803. The Mole People (1956)

Universal stressed often “A Good Cast Is Worth Repeating…” Does that apply to monster movies? Revenge of the Creature (1955), The Leech Woman (1960), The Mole People (1956), The Deadly Mantis (1957), The Thing That Couldn’t Die (1958). Universal churned out its share of genre pictures. And in Season 8, MST shared the wealth. The Mole People fits the type. Dull, silly, black and white, sincere. Comfort food essentially and perfect for riffing. Crow Space Child, Pearl Day, Gesture Professor, Tom Playing The Mandolin, Indiana Crow, Life Beneath The Floorboards. “Down down, very nipple of the world”, “You’ll feel dirty”, “Oh God has granted us much fresh sewage.” “The Really Nutty Professor” or “Oh these are the people who make that nice mexican sauce”?

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Gesture Professor.

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Bake Sale.

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Trailer.

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I never understood the belief held by some fans that the movie prologue was an attempt to sell junk science as authentic. Personally, I didn’t think it came off that way at all. My impression was that he was explaining how the belief in other civilizations living underground is an ancient concept that managed to persist further into the modern age than you might think. I also believe he made it apparent that the movie had no basis in reality. Mind you, some of the incidents he recounted were far more interesting than what we end up getting. If there were any justice, a movie about John Quincey Adams attempting to greenlight a North Pole expedition to find a shaft leading to the center of the Earth would get produced and be box office gold. Though there’s the question of whether it should be a drama or a comedy.

It’s true that Adad’s tacked on death is weirdly abrupt, and the rationale for adding it is what could be kindly described as distasteful. However, when you consider how she would later be having an Agar character manspain sex to her as she’s being deflowered, that was probably a more desirable ending for her.

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I enjoy this one and wish it were more widely available. The 50’s this could happen!! movies are my MST3K sweet spot.

I use “down, down” in regular conversation and will often point out the loads in other movies or shows.

Take away: if you ever want to decide who lives and who dies, all you apparently need to do is carry a flashlight.

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I haven’t seen this one in years. My only real memories are Alfred and the horrible “oh noes, society will crumble if they get together!” ending. The '50’s, man.

Shame Facepalm GIF by MOODMAN

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I’m not normally a prayin’ man, but if you’re up there listenin’ … please … kill John Agar!

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John Agar is just so damn punchable. He’s so smarmy in this one.

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The actual Gesture Professor in all his “glory.”

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It’s not a terrible episode, but the constant “load” recitations really annoy me.

I’m not sure how often I’d say that an episode’s sketches upstage the movie. Especially at this point in time. But they kind of do here.

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This also is when plot heavy Host Segments were a thing owing to Sci-Fi corporate insistence of separate storylines around the movie. So extra emphasis in those sections became evident.

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Oh if there’s one thing Agar does exceedingly… “well” (??) it’s friggen mansplain… he’s always so smarmy and despicable… I think I saw ONE movie starring him that I shockingly didn’t want to hit him with a crowbar.

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:joy: I’ve said similar in the past. But perhaps we should give her more credit. Maybe she would’ve tolerated him for a few months of marriage, while she acclimated to the surface world, and then fed him some poisoned Beef Stroganoff or something.

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Another season 8 gem. John Agar at his smarmy best, the LOAD, whippings, Alfred the Butler, and my favorite Ward Cleaver!

Favorite riff

Attention shoppers, there’s an unclaimed load in aisle 7!

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For those who don’t have this… Scream Factory circulated a Blu-Ray of The Mole People (1956) in February 2019. The MST3K episode is on the disc as an extra. The Blus may now be OOP though they’re not that expensive.

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@optiMSTie How does this compare?

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While not my overall favorite of the early Season 8 bunch, I still enjoy the hell out of this and find a great deal worth celebrating.

You know what gets me about this episode? That opening with the English professor. Until we get “Century 21 Calling” tacked onto The Space Children, that weird intro to the movie has the feel and flavor of an MST3K short. And you gotta dig that, since we didn’t get very many of those in this part of MST3K’s run. His speech is SO DAMN WEIRD, it’s like it was tailor-made for riffing. When Crow says that “he gets $2 million a picture,” I howl.

I don’t know, I find it weird that while this movie does feature a lot of rock climbing (rock climbing, folks… rock climbing) and rock descending, it doesn’t feel quite as oppressive as it does in The Lost Continent.

I enjoyed the riffing that John Agar took in Revenge of the Creature, so when I saw that it was Round 2 between him and the MST3K folks, I was cheering so hard for a good joshing at his expense, and we got just that! They played up his pomposity so well (especially that one point inside the mountain where Mike monologues as his character) that it’s hardly any wonder why we cheer when Mike riffs: “I’m John, the pompous ass!”

MST3K always makes me laugh no matter how often I revisit the episodes, but the dance scene never fails to make me lose it. It grinds the film to a halt and looks silly as hell, and I have to love Servo’s riffs of “And away we goooooooo!”, “Thank you, Bjork”, and “Ishtar’s gonna fry somebody’s ass for booking her.”

It’s a hoot to see Hugh Beaumont here, and it’s a golden joke that Crow has in “June, not tonight!” as a mole person puts a sack over his character’s head.

Can I just say that I like the character of Adad and get genuinely pissed off over that last-minute studio-mandated “well, the underground woman and the surface-dwelling man can’t be together, so she’s gotta die” ending? It’s one of those MST3K’d movies that gets me genuinely angry.

Not gonna lie, it’s a weird trip seeing this movie after getting that clip of The Mole People in the Season 5 experiment, The Wild Wild World of Batwoman, or seeing the mole people as Dr. Forrester’s assistants in earlier seasons of MST3K, even.

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An earlier nod long before it reached the show. Much like Willy the Waffle.

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On the host segment side of things?

I’m a sucker for an MST3K dessert sketch, so the SOL’s offerings for Lawgiver Daze make for something fun, whether it’s the terminology of Servo’s pastries or Crow falling off his literal mile-high meringue pie.

I’m keen on those sketches that have something to do with the movie, so I love it that we get Mike trying to act as the Gesture Professor, only for the Bots to shoot down his premise at every possible turn. Best one of the bunch. I also love seeing Patrick Brantseg and Paul Chaplin as goofy-as-hell Mole People who can’t really do much when Mike gets out the flashlight to shoo them away.

Thankfully thankfully thankfully, this is the episode that concludes the whole “Crow remembers everyone and everything on the SOL except for Mike” subplot that started with the Sci-Fi Channel relaunch. I get antsy and worry over the most ridiculous things when it comes to fiction, and I was hoping like hell that Crow would get his memories of Mike back.

And I love it when the show stands back and lets Pearl revel in her Pearl-ocity, so seeing her bully everyone over Lawgiver Daze was a treat.

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