Underground Film Journal

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Holiday Animated Film: Hadacol Christmas

By Mike Everleth ⋅ December 25, 2010

Yes, the above embedded short film by Brent Green is a re-working of the secret origin of Santa Claus, but don’t watch with young kids in the room, unless a) you intentionally want to upset them; and/or b) you want them to see Santa’s old, dangling private parts. You see, Santa, while being a kindly, inventive old soul, has a wee bit of an addiction to whiskey-fortified cold medicine, which propels him to take off on a mad journey on his rickety rocket sleigh. It’s a sadly touching animated film with a live soundtrack performed by Green and the band Califone.

And, yes, I’m posting film up today because it’s Christmas, but I’m also starting to notice a trend in Green’s films, from this film to Weird Carolers to Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then — all of them feature as a main character a tragic, semi-demented inventor.

A skinny Santa Claus dropping a present from his sleigh

Santa builds a pump that revives dead birds, plus a rocket sleigh and other contraptions. Beethoven in Weird Carolers invents sounds by biting his piano and throwing objects around his house. And Leonard in Gravity invents a magical house that fails to cure his wife of cancer.

And Green is an inventive filmmaker. If you trace the evolution of these films, they start with traditional cel animation where you literally see the cel frames in each shot, making the film look as ramshackle as Santa’s inventions. Weird Carolers features stop motion puppets. And Gravity is — I believe — the first feature animated film that uses real-life people instead of drawings or mechanical figures.

So, bring a little inventiveness to your own Christmas celebration. Or, on anytime, if you’re reading this on any other day of the year that is not Dec. 25. It’s what makes life more interesting.

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