krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
I suppose I'm getting back into familiar routines by looking at another Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode. Picking up where I left off, I'm taking in "The Mole People." In the tradition of "Revenge of the Creature" and "The Leech Woman," it's another black and white 1950s science fiction movie opening up the eighth season of the series.

After Crow becomes a "space child" (briefly) and Pearl Forrester enforces the merriment of "Lawgiver Daze" (including a bake sale the Satellite of Love caters), it's on to the movie... or rather, on to the introduction to the movie, which features a gesticulating professor trying to explain various "hollow Earth" theories, all of them on a much larger scale than what we get in the movie itself. As the action itself picks up at last, four archeologists led by the talkative John Agar (and also featuring Hugh Beaumont from "Leave It To Beaver") discover ancient Sumerian artifacts in a mountainous part of Asia. They climb a mountain at great length ("Will Steger leads another pointless expedition." "Avalanche footage! Run!") to find a temple, but the ground promptly crumbles under one of them and he plummets into the earth. ("He didn't even make it to the second plot point!")

The remaining archeologists climb down ropes at great length, and if you think the piton they're using is about to pull out you'd be wrong: the native guide following them tries to pound it back in, only to cause a cave-in. The oldest of the archeologists starts taking this badly (and gets called a "load" by the "riffers" for his trouble), but after some wandering ("Very shrewd shooting in the dark. No props, no sets, no actors...") the survivors have been captured by an underground civilization inhabited by black-haired, ghostly pale people in peculiar costumes. ("It's gotta be humiliating to be tortured by a Smurf.") Despite being of Sumerian descent, their structures have plenty of Egyptian hieroglyphs on display; there are also humpbacked creatures who might be the "mole people" if the pale people endlessly whipping them aren't. In any case, creatures much like them had appeared in "Deep 13" itself seasons before.

John Agar, aided by his flashlight ("Come on, plenty of D cell for everybody."), romances the blonde throwback slave Adal and winds up inspiring a "mole people" rebellion. ("Guys! No insurgencies in the house!") There's a fairly obvious twist involving what the pale people use to sacrifice their surplus population, which raises the question of why they couldn't have just gone back to the surface while they still could have thousands of years before. John Agar, his blonde girlfriend Adal, and Hugh Beaumont all make it back to the surface, but in a much more surprising plot twist, an (apparently) convenient earthquake kills Adal right before the end credits. ("You had so much to talk down to me about...")

Things pick up throughout the setup, the climbing up, and the climbing down to make for an entertaining episode down in the peculiar underground world. Along the way, "host segments" include Mike trying to be the "gesture professor," Tom trying to explain via song what he did in the five hundred years between the seventh and eighth seasons, and Crow conducting his own archeological dig on the Satellite of Love to remember what he did in that time. This seems to sort through some "amnesia" he showed in the first two episodes that left me a bit puzzled when it was alluded to in a MSTing written around this time.

July 2017

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