When most people think of Christmas, visions of sugarplums dance in their heads. But when some less orthodox revelers get in the holiday spirit, the visions in their heads are much, much more psychedelic. These more freaky but no less celebratory visions apparently involve futuristic babies, gravity control pods, alien superbeings, oxygen generators, and what appears to be undercooked Christmas ham (or at least some sort of raw mystery meat).
In case you're confused why we're talking about Christmas, little green men, and rancid pork in the same breathless sentence, it's because Oklahoman indie-rock eccentrics the Flaming Lips finally, FINALLY released their seven-years-in the-making, long-rumored-to-be-nonexistent cult flick, Christmas On Mars, in 2008. And since then, it's quickly become a Christmas cult classic.
It's a Christmas miracle!
And the DVD--which contains inexplicable extras like Russian subtitles and soundtrack songs like "Space Bible With Volume Lumps" and "The Secret Of Immortality: This Strange Feeling, This Impossible World"--is certainly a must-have on any discerning indie-rock fan's Christmas wishlist.
Supposedly influenced by David Lynch's Eraserhead, the filmography of Stanley Kubrick (and quite possibly Ed Wood), The Wizard Of Oz, and a Santa-costumed photo of Lips leader Wayne Coyne taken by his wife Michelle, Christmas On Mars is most definitely THE weirdest holiday movie ever. A low-budget sci-fi opus shot mostly in Wayne's Oklahoma City backyard and starring the band members, their amateur-actor friends, and a few scene-stealing surprise pros (Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen, Entourage's Adam Goldberg, a dude from Blue's Clues), the movie takes place on Christmas Eve 2055, aboard a spaceship filled with mentally unraveling, hallucinating astronauts.
All right, so Christmas On Mars isn't exactly It's A Wonderful Life. But if every time bassist Michael Ivins fingers some raw organ meat, or drummer/keyboardist Stephen Drozd hallucinates about scary magical alien babies, or lightbeams shoot out of Wayne Coyne's green-painted Martian mouth, an angel gets his wings...well, then, there are a whole lot of psychedelic-rock Christmas angels flying pretty high (the operative word is "high") this season.
Here's benevolent and magical-minded Wayne Coyne, aka the Kris Kringle of the alternative rock set, explaining just what this movie's about...and why, in its own weird way, this "fantastical and disturbing humanistic freakout" captures the true spirit of the season in a way, say, Four Christmases never could: