Sunday, November 18, 2012

THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS (1961) movie review

Beast of Yucca Flats, The (1961) d. Francis, Coleman (USA)

Tor Johnson, the ex-wrestler who attained everlasting infamy in several Ed Wood features, is the nominal “star” of this hilariously misguided cinematic achievement. “Noted scientist” Johnson is ambushed while carrying atomic secrets during a meet-up and chased onto an atomic testing ground. (Oh, sweet irony.) Before you can say Big Bang Boom, the hulking bald-headed brainiac is transformed into a hulking bald-headed maniac with a radiation-scarred visage and a pronounced hindrance in communication skills. Helpless women are kidnapped, kids are chased with sticks and a cuddly bunny bounces in for the greatest closing shot on celluloid.

To cut costs, writer/director Francis elected to shoot without sound and watching his actors’ heads endlessly trimmed out of frame or turning their backs to camera during “dialogue” sequences is a constant source of amusement. But this epic turkey’s true magic lies in its hypnotically poetic non-sequitars espoused by an anonymous offscreen narrator (Francis, naturally). This jaw-dropping, mind-blowing cavalcade of drivel includes such unforgettable gems as “Flag on the moon…how did it get there?” “A man runs. Someone shoots at him.” “Nothing bothers some people…not even flying saucers.” “Touch a button. Things happen.” and my personal favorite, “Boys from the city, not yet caught in the wheels of progress, feed soda pop to the hungry pigs.”

A trashy landmark that must be experienced firsthand to be believed.


  1. I'm telling ya, the narration has the poetic quality of the stream of consciousness style of writing of the beat generation.

    1. (*snaps fingers*) You know it, man.

      Write a comment. Things happen. Reply posted days later, trapped in the wheels of progress. Internet remembers.