Santa with Muscles (1996) (part 7 of 11)
Cut to Lenny at another Futuristic ATM, again trying to rip Hulk off. He pulls out the glass with Hulk’s thumbprint on it, just as an all-too-familiar ice cream truck passes behind him. Strangely, the tune blaring from the truck is not “Pop Goes the Weasel”, but rather the theme to Alfred Hitchcock Presents [?], which sadly won’t be the last Hitchcock reference in the movie.
Lenny rolls the smudged glass over the thumbprint scanner, but the ATM complains that it’s his right thumbprint and he needs to place his left thumb on the scanner. Though, how a machine can tell the difference between a right and left thumbprint, and not the difference between an actual thumb and a print on a glass is beyond me. So much for that future utopia.
Lenny goes into a crying fit, just as Dr. Blight and Mr. Vial come up behind him. For very unclear reasons, Blight is now wearing a Breathe-Right strip across his nose [?]. Blight tells Lenny that Ebner Frost wants to speak to him right now, and the goons toss Lenny in the truck and speed off.
Inside, Blight holds a TV monitor showing video of Ed Begley. Lenny grovels and begs for them to shut off Transylvania 6-5000. No, actually, he promises he’s working on repaying his loan. Frost is past that, however, and just wants him to stop “drumming up support for that orphanage!” Frost tells him to get rid of this “Santa with muscles”. Wow, that name is really catching on, isn’t it? Maybe they should use it for the title of a movie or something.
Of course, Frost doesn’t actually threaten Lenny in this scene or anything. I mean, I’m no evil madman, but that really seems like the thing to do here. I mean, would you really kidnap a guy and throw him in a van just to ask him a polite favor?
Either way, we cut to Lenny trying to convince Hulk to leave the orphanage immediately. Hulk asks about Lenny’s scooter, but Lenny says, “It’s better now!” Was it ever broken? Lenny says Hulk really needs to spread the Christmas cheer around, but Hulk refuses to leave because the kids still need him.
Hulk walks into the orphanage’s church for the sole express purpose of having the most painful scene in the movie. Little Precocious Elizabeth is sitting in one of the pews and singing a horrifying, off-key rendition of “Angel Baby”. She tells Hulk that her mom used to sing it to her, and if she sings it just the right way, “I might be able to wake up the fairies in the window!” Oh, trust me, little girl. You could wake the dead with that horrible screech.
Elizabeth says Saavik once told her the church has “magic windows” that people used to come from miles around just to see. But, alas, no more. I mean, I’m not saying it’s Taylor’s fault, but if I knew he was gonna be in a certain place, I’d avoid it too.
Elizabeth then attempts to pluck our heartstrings some more with references to her dead mommy. Hulk realizes he doesn’t remember his parents at all, and Elizabeth says she doesn’t remember hers, either. So, how did she know her mom sang “Angel Baby” to her? Whatever.
Regardless, Hulk suddenly scratches at his Santa beard. Great, Santa has jock itch on his face. Elizabeth says that if it’s itching him, he might as well take it off. Hulk’s hesitant, but Elizabeth insists she’s accepted the fact that Santa Claus doesn’t really have a beard and she will not be further traumatized. He takes off the beard and says, “Let’s try that song again!” Let’s not!
Elizabeth returns to her tone-deaf rendition of “Angel Baby”, and to my great revulsion, the Hulkster joins in. Yes, the movie blesses us with the extraordinary pleasure of hearing Hulk Hogan sing doo-wop. He seems to have gargled with bleach right before this take, so all in all, a wretched performance.
The orchestra swoops in to provide feeble backup to this mortifying piece of Hulkophonics, and Hulk, for some reason, doesn’t know all the words [?], and just sings “bum bum bum” a lot. What, Hulk Hogan couldn’t be bothered to learn the damn lyrics before shooting this scene?
Finally, Elizabeth hits a final high note and a cheesy echo effect is applied to her voice. One of the church windows starts shimmering and glowing purple [?]. And if you’re confused by that, don’t worry; it’ll be explained later. And then you’ll be even more confused.
Now, at first I assumed they were singing “Angel Baby”, the classic 50’s hit by Rosie and the Originals, but there’s no mention of Rosie in the credits. Even worse, the IMDb claims that the song was actually “written” by the real-life mother of the actress playing Elizabeth. I mean, there are some differences here and there (mainly the lyrics), but really, it’s obviously supposed to be the same song. So, I guess you can add musical plagiarism to this film’s long list of crimes.
(If you want further proof, just click here to listen to it yourself.)
Hulk and Elizabeth head into the living room, and for “cute” effect, Elizabeth is now wearing Santa’s beard. Pardon me while my sides split. To kill some time, Lenny’s getting terrorized by the other two kids as they cover him in tinsel. He asks Hulk for a “hand”, which leads to a predictably stupid play on words which I really can’t describe because I’ve already purged the memory from my brain.
For reasons that will never be fully understood, Garrett Morris comes up, shakes Hulk’s hand, and congratulates him on how he “finally made something of [himself] after all!” The Hulkster, to no one’s surprise, is completely confused by this. Sadly, its moments like these that are the most convincing parts of his performance.
This idyllic scene is interrupted when something crashes through the front window, and it turns out to be the head of the Columbus statue that Frost’s goons ripped out of the front lawn earlier. Thankfully, Taylor helps out us retards in the audience by yelling, “It’s our statue head!”
