You know the phrase, “It’s so bad, it’s good?” Well, unfortunately the Star Wars: Holiday Special does not apply here. The film is SO BAD it’s just downright horrendous. It’s a film that has to be seen to be believed. It was aired on television on that fateful day of November 17, 1978 roughly one and a half years after Star Wars blew Hollywood film making away.
I went into this film hoping that I could take away something to smile about. Instead, I was mostly counting down the minutes to when this film would eventually finish. I was definitely expecting more especially with the name Star Wars attached to it. Those words alone couldn’t help save the film. Watching this film felt like I was trying to find my way out of a pile of garbage only to be piled on with more garbage to prevent myself from escaping.
The film opens with a bunch of dialogue by three Wookies related to Chewbacca. These Wookies named Malla; Chewie’s wife, Itchy; his father, and Lumpy; Chewie’s son, were all waiting anxiously for Chewie to come home to celebrate their holiday Life Day. Life Day takes place on their home planet of Kashyyyk which is the very first time we are given any backstory to Chewie’s planet. The Wookies celebrate Life Day every year and is basically categorized as their Christmas of sorts.
Meanwhile, Chewie and Han Solo are escaping Imperial Forces. There are a few action scenes here and there however they are all recycled footage from A New Hope. You would think that at this point the film might redeem itself by giving us some great scenes and dialogue between Solo and Chewie. But, you’d be wrong. We also get a glimpse of Luke and R2-D2 but this also feels out of place as the actors look and act more like robots than their own characters. And now we go back to the Wookies.
There are many crazy and drug inducing scenes which take place throughout the film, but the first one is surely one of the weirdest. Lumpy not willing to wait any longer for his father becomes very impatient. Chewie’s wife Malla, places him in front of a hologram only to watch what looks to be characters straight out of an Alice in Wonderland cartoon. It’s very creepy for sure and is a must watch. You can check out the full clip below:
Shortly after this scene, Malla tries learning how to cook from a particular recipe. She turns on the television where we are given a four armed cross-dressed alien explaining how to make this dish. “Stir, whip, stir, whip, whip, whip, stir.” Those words will forever permeate in your head for quite a while after watching this scene. The whole film is a major head-scratcher but this scene makes me question all things in existence. You can also check out this scene down below:
Not too long after, a man named Saun Dann arrives bearing gifts for the Wookies particularly one specific gift for Itchy that must be seen to be believed. What Dann gives Itchy is not just any gift. It’s specifically named a virtual reality “fantasy” program featuring Diahann Carroll. Basically it’s just a PG version of virtual reality porn. I mean c’mon the words spoken by Carroll says it all:
“I am your fantasy. I am your experience. So experience me. I am your pleasure. Enjoy me. This is our moment together in time that we might turn this moment into an eternity.”
You can check out this scene in the video below beginning at the 2:15 minute mark:
Then for some odd reason to create some tension in the middle of this already bizarre film, the Empire shows up with a few officers and a couple of stormtroopers. Apparently these aren’t your typically smart officers who work for the Empire. They are both easily distracted by the Wookie family. One of them is shown a music video by the band Jefferson Starship with the song 'Light the Sky on Fire.' You can check out that video down below:
Still alive? Good, because honestly, I’m not going to discuss this film any further. Seriously, what the hell were they thinking?! I mean it’s so hard to believe that human beings actually wrote and directed this film. What made them think that this was worth showing the public? Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad idea for Lucasfilm wanting to create something that would help soothe the waiting game for fans anticipating the very first Star Wars sequel. After all, fans would have to wait a good three years for the sequel to hit theaters so why not bide the time by starting a television show for everyone to watch?
Unfortunately this atrocious whatever you want to call it was seen by over thirteen million fans when it first aired. Lucas himself initially wanted this thing to be released on VHS a good ten years after it had aired on TV. But that never happened. Instead, bootleg copies were bought and sold where we can now watch the complete visual garbage we call The Holiday Special on YouTube. I haven’t even touched on the fact that we are first introduced to the Boba Fett character through a cartoon. We also hear Carrie Fisher sing the Life Day song which was basically the main John Williams Star Wars theme song but with added lyrics. I will put both of those videos down below also for your viewing pleasure:
And also this:
When asked about how he felt creating such a horrendous bomb of a film, Lucas said that he wished he could “Destroy every copy of the special in existence with a hammer.”
You know what Lucas? That would have been a great idea. It’s one of those films you will have seen once and never want to watch it again. The Star Wars: Holiday Special is something you can’t unsee that’s for sure. It’s definitely not for the faint at heart either. Myself being such a die hard Star Wars fan makes me wish I had never seen this. It makes you wonder what went on in those brains of the people who helped create this piece of shit.
This film MUST be viewed by any fan of Star Wars. Is it really that bad? Yea, you’re damn right it is but you know what I had a fun time with it and I can honestly say I watched all 96 minutes of it. How many minutes can you suffer through before you check out?
Be honest, how many of you actually watched the ENTIRE thing in one sitting? Was there any redeemable qualities about this film at all? I’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts in the comment section below and please share!
Sources: “How Star Wars Conquered The Universe.” pp. 222-226 and Creamer's Cinema Craze