Blu-ray Review: The Mole People (1956)

February 11, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

After a quick actual science/history lesson we are presented with the unbelievable made-up bullshit mortal men hath named; The Mole People!

In “Asia” (by way of some rando California canyon), archaeologists (who’s ranks include Ward Cleaver himself; Hugh Beaumont) are involved in a little soundstage based mountain climbing, a veritable ass-ton of stock footage, and “oh fuck me, when is it ever going to end” spelunking…all of which are pistol-hot to the kids today, before discovering an ornery race of subterranean-dwelling albino Sumerians who keep mole/human hybrids as slaves utilized to harvest their overlord’s primary food source; giant mushrooms (and you thought I was fucking around in that first sentence didn’t ya boils n’ ghouls?). Will our heroes make it back to the surface, or will they meet their end deep under the surface of the Earth?

While a bit slow paced at times (especially during the first act), The Mole People is never-the-less an effective tale of high adventure, that with it’s lost civilizations, strange creatures, and strong-jawed heroes and comely women immediately brings to mind the pulp novels and Republic serials of the 1930’s and ’40’s. As filled with fun fantasy as the storyline is, where the film truly shines is in it’s special effects and make-up as the titular creatures are well realized and boast a unique design (and there certainly are a large number of them on display at any given time), and the world they inhabit is brought to life by a deft combination of sets, miniatures, and (admittedly rough) matte paintings…often all utilized at the same time to complete the illusion of the underground kingdom.

While the film has plenty to offer lovers of classic genre cinema, the extras contained on this Blu-ray release from Scream Factory more than give you your monstrous money’s worth! First up we have a brand-new audio commentary featuring Film Historian Tom Weaver (with segments from David Schecter, Jan Alan Henderson, and The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra‘s Larry Blamire and Jennifer Blaire). This is a fascinating listen, filled with an absolute metric ton of info on the production of The Mole People, and those that love flicks like this will eat this deep dive up with a spoon!

Speaking of “brand new”, this release also features a “making of” documentary created just for this Blu, as well as the 1997 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3,000 lampooning the film. Rounding out the release are galleries featuring posters, lobby cards, and stills and the film’s theatrical trailer.

While considered a lesser light in the hallowed halls of Universal horror pictures, The Mole People remains a pulpy, adventure romp featuring a truly fantastic monster design…and this edition may just inspire a new appreciation of the flick for the creature feature lovers out there!

 

 

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