Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K as it will henceforth be known) has always been considered largely a cult hit among audiences. If that is the case, then it’s something of a surprise that to this day, it is still such a massive hit among not just its original audiences, but a whole new generation of audiences. That is thanks to the good people at Shout! Factory. And thanks to those same people, fans of this timeless show have yet another brand new volume of so bad they’re good b-movies to enjoy along with Joel, Mike, Tom Servo, and Crow T. Robot.
Everything that’s been said about this show has already been said twenty-five times over and then some. But it would be impossible to go into this latest set of episodes without reminding audiences that this show is just one part of what used to make Syfy (then SciFi Channel) so great. As already noted, the movies presented in this classic cult show are so bad that they’re good. Though, it’s great to see many of Universal’s classic monster and sci-fi movies resurrected here. They’re just part of the show’s success. And this latest set also includes another of those classic Universal movies in the form of The Mole People. This movie features actor Alan Napier, who many might recognize as Alfred Pennyworth from the classic Batman TV series. It’s one of those movies that fans of Svengoolie would definitely have on his show on Me-TV on Saturday nights. The movie itself takes the heroes into the interior of the Earth, where they discover an ancient civilization of people who worship the goddess Ishtar. But they aren’t the only ones that the heroes have to face. The mole people are there, too. And they are a danger to everyone. The movie itself is pretty campy on the surface. That’s not bad. But the bonus “Making of” feature included with this movie really makes it worth the watch. It is a bonus in every way. It discusses the deeper, more social take on the movie. Those interviewed in the feature discuss how the white guards flogging the darker mole people who “came from below” was a commentary on the America’s racist past. Speaking of racist views, it’s interesting to learn that scenes involving a man and woman from different ethnic backgrounds being together were edited out by censors, since this was released in the 1950’s. These are just a couple examples of what make this “making of” feature a true bonus and why it makes this movie even more of an interesting addition to this latest set. It’s one more example also of the impact of bonus features on a movie.
The Mole People is just one of the movies in this set featuring an underground world. The absolutely campy 1988 movie, Alien From L.A. also takes place in a world just beneath the Earth’s surface. It stars a then very young Kathy Ireland. Ireland was actually in her mid-twenties at the time that this movie—which was also her very first ever feature film–was filmed, though she was playing the role of a teen. Ireland stumbles into the underground world when she sets out to find her lot archaeologist father (played here by Richard Haines). In the process, Wanda (Ireland) is transformed from a plain, whiny, high pitched girl to a beautiful supermodel style figure. And during her time in the underground world, she uncovers an evil government plot to keep the people of the world to know about the surface world. As campy as the movie is, the interview with director Albert Pyun raises an interesting note. Pyun notes in his interview that part of his intent in the movie was examining the feeling of what was a young girl having the feeling of an adult being trapped in a girl’s body, thus the transformation. Just as interesting to note in his interview is that he admits that he had never seen Mystery Science Theater 3000 before the show’s heads announced that this movie would be featured. Pyun also discusses plenty of other matters centered on the movie. But audiences can check out all of that for themselves when they pick up the brand new box set for themselves. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/216588.
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