It’s time to look at a really old film featuring everyone’s least favorite retro monster…The Mole People. I’ve never really found these guys to be all that interesting to be honest. Their designs aren’t much better than the average human’s and they don’t seem to pose much of a threat. Still, a film around them could prove promising I suppose but they better be cleaning shop and wrecking the humans.
The film starts off with a 9 minute intro of an old man trying to lay down the hard facts about how the Earth is layered. He explains about the heat and volcanoes but does so in an incredibly bored voice. This whole segment is definitely not necessary in the film and only serves to curb your enthusiasm going into it. This preview just had no sense of direction or energy at all and I can imagine people slowly connecting the dots in the theatre at this point that they had just wasted their money.
We then get the actual start to the movie as the three diggers find some ancient ruins thanks to a local kid. There was a 4th digger but he wasn’t watching where he was going as ends up falling to his death. The others hurry after him but then realize that they are stuck as well. The caves seem man made though which makes the main characters a little suspicious. It turns out that an ancient civilization of humans live down here where they have enslaved the Mole Men. They are quickly convinced that the main characters are agents of their god but know this myth cracks the main characters will be in grave danger. They’ve got to get out of here!
As these humans have never seen light before, the flashlight is incredibly useful against them. Just a quick flash will blind them and cause their whole army to retreat. The tough part is that the flashlight will run out of battery soon and the heroes like keeping it on to comfort themselves. It’s a dangerous move but if they are confident about it then so I will be as well.
One thing that definitely doesn’t help the movie’s case from the start is the fact that the Mole Men have actually been enslaved and must do the bidding of the humans. That takes away from them being the main villains completely. Thanks to the climax we also learn that they have super strength and can easily destroy the humans with a single blow. We also see them easily drag some humans into the ground throughout the film. It’s just hard to believe that they would be turned into slaves like this and it’s a poor direction for the film to go into.
This is where the film is just mean spirited as we see them beaten repeatedly. The main characters show up to help them once in a while but naturally when they are not there you can imagine that the beatings continue. Even the ending is rather mean spirited as one of the main characters gets crushed by a rock. Keep in mind that this is at the very end of the film once they were past the danger. What’s the point of letting this character die and effectively giving the villains a win? I certainly don’t think that was a good idea and just makes the ending a downer.
From the 3 main characters at the beginning, the old man was definitely very annoying. He was constantly panicking and running around. The guy was a liability the whole time and how did he not realize that one of the Mole Men has scratched 3 large gashes through his chest? It was hard to feel bad for him when the villains inevitably found him because he nearly destroyed the whole party. While the other 2 characters were better, they weren’t all that smarter. They were quick to eat the mushrooms which they should have suspected were probably drugged since the villagers really didn’t like them. They didn’t have a whole lot of eating options of course, but another such moment is when they put down the flashlight all by itself instead of holding on to it. Rookie move. At least they could fight though.
Naturally the cave also makes for a very boring backdrop. There’s just not much to actually look at since the film is so dark and it’s just an excuse for the film to get away with a minimal amount of sets. Well, there are definitely worse backdrops than a cave so this isn’t a serious complaint or anything. As far as negatives go it is certainly all the way at the bottom of the list.
Overall, This is definitely a very weak movie and not one that you are very likely going to remember. The Mole Men are incredibly weak and the human villains are not particularly distinct in any way. The human characters are generic but not in a good way and the really boring intro doesn’t do the film any favors. I don’t think anyone is watching this film for a chance to see the humans enslaving more populations so this movie just doesn’t give us the story that we want. It is also worth mentioning that the romance is very tacked on for this film. I would advise skipping this movie and checking out one of the many better monster films out there like Gamera.