Deadly Doll’s Choice: Hercules Saves Christmas (2011)

So it’s been a while since I've done a movie swap with Emily of The Deadly Doll’s House of Horror Nonsense. I’m not saying it was because the last film she picked for me was Step Up 2: The Streets, but I’m not saying it’s not. (Okay, it’s not. I've just been lazy about it.) That’s why I am very happy today that we have reignited the monthly film swap, and in keeping with The Deadly Doll’s theme this month, Animals Doing Human Things, we based our film picks around that idea. For her, I picked the animation classic Lenny the Wonder Dog.  So head over to The Deadly Doll’s House today to see if Emily thought it was a wonder after all. The film she chose for me was nothing like what I expected. When she first told me title Hercules Saves Christmas, visions of Steve Reeves popping down chimneys sprang into my mind. It then wandered to wondering about what it would look like if Lou Ferrigno ripped the Grinch in half. I mean, if he can do that to an iron chain, it wouldn't matter how many sizes too big or small that Grinch’s heart was, he’d be toast. Then I thought about Kevin Sorbo. That went on for a while and I don’t feel the need to get into specifics, but at long last I decided to look up the actual movie at hand.

Hercules Saves Christmas is a 2011 direct to video release featuring a dog I assume to be a pit bull mix, (This guess is strictly based on the pit bull rescue link on the official website. I am shit at identifying types of dogs.) coincidentally named Hercules, who is in charge of Santa’s naughty or Nice list. At first, the reaction I had was a clear one. How does a dog write out such a list? Because if dogs could write the world would be filled with graffiti that says, “Rex peed here.” all over everything, and who wants that? Well, it turns out that Hercules is no ordinary dog. He’s a part elf part dog. The less said about how such a thing could come to be is probably for the best, and the movie doesn't explore the territory so I guess that’s an origin story for another time. When Hercules discovers a marginal kid who just needs a nudge over to the good side of the list, Santa dispatches the Christmas Canine to pick up Max Moogle (Anthony Robinson), an orphan who has been in and out of foster homes who has an alliterative name because that’s what kids in these kind of films have.

Hercules takes Max back to the North Pole where he blows the kids mind with terrible, terrible green screens which lack an ounce of depth. I feel fairly sure that if I wanted to create the same effect that there is an app for that. So Max meets Santa and the gang of elves who come off like a gang of little people who just got done being bowled, touring with a hipster sideshow circus, or just trying to have that “Wee Man swagger“. In order to make Max a good kid he needs to do a good deed, and what better kind of good deed is there in the world than getting your fellow man laid. Ok, so maybe that’s not what they say explicitly, but that’s definitely where the whole thing heads. Max (and an invisible Hercules that only he can see and hear) are dispatched to help Rick Wilder (Danny Arroyo), a down on his luck unemployed guy who lacks joy or imagination or…you guessed it, the Spirit of Christmas! Getting the Spirit of Christmas also means hooking up with the receptionist at Rick’s new job, the comely Sally played by the impossibly named Maggie VandenBerghe.

Meanwhile, that infamous Christmas villain Mr. Roscoe… Never heard of Mr. Roscoe? I find that hard to believe you haven’t heard the legendary story, um, where, he ummm--Okay, so maybe I have no idea who Mr. Roscoe is, and, despite a mention of his involvement in the Steam Powered Zombie Polar Bear Uprising of 1967, I still really don’t know who he is. He’s the Anti-Claus for the purposes of Hercules Saves Christmas. With a slightly icy look and an ICP reject Anti-Elf by his side, actor Marc McClure, best known as Dave McFly in Back to the Future and Jimmy Olsen in the Chris Reeves Superman films, hams it up enough to become a film highlight. He is aided on Earth by Helen Dunn, a woman who didn’t get the job that Rick landed, played by Mackenzie Phillips. Her main job in the film is to act like a batshit crazy lady, and I’ll just suffice it to say that it’s a role she was born to play. To see these two go through the machinations of stealing an invisible collar off an invisible dog is not worth watching the film, but almost.

So what you’ve got is Santa, a talking dog whose mouth does not move when he talks, a gaggle of questionable elves, an It’s a Wonderful Life type plot spun a couple of ways, an orphan, a love story, a bad guy no one has ever heard of, and Mackenzie Phillips acting like she was still on drugs. By this time, you may have noticed that there has been no real breakdown of Hercules Saves Christmas as I usually do. There’s a good reason for that. The ludicrous plot made me chuckle more than a handful of times, but at the end of the day, it’s not a film aimed at a thirty six year old man as a target audience. I’m split on if modern kids of the four to six set would watch this one or not. It seems a bit on the hokey side even for even them, but the Oogieloves is a thing that exists so what do I know. The driving force behind this film, Luigi Francis Shorty Rossi (who is a little person himself and probably not look kindly on my generalizations on the elf population in Hercules Saves Christmas) has his heart in the right place, and if kids are getting entertainment out of it, well, I joined them a little bit. And I mean a little bit.

However, I did prattle on for over a thousand words on the topic of Hercules Saves Christmas, and that says something about the film in and of itself. I sometimes give Emily a hard time about the films that The Deadly Doll chooses for me to watch, but I have to say that not a single time have I been at a loss for a response in one way or another. I always enjoy these swaps, and I can’t wait for next month to see what horrific pick (literally this time) Emily will have in store for me this October. Until then, remember if a dog whose mouth doesn’t move is talking to you, it could either be Santa’s magical dog-elf or it could be that you’re the Son of Son of Sam. So, watch out for that because that’s kind of a wide toss up.

Bugg Rating

1 comment:

  1. (claps hands) Hercules Hercules!

    I'm keeping it on my queue and digging in (get it?) come December. It sounds delightful.


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