Santa with Muscles (1996) (part 3 of 11)

Meanwhile, back in Lakeville, the Hulkster is making his way through the bowels of the mall, cruising through those unpainted corridors behind all the stores. In a deserted corner, he just happens upon a clothing rack holding elf costumes and a Santa suit. What luck!

Hulk grabs the Santa suit and hides in a supply closet, just as Clint Howard and another deputy show up on the scene. They walk right past, and a split-second later, Hulk emerges to blaring Christmas-y music, now dressed as Santa Claus. And he’s got muscles!

Santa with Muscles (1996) (part 3 of 11)

He knows when you’ve been sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. And if you’re watching this movie, odds are it’s the former.

Hulk turns and the deputies are like, right there in his face. They question “Santa” about seeing a nutcase in fatigues run past, but Hulk just plays along and says he didn’t see anything. Having skillfully pulled one over on these exceedingly clever deputies, Hulk turns and walks off. Unfortunately, he comes face to face with a redheaded kid and his dad.

The kid is overjoyed to see Santa, and a comic “bit” is made of him unfurling a huge list of the things he wants for Christmas. One of the items on the list is a “Hulk Hogan doll”, yuk yuk. Of course, the really comic part is I have no idea what this kid and his dad are doing wandering the bowels of the mall in the first place. Hey, kid? You see that sign that says “Employees Only”? That’s not just a suggestion.

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Happily, Hulk just grumbles, “Fax me, you little brat,” and shoves the dad out of his way. Alas, the deputies quickly spot the desert fatigues hanging out of Hulk’s back pocket [!]. Hmm, can anyone see the flaw in this disguise? Well, the predictable foot chase follows, but eventually the deputies completely lose Hulk.

Santa with Muscles (1996) (part 3 of 11)

All I want for Christmas are these 97 minutes of my life back.

Clint and Other Deputy argue with each other about how he got away, both oblivious to the white-gloved hands poking out of a nearby trash chute. Yes, it’s the Hulkster, hanging on inside the chute. It’s his bad luck, however, because a janitor on a higher floor is dumping out trash, and all of it hits Hulk in the head. It’s his good luck (and ours), however, that there’s no really gross, wet trash in there.

Clint Howard makes a pun about Hulk getting away with “Santa Fraud” before the two deputies take off. Hey now! I came up with “Santa Fraud” long before you. Well, several years after you, but close enough. After the two deputies are gone, we see the janitor dump a heavy ceramic bust of Santa Claus [??] down the trash chute. Hmm. Can anybody see where this is going?

Sure enough, the ceramic bust clocks Hulk in the head, which sends him bouncing down the trash chute in a shot that I take an unhealthy amount of pleasure in watching. He lands at the bottom, revealing the chute doesn’t empty into an actual dumpster or anything, but rather directly onto the hard concrete floor. Weird.

Santa with Muscles (1996) (part 3 of 11)

Look! It’s an a-hole in a hole!

As soon as Hulk lands, Lenny the Elf just happens to be sitting right there. Well, what a small world, huh? Lenny tch-tch’s and says, “Another drunk mall Santa! Well… you’ll do!” He grabs Hulk’s ankles and tries to drag Santa away, making the expected “comic” grunts and groans because Hulk’s physique is apparently constructed of some superdense material that Lenny can’t budge an inch.

So instead, he rifles through Hulk’s clothes and discovers his wallet. Lenny’s beside himself with all the cash he finds inside. Wow! Union scale doesn’t pay nearly this well! Lenny also grabs Hulk’s camouflage fatigues so he can produce them later on for an “important” plot point.

Lenny’s ecstatic, because now he can pay off Ebner Frost, and he calls Hulk the “answer to my praaayahs!” He soon takes a gander at Hulk’s driver’s license. Thankfully, Lenny’s talking to himself, so we know that he recognizes “Blake Thorne” as the “richest man in ten states!” Say what? Which ten states? Because I might be the richest man in ten states, too, depending on which states we’re talking about.

Lenny then does the Myposian Dance of Joy as he declares that he’s “rich!” To be extra obnoxious, he even throws in the 70’s disco “oowa oowa” chants during his little dance. Just save those for your future sitcom, Mr. Stark. Please.

For some reason, he’s particularly delighted about the credit cards in Hulk’s wallet, though how he thinks this will make him “rich” is anyone’s guess. Here’s a tip, Lenny, you’ll only be rich until the things are reported stolen.

Unfortunately, before he can get very far with the wallet, Blake Claus begins to stir. Hulk comes to, but is very disoriented and confused. I mean, even more so than usual. Naturally, Lenny takes advantage of his diminished capacity and tells him to come along because the kids are all waiting for him. Hulk doesn’t remember his own name, so Lenny points to his costume and says, “You’re Santa Claus!”

He brings Hulk over to the mirror to convince him. Because, after all, to convince someone with amnesia that he’s a fictional character, all you have to do is to put him in that character’s outfit. Hulk asks Lenny if he’s sure, to which Lenny says, “Hey, who’s the one who got hit on the head, huh?” To illustrate, he hits Hulk on the head again. Hah! Concussions are hilarious!

