One of the many fun things about the late, great "Mystery Science Theater 3000" was their annual all-day Turkey Day Marathons for Thanksgiving. Hour after hour after hour of bad movies -- what's not to love? So this year we're doing a Desuko Turkey Day Marathon of our own -- five days of Desuko reviews of movies that have been featured on MST3K. Here's experiment #803, "The Mole People." (Originally published Feb. 6, 2009):
How dreary can the subterranean world be? Very.
This lovely little film starts off with a professor giving the audience a strange, rambling lecture on the history of various crackpot theories about ancient civilizations underground. When the story finally gets started, we find an archeological team headed by smug know-it-all John Agar that discovers an underground colony of albino Sumerians and their mole-like slaves. Agar's sidekicks include Hugh Beaumont (TV's Ward Cleaver) and the evil underground high priest is Alan Napier (best known as Alfred the Butler from the "Batman" TV series).
When the heroes' chief weapon in a flashlight, you know you're in trouble.
Luckily, this foolishness doesn't last long before the mole slaves revolt, the albino society crumbles and Agar and Beaumont escape in just the nick of time, along with their Sumerian love interest, played by the luscious Cynthia Patrick.
"The Mole People" isn't as bad as some critics make it out to be, but that's not saying it's a good film, either. Director Virgil Vogel put together a solid, if unremarkable, genre piece that only suffers because some of the absurdities in László Görög's script. If you can get past the questionable science and the fact that the mole people look like beatniks dressed for trick-or-treating, it's not a bad little film.
"Do you think anybody's ever tried to smoke dried mushrooms?"
The professor from the beginning is Dr. Frank Baxter, who in the mid='50s left his job teaching English at the University of Southern California to lend his authoritative aura to introducing various educational TV shows. In addition to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he was also the recipient of the first ever Golden Gavel from Toastmasters International.
Take a Look:
The MST3K version: