever wanted to know what it would be like if a muscle-bound jerk suffered severe head trauma then ended up believing he was Santa and helped save a orphanage? No? Me neither. But like it or not, that’s what we get with this weird late '90s film.

Before Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson proved a wrestler could turn into an A-list actor, Hulk Hogan did it…sort of. Hulk-a-mania was everywhere in the late '80s throughout the '90s and somehow Hogan headlined a few movies, with…um, mixed results.

santa with muscles review

Santa with Muscles (1996) tells the story of a rich workout guru who randomly decides to go on a weird, paintball police chase. Seriously, it's not clear why he does this. Anyways, while avoiding the police he bangs his head and forgets who he is, thinking he is none other than jolly Saint Nick. Now this once Scrooge-like character must help some orphans fight an evil millionaire and his comic book style henchman and henchwoman.

[ READ MORE: Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - The Amy Fisher Story ]

“Don’t ask too many questions, it only causes trouble.” A line uttered by a character that perfectly sums up a film that doesn’t so much have plot holes as plot caverns. Santa with Muscles feels like a very bad and predictable sitcom mixed with an over-the-top cartoon. Nothing really makes sense plot wise and the one liners and dialogue are utterly bad, even for this kind of fare. And of course, everybody is over acting and never plays anything remotely human.

santa with muscles review

Speaking of, Hogan mumbles through a very uncomfortable performance, which clearly was just a pay cheque. He feels ill at ease in the role and that very much translates to the scenes he’s in. Shockingly, the rest of the cast is made up of respectable actors, who, as you might expect are woefully wasted. This includes Ed Begley Jr, a pint-sized Mila Kunis, who was 13 at the time, as well as former SNL alum Garrett Morris. You also have to love the cameo by cult icon Clint Howard.

[ READ MORE: Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - Charlie's Angels ]

The filmmakers double down on the corn ball while also leaning heavily in on its goofy and pretty generic plot. What baffles me the most is probably just how devoid it is of any Holiday fun and cheer, which might have helped smooth over its strange and stilted plot. It also ‘wrestles’ with this awkward message that fighting is bad, except when it's not. But of course, the writer and director seem uninterested in any kind of depth.

I can't imagine a movie like this even sounded good on paper, let alone a studio forking out money for it. When you build a movie around a gimmick like a wrestler as Santa it's not surprising that you get a giant mess like Santa with Muscles.

santa with muscles review

Never heard of this movie? That’s because it was a major flop, which isn’t shocking seeing how this was made by the same director as Amityville: The Next Generation (1993), by far one of the worst of the Amityville sequels.

Mill Creek Entertainment rolls this one out for those who want to suffer through it for the Holidays. No extras but honestly, I think anyone connected with this film wants to forget it happened.

All naughty no nice in this lame Christmas mess.

One star, and that’s because Clint Howard was in it.

Santa with Muscles is on blu-ray now from Mill Creek Entertainment.





Michael Vaughn is a rabid horror and cult fan who turned that love into a career. He is a writer, blogger and film historian and now author of 'The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema' which Shock Wave Podcast named their pick of the month, and Chris Alexander of Fangoria called “recommended reading.”


His other credits include Scream Magazine, Fangoria and websites like Films in Review and Bloody Flicks(UK). Please follow his Twitter @StrangeCinema65 and Instagram @gorehound_mike.




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