Awfully Good: Santa With Muscles

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

A month of bad holiday movies begins!

Santa With Muscles (1996)

Director: John Murlowski
Stars: Hulk Hogan, Mila Kunis, Ed Begley Jr.

A Scrooge-y millionaire gets amnesia and thinks he’s Santa Claus on a mission to save an orphanage.

From SUBURBAN COMMANDO to MR. NANNY to 3 NINJAS: HIGH NOON AT MEGA MOUNTAIN, you can always count on Hulk Hogan to deliver on Awfully Good. SANTA WITH MUSCLES is by far the worst movie on his embarrassing filmography and is probably also in the top five worst Christmas films ever made. And after all the shitty holiday movies we’ve seen in this column over the last 8 years, that’s saying a lot.

The Ferguson mall Santa had not received the proper sensitivity training.

The only other notable thing about this holiday trip to cinematic Planned Parenthood, besides its sheer atrociousness, is that it features a young Mila Kunis. The 12 year old actress appears in SANTA WITH MUSCLES as an orphan with an apparent master’s degree in geology. It’s a minor, uneventful role, though seeing the future star ham it up with a pro-wrestler is probably the most entertaining thing about the movie. The supporting cast also includes cult favorite Clint Howard, as well as Kunis’ “That 70’s Show” co-star Don Stark. (I wonder if they had an on-set support group for Hulk Hogan Survivors…)

“Someday you will be in a long term relationship with Macauly Culkin. No, seriously.”

In SANTA WITH MUSCLES, Hogan plays Blake Thorn, a millionaire who’s either mentally deficient or a huge asshole. (Probably both.) These are the things we learn about Blake Thorn as the movie begins: He made his fortune selling nutritional products with his giant face on them. He randomly attacks his staff (chefs, gardeners, drivers, etc.) to practice his fighting skills and expects them to return the favor. For fun, he engages the police in high speed chases through the city, firing paintballs and other weapons at them to really piss them off. Oh, and he really hates Christmas.

Every now and then the car from THE WRAITH came to teabag Clint Howard to show him who’s boss.

One day Blake evades the cops by ducking in to a mall and stealing a Santa outfit (or “committing Santa fraud” as Clint Howard puts it). Through a freak accident, he gets knocked out while hiding inside a trash chute and ends up losing his memory. Seeing what he’s wearing, an elf at the mall tells him he’s Santa, which Blake takes quite literally. (He’s mentally deficient, remember?) After beating up some random shoplifters, the new Kris Kringle sees a sign for an orphanage and decides to go there in order to advance the pre-determined plot.

Still better than Jaden Smith.

Luckily for the movie’s actor budget, this is the world’s smallest orphanage—a giant mansion that houses only three kids, one caretaker and of course a sassy black handyman. The adults clearly don’t care about the children, since they let a strange man who thinks he’s Santa Claus and his creepy elf sidekick immediately come live there with full unsupervised access to the kids. (Even better—at one point the caretaker casually mentions the children’s favorite place to play is the mysterious catacombs underneath the building. Wait, what?!) Somehow nobody at the orphanage (or in the media) recognizes the famous millionaire, even though his face is literally on their breakfast cereal. And in an act that foreshadows his career choices, instead of befriending future superstar Mila Kunis, Hulk Hogan chooses to spend all his time with an unbelievably annoying and squeaky little girl, causing us to have to sit through scene after scene of cutesy Christmas garbage. Bah humbug.

That would not be the last time Hulk Hogan took a handout from Mila Kunis.

The rest of the plot concerns Ed Begley Jr.’s evil businessman who’s trying to buy the orphanage and shut it down. It turns out the building is actually sitting on top of a massive cavern filled with quartz crystals that contain electricity (?). Kunis’ 12 year old character somehow explains the science and how it’s worth millions of dollars. Begley sends in his crack team of experts to ensure he gets what he want. This team includes: an evil doctor, an evil geologist, an evil Canadian chemist with a fart gun, and an evil electrified femme fatale named Ms. Watt. It’s exactly as head-scratchingly bad as it sounds. This is a Christmas movie featuring a grown man with a methane canister strapped to his back.

The Fart Fairy visited little boys and girls who had healthy gastrointestinal systems.

Of course at some point Blake falls in some trash again and regains his memory. And after another car chase with the cops—during which the police fire rocket launchers at Santa, who in turn uses salad dressing and protein powder to escape them—he decides to embrace the Christmas spirit and go back and save the orphanage. He gets there just in time to rescue the children from having to mine quartz for the rest of their lives (that’s actually in the villain’s plan), but instead of sending them off to safety or calling the cops, Blake forces them to tag along as he confronts every dangerous bad guy.

Will work for eggnog and figgy pudding.

As if it could sense that it might not crack the IMDB’s Bottom 100 just yet, the film throws in a final twist that makes absolutely no sense: Both Hulk Hogan and Ed Begley Jr. were actually best friends and children at that exact orphanage years earlier, though neither of them have any recollection of this whatsoever. But before you could begin to ponder the ramifications of such a stupid, stupid idea, the two characters completely ignore it and instead swordfight using the electric crystals until the cavern becomes unstable and the orphanage explodes and the children all lose their home.

Merry friggin’ Christmas, brother.

From eating Rudolph to terrible holiday puns, here’s the best Santa has to offer.

Hulk’s best asskicking moments as jolly ol’ St. Nick.

Just the aforementioned muscles.

Makes a great replacement for coal in a stocking! Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • Hulk Hogan fights someone
  • Hulk Hogan gives a rule
  • There’s a cheesy holiday related pun or line
  • A different kid sits on Santa’s lap
  • Ed Begley Jr. appears on TV
  • Someone sings a song terribly

Double shot if:

  • Hulk Hogan falls in some trash

Thanks to William, Shawn and Daniel for suggesting this week’s movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.


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