Santa with Muscles (1996) (part 8 of 11)

The next day, Hulk quizzes Saavik and the gang about what’s under the orphanage. They all describe what’s down there (power lines, telephone lines, etc) and even Lenny chimes in. How would he know? Taylor then recalls there being a “clubhouse” down there.

“Oh!” Saavik says. “The old catacombs underneath the church!” Oh, those? Yeah, I never would have thought of those! Also, it turns out there’s a “big vault door” [!!] down there. No, that couldn’t be important. Why would that be important? I mean, just because a guy wants to buy up a building with a locked vault in the basement, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything important or valuable in that vault. Right?

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So, the gang strolls on down into the basement, until they find themselves in cheap plaster catacombs. Cask of Amontillado, to your left! Hulk sees the big vault door, and gets a subtle look of recognition on his face. Well, as subtle as Hulk Hogan is capable of, anyway. Which is to say, not subtle at all.

Hulk finds the initials “B.T.” scratched into the vault door. Gosh, what could this mean? Could it stand for “Blake Thorne”? Oh, if only I could abbreviate!

There’s a big round SG-1 type dial on the vault door, but the kids only know the first three numbers of the combination. This allows all three of them to each come up and take a turn spinning the lock to one of the numbers. Taylor puts in the last number and says, “That’s as far as we’ve gotten!” So, what, how did they figure out that much? Are these three kids a bunch of junior safecrackers, or what?

This rings a bell with Hulk, and he “magically” finishes the combination and gets the vault open. They all walk inside, passing through a glowing cloud of mist, and soon find themselves in a plaster cave with seemingly radioactive rocks set into the walls. Hulk decides these glowing rocks are what make the church windows glow. Okay, by what possible mechanism could that occur?

Anyway, there are some standard crystal geodes poking out of the walls, along with a crystal that’s just lying on the ground. Taylor picks it up and declares, “It’s warm!” Ew. I don’t wanna know where that’s been.

Santa with Muscles (1996) (part 8 of 11)

Welcome to the new Disneyland attraction Three Mile Island-Land!

Saavik nags him into putting it down, then Elizabeth screams out, “Hellooooo!” just so she can hear her voice echo. Good work, little girl. Now if they all get trapped in a cave-in, we’ll know who to blame.

Suddenly, Mila Kunis knows exactly what the crystals are, because she read about them in her “geology book”. She calls them “piezoelectric crystals” [!] which are “quartz crystals with natural electricity in them! Vibrations make them put out power!” Okay, I guess you can forget what I said earlier about this taking place in the future. No, obviously we’re on an alien planet.

Jackie insists the crystals are worth “millions”. Taylor picks another one up, because I guess he can’t remember that stuff about electricity that Jackie said two seconds ago. Saavik nags him again to put it down.

Unfortunately, Stupid Taylor takes her a little too literally, because he just drops the thing, causing the crystal to explode [!!]. Hilariously, the “explosion” is rendered by superimposing a big puff of smoke on the film, which means the F/X in this movie are right about on par with Future War. I assume the forced-perspective toy dinosaurs will be along any minute.

Everybody screams, then Garrett Morris quietly tells everyone to carefully back out of the vault. As soon as they’re outside, they all head up, but Hulk hangs back at the vault door with Lenny.

Hulk is desperately trying to make sense of how he knew the combination. It’s called a “plot contrivance”, Mr. Hogan. Lenny, on the other hand, chalks it up to that old Santa Magic. This prompts Hulk to take the “Santa” thing way too seriously, and he starts wondering if maybe he really should be at the North Pole getting ready to bring kids their presents tomorrow.

You see, kids, not only can serious blows to the head cause amnesia, but they can also make you believe you’re a fictional character. So remember, if you get a friend to whack you in the head hard enough with a two by four, then maybe, just maybe you’ll believe you’re Batman.

Anyway, it turns out Lenny has a conscience, because he spills the beans. Well, not too much of a conscience, because he only spills the beans that have nothing to do with the stolen wallet. As proof, he pulls out the desert camouflage fatigues that Hulk wore at the beginning of the movie.

Lenny notes the paintball stain on the fatigues (which is why Hulk’s buddy accidentally shot him in the Hummer). The stain, by the way, is bright pink, and yet Lenny says he doesn’t know how the “blood stain” [??] got on there. I guess he thinks it’s Klingon blood, or something. Alien planet. That’s my new explanation for everything idiotic in this movie. We’re on an alien planet.

