One of the things which makes SANTA CLAUS a fantasy classic is the absolutely amazing, daring, bizarre production design. There are numerous wonderful, colorful, lurid, cheesy and surreal f/x and objects, an exceptional combination of baroque and ultra-modern, reflecting no doubt significant cultural changes in Mexico at the time.

For instance, Santa's "Fantastic Crystal Laboratory" is surely one of the most amazing things ever designed for children's cinema as well. (Disney surely stole many of the concepts for the scientific toy factory in his BABES IN TOYLAND musical, which was released the next year).

An entirely expressionist view of cutting-edge scientific technology, this astonishing super-lab boasts many amazing new inventions, many, curiously, of a "covert surveillance" nature. The very creepy "Master Eye" was an early cinematic manifestation of the fear and paranoia of Cold War spying, chilling because it might have been true. The design itself is a steal from the Martians in George Pal's exciting WAR OF THE WORLDS. A TV dish antenna with a human ear grafted on is effective, but perverse, to say the least.

Most odd of all, however, is the absurd "Tele-Talker", a giant face screen with a phallic, light-up nose and gargantuan, talking, ruby-red lips, aptly illustrating every small child's oral fixation, bigger than life itself! Elsewhere, Santa's mechanical reindeer are extremely malefic, as they laugh in a most sinister (and irritating) way.