I have a lot of spare time. These days, this is perhaps my defining characteristic. But this lack of meaningful social interactions affords me just tons of time to scour Netflix for odd little movies to watch. Generally, I’ll make a snap judgement based on either a movie’s cover or title… Sometimes both. So this leads me to frequently watch less than amazing movies with amazing titles like Creep Van or Bikini Girls on Ice, or more recently, the subject of this review, The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue.
I was intrigued right off that bat by the title. You just don’t see much Mole Man related fiction these days, and I really think it’s a completely underutilized creature archetype. Is he a half man/half mole hybrid? Is he just some sort of ninja vagrant who is adept at subterranean living? Was he once a normal man who was bitten by a radioactive mole, and gained mole powers? The concept alone fills me with a sense of whimsy and excitement that I don’t often feel watching low budget horror fare. Mole Man… even the sound of it just rolls off the tongue like poetry. So when I came across this title, I knew I had to watch it. It could be absolutely awful, and it would be ok because FUCKING MOLE MAN!
The story involves 2 brothers who own an apartment building. They are lazy and shady, so the building is constantly in a state of disrepair. The only people left in the building are all either assholes, or weirdos, or Robert Englund. Yeah, this movie has Robert Englund in it. I’m not really even sure if that’s a selling point anymore. I think we’re at the stage in his career that advertising a movie as co-starring Robert Englund is sort of like advertising that there is a Starbucks in your mall. I’m not criticizing him by any means. I actually think he has a good eye for better-than-they-have-any-right-to-be grade z movies, but as a guy who has created perhaps THE most iconic role in all of horror, it’s weird to see him seemingly unable to turn down a script. I will never EVER blame ANYONE for accepting a paycheck, though. I’m pretty sure I’d do much worse things than have a small role in a b-movie, and for much less money.
So the brothers discover that the pets in the building have been disappearing, and upon investigation, find some sort of creature living in their basement using the ventilation system to sneak around the building. They decide that the police would never believe that there was a monster in their basement, so set out to take care of the situation themselves. Of course, they end up way over their heads, and hilarity ensues.
That’s really all there is to the story, but in this movie, the Devil really is in the details. Pretty much every character gets a bit of wacky business. It’s a small cast, but the fact that every character manages to be memorable, if not meaningful, is really pretty great. As I mentioned above, the building is full of a bunch of oddball characters. It makes sense that everyone is a bit off in the building, since when things get bad in a building, the normal upstanding citizens would get the hell out of dodge. This is actually shown at the begining of the film, with a normal family complaining about the sorry state of the building, and moving out. So we’re left with a freeloading stoner, a crazy cat lady, some sort of randomly topless sex worker, and the aforementioned Robert Englund who is sort of a skeezy old womanizer. Quite the motley crew.
The brothers Marion and Jarmon, played by the writers/directors Mike Bradecich and John LaFlamboy, are likeable and relatable, even if they are total scumbag idiots. Despite the unusual situations they find themselves in, they still manage to act like real people. Maybe not GOOD people, but people that might exist in the world. I would definitely be interested in seeing more from this duo, as I think that they do a great job creating a fun world to observe for an hour and 20 mins.
This movie is a lot of fun. I mean, it’s definitely dumb, and slides waaaay more on the humor side than the horror side, but it’s totally entertaining. It has maybe the best use of repeating a singular musical theme throughout the movie since Imperial Teen’s “Yoo Hoo” being played about 100 times in Jawbreaker. But the song here is called “My Foot and Your Ass Are Getting Married”, and it’s pretty much the greatest song ever made. I’ve found myself humming along to it at random points all week. I give this movie a tentative recommendation, based on your own personal tolerance for this kind of dumb simple humor, and how much your bothered by it taking a dip and swimming around in your horror soup. It’s a fun movie with good acting and memorable characters, and the creature effects are surprisingly good for a movie that definitely swings more silly than scary. I’m definitely glad i decided to waste an afternoon farting around on Netflix, because sometimes you get lucky and find something pretty good. Other times, you get stuck with Creep Van.
-written by @JohnnyZontal