Movie Name: The Mole People
Release Date(s): December 1956
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Dr. Roger Bentley (John Agar), Dr. Jud Bellamin (Hugh Beaumont), Professor Etienne Lafarge (Nestor Paiva), and Dr. Paul Stuart (Phil Chambers) learn of the possibility of an abandoned Sumerian society in the mountains. When Bentley, Bellamin, and Lafarge find themselves trapped underground, they discover a society exists in the dark world with strange mole people as their slaves. As Bentley falls in love with a servant named Adad (Cynthia Patrick), the High Priest Elinu (Alan Napier) suspects the agents of Ishtar might not be real gods.
Directed by Virgil W. Vogel, The Mole People is a sci-fi monster movie. The film was released in December of 1956. The movie was featured in the ninth season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K 9.3).
I love ’50s sci-fi and I love monster movies. Even bad movies from this period can be good (or at least entertaining). The Mole People is a perfect example of how the retro sci-fi genre merges with the horror…plus, you get Ward Cleaver as one of the explorers.
The story for the movie has one of those bizarre sci-fi openings that only seem to exist in these type of movies. Real professor Dr. Frank Baxter from the University of Southern California sets up the “fantasy” by telling how a world inside the Earth could be possible. The movie then goes into the story which has an odd aspect about slavery in it. In today’s view, though slavery is wrong, it also could be seen as “wrong” for outsiders to inject themselves in a civilization…violating Star Trek’s Prime Directive. The outsiders enact a revolution among the mole people and the society is essentially destroyed…which feels odd.
It is considered ok for the scientists to destroy the society since they have a class society and slaves. The film is rather progressive in that they talk about the darker skinned Adad (which is just Caucasian skin tone due to the albino look of most of the race) and that she deserves equality. This combined with the Mole Men slaves has The Mole People arguing for equality in the ’50s which is before a lot of society…though Adad is killed at the end because the studio didn’t like an interracial relationship implied with John Agar.
The Mole People costumes are kind of fun. The movie does some fun scares with the mole men and the fact that the explorers are trapped in the dark…though it left you imagining scenes from The Descent which did it with more fears.
The Mole People isn’t a good movie, but like much sci-fi, the movie does have you exploring theories and ideas which is generally seen as the difference between sci-fi and fantasy. I like that this is blended with a little horror for a nice combo. The movie is short, sweet and enjoyable for fans of the genre…then you need to watch MST3K destroy it.