Attached to the head is a Christmas card that says “Only One Shopping day left ‘Til Christmas!” [sic] So, apparently, the proper use of capitalization is not Ebner Frost’s strong suit.
Hulk looks out and sees Frost’s henchmen right outside the window, standing by their ice cream truck. They don’t seem to be trying to hide or run away, which, to me at least, would seem to defeat the whole purpose of anonymously tossing a note through the front window in the first place. But hey, I’m just the guy watching this movie. Also, for a nice touch, it’s apparently gone from bright daylight to pitch black in the time it took Elizabeth to sing that wretched song.
Hulk heads out, obviously planning to run wild on them, but Saavik tries to stop him. She says they’re after her and the kids, not him, but Hulk replies, “Never turn your back on someone in need! A friend of mine once told me that!” Referring to, I think, Elizabeth’s moronic “Santa Rules”. That’s just a guess, though, because I’m definitely not going back to check. Anyway, Hulk puts on his Santa hat, tells them to “keep the milk and cookies warm”, and heads on out.
When he confronts Dr. Blight, Hulk makes a dumb quip about it being Christmas and not Halloween. Blight sarcastically puts a hand on his belly like this was a real gut buster. Oh crap, I’m getting beaten to the snark by characters in the actual movie. That’s sad.
Hulk tells them to go “trick or treat” someplace else, so Blight tells Hulk to go back to the North Pole. Hulk, however, has decided the orphanage is now his home, and the kids are now his “family”. I mean, he’s known them a whole ten hours!
Once they finish up this dopey repartee, Dr. Blight starts swinging his stethoscope around. He then makes another dumb speech into his tape recorder, this time pretending that “Santa Claus” is his current patient.
Blight manages to hit Hulk with three roundhouse kicks, but Hulk quickly recovers and starts pounding on Blight. Hulk then shoves the tape recorder into Blight’s mouth, and as happy as I am to see this annoying prop used productively, it’s obviously just a shot of Hulk pulling the tape recorder out of Blight’s mouth, only run backwards.
Mr. Vial briefly tries to take on Hulk himself, but gets his ass handed to him. So he fearfully loads Dr. Blight into the ice cream truck and speeds off.
Hulk returns inside where all the kids cheer him. Yay! More senseless violence! Well, all the kids except Taylor, who’s still being just as bitter as usual while he examines the statue head. Mila Kunis asks Hulk if he has to head back to the North Pole now, but Hulk insists he’s not going anywhere, because he’s going to protect their Christmas. So, screw all those other kids who need their presents!
Suddenly, they all spontaneously notice Taylor is missing. They all start frantically calling out his name, even though he’s been gone for maybe thirty seconds and could be taking a dump for all they know. Eventually, Hulk sees his headphones out on the front lawn and deduces Taylor’s exact destination.
Cut to the Frost mansion just as Lenny and Hulk pull up on the scooter. They spot Taylor’s bike, just to provide further reinforcement of Hulk’s apparent psychic abilities. They stand at the gate and Lenny makes a smart-ass quip about needing Santa’s reindeer to get over the gate. This inspires Hulk to grab Lenny by the collar and toss him [!] over the gate. Then, through the miracle of the same trick photography techniques last seen on The Six Million Dollar Man, we see Hulk himself leap [!] over the gate.
Once inside, Lenny’s still making smart-ass comments, but Hulk silences him with a gloved hand. They spot two of Frost’s henchmen, so they get under a plastic tarp and pretend to be one of Frost’s plastic-wrapped lawn animals. The scientist-henchmen walk right past, and we know they’re scientists because of the white lab coats. Plus, one has a T-square and the other has a calculator.
Meanwhile, Taylor seems to be about ready to re-enact Oswald’s failed assassination attempt on General Edwin Walker as he stands outside a window, slingshot in hand. He prepares to launch a vicious bb attack on Frost himself, when suddenly Hulk grabs the slingshot away and calls it “naughty”.
“I was only trying to be like you,” Taylor says, “Protecting all of us!” Okay, kid, I think you missed the whole point of the lesson. Never, ever engage in senseless violence. Okay? Never. Instead, let the professionals like Hulk handle it.
In a line of reasoning that probably wouldn’t hold up well in a court of law, Hulk insists, “I did what I had to in self defense, Taylor! I’m only tough when I have to be!” And sometimes, not even then!
They hear weird noises, so Hulk decides a little snooping is in order. By himself, that is, because Lenny and Taylor aren’t invited. He sends them home, but the question of how they’ll get over the gate without Hulk tossing them over is never asked. (Or, for that matter, the question of how Taylor got over the gate by himself in the first place.)
As Lenny leads Taylor away, he decides to again tell the story about how Hulk kicked the asses of those two crooks at the mall. During this, I swear to God, Lenny actually says, “Fuggetaboutit!” And you thought I was just making an uncalled-for ethnic slur, didn’t you?
Once they’re gone, Hulk peers inside and spies on Frost and Blight scheming. During their conversation, Frost taps Blight right on his Breathe Right strip, which sends Blight into a fit of extreme pain. So, I’m assuming the Breathe Right strip is there because of some earlier injury, but he was wearing it long before Hulk beat him up. Just between you and me, something tells me a lot these scenes were filmed in Hulkalogical order.
Anyway, Hulk sees the bright map with the grid and all the black Xs. Suddenly becoming much, much smarter, Hulk immediately realizes that Frost wants something underneath the orphanage and runs off.