Blu-ray Review: THE MOLE PEOPLE

THE MOLE PEOPLE was directed by Virgil W. Vogel from a screenplay by László Görög and stars John Agar, Hugh Beaumont and Nestor Paiva star as three archaeologists who discover the remnants of a mutant five-millennia-old Sumerian civilization living beneath a glacier atop a mountain in Mesopotamia. The film also stars Alan Napier and Cynthia Patrick.

The party of archeologists come upon an unusual race of albino beings who shun all forms of light and have mutant mole men as their slaves. Because of their “magical cylinders of fire” (what we know as flashlights), these archaeologists are treated like gods – until they try to liberate the mole people. Can the archaeologists escape this hallowed mountain in Asia … or will they be destroyed in a strange underground world? 

This 1956 sci-fi horror cult classic follows Dr. Roger Bentley (John Agar), Dr. Jud Bellamin (Hugh Beaumont) and Prof. Etienne Lafarge (Nestor Paiva), three archaeologists who discover an ancient Sumerian civilization (The Mole People) living deep below the planet’s surface. The underground society is led by Elinu, the High Priest (Alan Napier) who doesn’t like the new visitors so he wants to kill them. You see, his people don’t think there’s any other life so the archeologists are mistaken as gods even though they insist that they’re ordinary men from the surface.

Elinu ultimately labels the men as false gods and this is where things get crazy. There’s also Adad (Cynthia Patrick), a beautful young woman who doesn’t quite fit in with her own people because of her appearance and when Elinu decides to strike out against the visitors she decides to escape with them. This is also where the not-so terrifying, dirt digging creatures that serve as slaves to The Mole People turn on their oppressors and this is what ends up destroying the underground kingdom. The archeologists do finally find a way back to the surface as the Earth quakes around them but sadly not all of them make it out alive.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork and movie credits so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were good considering the age of the film. I didn’t really have any major issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, The Mole People is one of those sci-fi horror classics that I’ve heard about over the years but never got the opportunity to check it out until now. This old Universal International feature follows the action-adventure formula (think Indiana Jones) and follows this small group of explorers that discovers a lost civilization that’s so removed from the outside world that its people aren’t ware that there’s anything or anyone else. The story was interesting and the main characters were fun to follow as they went up against this accidental enemy. The cheesy part of it were the men in super cheap suits and this is where it gets pretty bad but at least the camera didn’t spend too much time on the creatures because it could’ve been much worse. This is also part of the movie’s charm and it simply works. Virgil W. Vogel did a really good job directing the movie that features some great cinemtography. It’s all about the lighting and the play with shadows in this one. That’s what helps to build the suspense and dread as the movie plays out and the end result is a really fun cult classic that’s one part adventure and one part creature feature. The Mole People makes it Blu-ray debut in the U.S. on February 26th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 78 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition (1.85:1 and 2.00:1) B&W

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English

 Special Features: The extras include some new audio commentary, a new making of featurette, the MST3K episode (I love the fact they included this!), still gallery and theatrical trailer.

  • NEW Audio Commentary with film historians Tom Weaver and David Schecter
  • NEW Of Mushrooms and Madmen: The Making of THE MOLE PEOPLE (18:40)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode “The Mole People” (2/15/97) in standard definition (1:32:00)
  • Posters and Lobby Cards Still Gallery (04:33)
  • Photo Gallery (04:16)
  • Theatrical Trailer (02:00)
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3.5

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