Lenny suggests that Hulk might actually be a wanted criminal. Which he is, by the way. But I think Lenny means it in more of a “fugitive serial killer” sort of way. Regardless, Lenny says, the kids really need him to “be Santa” right now. Sullen Hulk tells Lenny to give him some time alone to absorb all this.

Lenny walks away, only to get a cell phone call from Ebner Frost himself. Hey, did you know cell phones work in underground catacombs? I sure didn’t!

Lenny promises to pay Frost his money and adds, “But, please, I don’t think it’s right!” This awkward line allows Begley to riposte with, “When I want your opinion, I’ll have it surgically removed!” Just like mine was removed shortly after St. Elsewhere!

Nevertheless, Frost talks like he has a job for Lenny. Cut to Elizabeth in the kitchen, and she suddenly lets out an eardrum-piercing shriek. The others come running and Dr. Blight strolls out of the kitchen, twirling his stethoscope.

Cut to everyone sitting on the couch as Dr. Blight wields a mighty T-square. Yes, a T-square. Believe it or not, this will be the daunting weapon of choice for Frost’s henchman for the remainder of the movie.

Blight sneers at them for a little while, then opens a door only to come face to face with Hulk himself. The two men do a totally unnecessary “saying things in unison” gag until Hulk shoves him through the door and asks the whole gang if they’re okay.

Next, Dr. Blight runs through the church and Hulk gives chase. During the pursuit, Dr. Blight dryly notes that his “Christmas wish” is for Hulk to “get out of my life!” Wow, him too?

Sure enough, they eventually end up in the church bell tower so we can have a sad, sad rip off of Vertigo. Hey, I warned you about the Hitchcock thing. Don’t blame me for having to endure this.

Hulk has Blight cornered, but Blight picks up a weapon, namely another dreaded Plastic Candy Cane of Death. Blight connects with it, but Hulk recovers from this polyurethane attack and pounds on Blight some more. An outside shot reveals them duking it out behind the animatronic Santa from the opening credits, just so we remember it exists.

Finally, Blight puts Hulk in an NYPD-style chokehold with the candy cane and slowly edges Hulk out of the tower. Hulk looks down at the traffic that’s suddenly appeared below, and then Blight delivers the stupidest quip of the entire movie.

Dr. Blight: Santa, you sleigh me!

Ugh. Not only is this joke completely not funny, but it also makes no sense at all in context, considering Blight is the one about to “slay” Santa. Somewhere, a screenwriter took all the Christmas puns he or she could think of, indiscriminately pasted them into a Word document, and called it this screenplay.

Well, surprising as it may seem, Hulk comes back from the edge and gets the upper hand. With one punch, he knocks Dr. Blight and his acting career into oblivion.

Just then, because it’s in the script and everything, the animatronic Santa comes to life and starts twisting back and forth and ho ho ho-ing. Somehow, someway, this tiny animatronic Santa which can’t possibly weigh more than five pounds is actually strong enough to push Hulk out of the bell tower [!].

Santa with Muscles (1996) (part 8 of 11)

“Die, doppelganger!”

And then, my sore eyes are refreshed by the welcome sight of Hulk Hogan plunging to a horrible, bloody death. And all I want for Christmas is Suburban Commando to flash in front of his eyes before he hits the ground.

Sadly, it’s not to be, because a dump truck just happens to pass underneath him. And, wouldn’t you know it, it’s filled with garbage bags. Oh, and not just any garbage bags, but bags filled with the softest, bounciest garbage ever thrown out. As a result, Hulk has an even gentler landing than the Snuggle Bear on a stack of towels.

Santa with Muscles (1996) (part 8 of 11)

“Ahhhhhh! My life is passing in front of my eyes, and it sucks!”

However, he’s knocked unconscious anyway. Dr. Blight looks down at this and is overcome with glee and rushes off.

Hulk briefly comes around, and “hilariously” comes face to face with himself on a discarded canister of Blake’s Way Protein Powder. He komikally grumbles that his picture still isn’t big enough (even though, as far as I can tell, it hasn’t changed at all), right before passing out again. Sad music tinkles on the soundtrack as the lonely garbage truck continues on its way. Fade to black.

Well, that was one shitty movie. The best part was that it seemed to be about only three-fourths the length of an actual movie and… Wait, what? There’s more? Ah, crap.

Multi-Part Article: Santa with Muscles (1996)

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