Lenny puts on a full-bore Jersey accent as he starts calling Hulk “chief” and telling him to “work with me!” He leads Hulk away by the arm, causing the poor bastard to walk face first into a support column. Santa gets knocked out (The kids are gonna love him!) so Lenny picks him up [?] and walks off. Amazing! He can pick up the guy he couldn’t drag an inch a minute ago!

Hulk’s finally back up and around by the time Lenny leads him in through the back entrance of Santa’s Cottage. Unfortunately, Hulk hits his head yet again on a low-hanging support beam. Something tells me this happens to Hulk a lot in real life. I mean, there’s got to be a reason he signed on to do this movie. Anyway, Lenny quickly preps Hulk for what the job of Santa Claus entails, then shoves him out the front door.

As soon as Santa Hulk appears, the kids all cheer, and the parents start snapping pictures. Bleach Blondie Mall Manager comes along and tells Hulk, “Well, it’s about time!” She snaps her fingers and tells Lenny to “take Santa to his throne!” For some reason, she’s now got a little Jersey thing going on, herself. Eyy, fuggehdaboutit!

Lenny sits Hulk down and Santa’s first little visitor approaches. The boy and Hulk stare at each other wide-eyed until Lenny finally prompts Hulk to ask the kid’s name. The kid replies, “David! You knew that!” Well, I see we have quite the little expert on Santa-lore here, don’t we?

Anyway, Hulk launches into the standard “have you been good this year” spiel while Lenny sneaks off and rifles through Hulk’s wallet. He then snaps his fingers at Bleach Blondie, who hands him the promised fifty bucks. You know, is it just me or is Bleach Blondie kinda really trashy hot? Or is it that I’m just so bored right now that looking at her seems really exciting? (Most likely, it’s another case of that phenomenon known as Pioneertown Hot.)

Actually, I did a little further research and it seems that Bleach Blondie, played by Bridget Michelle (two Ls), is almost certainly the same Bridget Michele (one L) who played Joe Bologna’s daughter on the short-lived musical series Rags to Riches. But judging by her filmography on the IMDb and other various sites, no one seems to have caught onto this yet. But don’t worry, if she would just go out with me, I’ll make sure that information never becomes public. Who, me? Obsessed?

Anyway, as all this is going on, two young guys stand near Santa’s Cottage, obviously up to no good. We know they’re up to no good because one of them is wearing a black T-shirt that says “ANARCHY” and a big parka, while the other is wearing a flannel over a “D.A.R.E. to Keep Kids Off Drugs” T-shirt [!!]. So, if I recall my Bad Movie History correctly, these would be ruffians circa 1993.

They head on over to the “Help Save the Childrens [sic] Mission” table where that old lady is still snoring. And needless to say, her big, inviting plastic globe of cash is still right next to her.

Then we get a “hilarious” montage of all the kids coming to sit on Hulk’s lap, and each one has a supposedly “endearing” idiosyncrasy. One girl rattles off about two hundred things she wants for Christmas, while another boy snatches Santa’s hat (almost ripping off Hulk’s horrible toupee along with it) and does rabbit ears behind his head for the picture.

Then, in a very, very strange bit, another girl shapes her hand into an odd cylindrical gesture to indicate what she wants. So either she needs a dildo for Christmas, or she wants Santa to teach her how to jerk the turkey. And yes, shame on me. Shame on me. (Ah, well. I’m probably already going to hell for suggesting a bird could get a handjob from a six-inch girl, so really, what have I got to lose?)

Santa with Muscles (1996) (part 3 of 11)

No comment.

Finally, to round out the montage, a bratty brother and sister fight over who gets to sit on Hulk’s lap. Aaaaand… scene.

Meanwhile, Lenny’s at an ATM holding Hulk’s wallet. He’s shifting from foot to foot and hopping up and down impatiently as he waits in line, and no, that’s not suspicious at all when you’re standing at an ATM and there are ten security cameras up your butt.

At any rate, he steps up to what turns out to be a very, very interesting ATM. Very. When he puts the card in, the ATM actually speaks [!] to Lenny, calling him “Mr. Thorne”. Then it asks him to place his thumb on a thumbprint scanner [!!!] to identity himself. What the fuck? Wait, let me rephrase that. What the fuck?!?!?

You know, I’ve been around, but I’ve never seen an ATM that works like this. Have you? This can only mean one thing, we must be in… the future!

Santa with Muscles (1996) (part 3 of 11)

In the year two thousaaaand…

See, Santa with Muscles isn’t a holiday-themed slapstick comedy for the whole family, but a cinema verité preview of the way we’ll be living our lives in some remote, utopian future. So, if everything in our current timeline plays out correctly, soon we’ll be talking to ATMs, coloring our methane green, and using weed whackers as weapons. So kiss my ass, Nostradamus!

Anyway, Futuristic ATM Voice rejects Lenny’s thumbprint, and the thwarted elf walks away. Remarkably, we see that the ATM has given Lenny the card back [!]. Oh, Great Movie Oracle, I know you are very wise in your prognostications, but I have to say I’m getting confusing messages about what ATM security will be like in the future. Something of a mixed bag, you say?

Multi-Part Article: Santa with Muscles (1996)

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