THE MOLE PEOPLE (1956) – The Dungeon Review!
What is it with all the hate for The Mole People? How could this film get any less than a 5 on IMDB? I realize I am always harping on this but it sincerely boggles my mind. IMDB is a great resource for cast names and information in general and there hasn’t been a film yet I haven’t found listed there. Now with that said, the ratings make me fucking nuts and should absolutely not be trusted! How the hell does The Mole People only get a 4.4?! Fuck IMDB ratings! The Mole People rocks!
A team of anthropologists excavating on a mountain in Mesopotamia discover some artifacts that speak of a 5000 year old Sumerian civilization. One of the artifacts, a lamp appears to have come from the top of the mountain. Taking several days the men climb up the mountain, eventually finding the crumbling Sumerian temple but no entrance. The ground mysteriously cracks open and one of them falls to his death. The group make their way down inside the mountain to where their associate lay. While resting they are taken prisoner by the strange albino Sumerians. It is ruled that the men must be put to death, until they learn the men carry the light. The light they carry is merely a flashlight. You see this civilization completely lacks pigment due to the fact they haven’t had exposure to sunlight in generations. The ancient civilization believe that because these men control the light they surely must have been sent by their god.
The nifty twist with this one is the mole people, though gnarly looking creatures they are actually not the film’s monsters. The mole people are kept as slaves by the Sumerians to harvest their food and are whipped into submission when deemed necessary. The major crop being harvested is mushrooms, one of the few things that can grow without the sun. When the Sumerian’s population exceeds their food allotment, they simply kill some of their own. We get to see one such sacrifice ritual where three women are eliminated. Not a wise decision risking your civilization by killing three women who look like they can still spawn.
I think the story is quite well thought out. The little details they include like the mushrooms and sensitivity to light are nicely executed. The performances are decent enough with John Agar on board as Dr. Roger Bentley and Hugh Beaumont (he was Beaver’s dad in Leave it to Beaver) as Dr. Jud Bellamin. Dr. Bentley also has a love interest. Adad is told she is “marked” by her people as she was born with pigment. The very pretty Cynthia Patrick is quite likable as Adad. Alan Napier as the High Priest is a bit over the top but it is pretty entertaining. The mole people are hugely cool! The creature effects are well done. I really “dug” the scenes where the mole people are burrowing in the earth! The sets are fairly simple but they make good use of them. I really enjoyed the ritual and the funky dancing girl (you’ll have to see it for yourself), the painted sets were a smidge hammy but at the time were sort of impressive. A nicely claustrophobic atmosphere and a steady pace made the film fly by. And the scientist that introduces the film is an absolute treat!
There are a few chinks in the armor. They really push the sensitivity to light thing but it does provide one of the films grimmer moments. The ending is a bit sudden but I must admit it actually surprised me. The complaints are minor and overall I found The Mole People to be a highly entertaining creature feature. If you are a fan of the sci-fi and horror flicks of the 50’s and 60’s The Mole People is a must see! Highly recommended!
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Virgil W. Vogel
Starring: John Agar, Cynthia Patrick, Hugh Beaumont, Alan Napier, Nestor Paiva, Phil Chambers, Rodd Redwing