Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Mole People (1956)

The Mole People (1956) this sci-fi/horror film, directed by Virgil W. Vogel was the inspiration for The Dickies' song Attack of the Molemen.  The film which features John Agar, Cynthia Patrick, Hugh Beaumont and Alan Napier was shot over a 17 days period with a budget of about $200,000.
At the beginning for the film Dr. Frank Baxter, who at the time was an English professor from the University of Southern California, explains the hollow earth theories of John Symmes and Cyrus Teed and states that the movie is a fictionalized representation of this unorthodox point-of-view. The fictionalized Mesopotamian history presented in the film is based on the Panbabylonism ideology in which a small number of Assyriology and Religious scholars hypothesize that the Hebrew Bible and Judaism are directly derived from Mesopotamian (Babylonian) mythology. Unfortunately his four-minute lecture does little to add any credence to the film’s plot.
The Mole People (1956) had a miniscule budget and Vogel was forced to cut cost anyway he could. He instructed Jack Kevan, the special effects artist for the film, to use newspapers stuffed in the backs of the mole monsters’ shirts to make their humps instead of using the more expensive rubber humps. The effect worked fine until the scene where the monsters’ revoke was shot. After the scene was shot the stage floor was littered with the newspapers that had  fallen out of the monsters shirts during filming. The scene had to be reset and shot.
Despite the budget restraints the studio was able to come up with enough money to reshoot the last scene. In the original ending, Dr. Bentley and Adal both survived and lived happily ever after.  Share this:
Not wanting to imply an interracial relationship between Dr. Bentley and Adal, the studio insisted on a new ending being reshot two weeks after filming had been completed.
Plagued with a tiny budget, poor script and a first-time director, The Mole People (1956) was an almost certain flop and is considered to be one of Universals weakest horror films. Despite its’ poor reception and reviews this film has developed somewhat of a cult following thanks in part to its cast of well-known bit players including:
John Agar, a notable actor who appeared in a number of TV shows during from the 1950’s to the 90’s and is also known for starring in Revenge of the Creature (1955) and John Wayne classics such as  Fort Apache (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), and Sands of Iwo Jima (1949).
Hugh Beaumont, who was best known for his role as Ward Cleaver on the TV series, Leave It to Beaver (1957–1963), was also a licensed to preacher for  the Methodist church.
Alan Napier who is best remembered as Batman’s faithful butler, Alfred Pennyworth in Batman (1966) plays Elinu, the High Priest.
The Mole People (1956) is one of the better “bad” films of the 50’s sci-fi/horror craze. It is certainly worth watching, but don’t try to make any sense out of the plot; this movie is it’s meant to entertain, not educate. 

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