I love old black & white schlock monster films. I grew up watching them on Saturday afternoons, and again on Saturday Nights during my stations Creature Feature show. The more outlandish the better. I really enjoyed the rash of them that came out during the 50’s as they always dealt with weird creatures that were usually the result of some type of government radiation testing or they were simply living underground. That is the case with the 1956 cult classic The Mole People.
The Mole People is a very odd film. It stars Hugh Beaumont aka Ward Cleaver as Dr. Jud Bellamin, and Alan Napier aka Alfred from Batman as Elinu. The plot is a bit convoluted for a sci fi film from the 50’s. It centers on the Hollow Earth theory. You know that the earth is hollow or more importantly for this film contains another sector, a world inside a world if you will. We meet a group of scientists working on an excavation when they discover an old stone tablet containing Sumerian writing. They determine its from the ancient Sharu dynasty and that during a flood all the Sumerians went inside the earth to escape.
Our Scientists decide to scale one of the mountains there to try and find more evidence but there is a giant cave in and the group falls into an underground civilization. They decide to rest for the night before exploring and are quickly captured by The Mole People. They are taken to the High priest who determines they must be killed. Luckily one of our scientists has a flashlight that everyone just assumes is magical. And as all these people live underground they light blinds them. They are then welcomed by the Sumerians, who as it turns out have enslaved the mole people and have them work in their mushroom fields.
Yea, this is as goofy as it sounds. Its good goofy fun though. In fact its such good goofy fun it was made famous by being featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It truly is one of the more ridiculous films of that era, and that really is saying something. I always found it a bit odd that the title was The Mole People as they are basically secondary characters.
The Mole People costumes are actually very well made. I mean sure they look goofy as can be now, but try and remember this was made in 1956. They actually look really good. The sculpting in the masks is fantastic. Being in black and white does definitely help the aura and I’m sure if I was to see the colorized versions they would be weird but I really think these are some of the better monster masks I’ve seen.
The film is a bit slow which is bad as it only has a 77min run time. You can tell that it was dragged out to reach a short feature length time. That doesn’t hurt the film though as its just weird enough to keep you entertained for that time.
Scream Factory has picked this on up and are releasing it on Blu-ray. Let me tell you it looks and sounds great. The audio is probably the best it has ever been and the video transfer if fantastic. I am really glad that it didn’t hurt the film to be honest. The picture is very vibrant but not enough to make the effects look to cheap by today’s standards. And I was shocked at the fact that the great Scream Factory was even able to include special features
If you dig old monster movies, and science fiction films from the old days definitely pick this one up, it still has a lot going for it. If you have never seen it it’s defiantly something to see. If anything you will get a good laugh out of it.
Overall 2.5 out of 5 Stars!