Sunday, November 25, 2018

THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS (1961) Full Script and Movie Review

The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961) d. Coleman Francis (USA)(54 min)

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” Joseph Javorsky (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 strategically 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 thirsty pigs.”

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


Opening Credits

(Woman walks into bedroom wearing towel, sits down on bed, gets strangled on bed by mysterious figure, gets laid down on bed by figure)

Narrator: Joseph Javorsky. Noted scientist. Recently escaped from behind the Iron Curtain. Wife and children killed in Hungary. His aide carries a briefcase. Secret data on the Russian moon shot. Joseph Javorsky’s destination: Yucca Flats and a meeting with top brass at the A-bomb testing ground.

(Flight lands, Javorsky comes out, other car drives up)

Narrator: These men are also from behind the Iron Curtain. Two of the Kremlin’s most ruthless agents. Their orders: Get the briefcase. Kill Javorsky.

(Agents shoot at scientists getting off plane)

“Mr. Javorsky! Get in the car!”

(Car drives off, agents in pursuit)

Narrator: Flag on the moon. How did it get there? Secret data. Pictures of the moon. Secret data. Never before outside the Kremlin. Man’s first rocket to the moon.

(Much shooting and car chasing, turning onto Yucca Flats)

Narrator: Yucca Flats. The A-bomb.

(Bomb goes off, mushroom cloud, briefcase on fire)

(Another car drives by on highway)

Narrator: Vacation time. Man and wife. Unaware of scientific progress. 

(Car parks, Beast strangles both)

Narrator: Joseph Javorsky. Noted scientist. Dedicated his life to the betterment of mankind.

(Beast carries girl off, passerby discovers husband on ground)

Narrator: Young Joe Dobson. Desert patrolman.

(passerby approaches Joe at café)

“There’s a man dead. Back down the road.”
“Dead? How far down?”
“Couple miles. Maybe more. Laying behind his car. Looks like he’s been choked.”

Narrator: Joe Dobson. Caught in the wheels of progress. Man choked to death. A woman’s purse. And footprints on the wasteland.

(Joe investigates the crime scene, goes back to car)

Narrator: Touch a button. Things happen. A scientist becomes a beast.

(Beast carries wife around some more. Dobson drives to Jim’s house.)

“Be out in a minute, Joe. (pause) Yeah?”
“Better come with me. Trouble up the road. Murder.”
“Be right down.” (grumpy wife gets up, grumpy wife goes back to bed) “See you later, honey.”

Narrator: Jim Archer. Joe’s partner. Another man caught in the frantic race for the betterment of mankind. Progress. Jim Archer. Wounded parachuting on Korea. Jim and Joe try to keep the desert road safe for travelers. Seven days a week.

(Jim and Joe drive back to crime scene.)

Narrator: Shock waves of an A-bomb. A once-powerful, humble man reduced to… nothing.

(Beast carries wife some more, lays her down.)

Narrator: Joseph Javorsky. Respected scientist. Now a fiend. Prowling the wastelands. A prehistoric beast in the nuclear age. Kill. Kill just to be killing. 

(Beast wanders off)

Narrator: The mouth of a cave over a thousand feet up over jagged cliffs. A man murdered. A woman’s purse. Jim and Joe pick their way upward to the mouth of the cave. One slip… and a thousand feet to nowhere.

(they discover the woman)

“Well, there’s the owner of the purse.”
“Yeah. Let’s take her down. Might still be alive.”
“Yeah, she’s still breathing. Careful with her arm, Joe.”
“Hey, Joe. Here, feel her pulse.”
“Well, doctors can’t help her. Maybe angels. But not doctors.”

(they carry her down)

(Outside coffee shop) “Paper, mister?” (Headline reads “Beast Kills Man and Wife”) “Get your morning paper!”

Narrator: Vacation time. People travel east, west, north, or south. The Radcliffes travel east with two small boys. Adventurous boys.

(They pull into car station, gas attendant lies on chaise lounge, feeding sandwich to dog)

Narrator: Nothing bothers some people. Not even flying saucers.

“Come on, Art. Let’s get some soda pop!”
“Hey, mister? Do you mind if we bother you a minute?”

(attendant gets up)

Narrator: Boys from the city, not yet caught in the whirlwind of progress, feed soda pop to the thirsty pigs. Coyotes, once a menace to travelers. Missile bases run ‘em off of their hunting grounds.

“How much I owe you?”
“Three dollars.”
“Boys! We’re leaving!”
“Mom. We saw some real pigs.”
“Yeah, and a coyote.”
“Don’t you be playing with coyotes. Now come on. We’re leaving. Come on.”
“Aw, we never get to have any fun.”

Narrator: 110 in the shade… and no shade. Jim and Joe try to make their way up to the plateau. To reach the top, a man needs an airplane. A jump from a plane could land you on top. But the killer’s not on the plateau. Hours in the broiling hot desert sun, with no trace of the killer. To put Jim Archer’s paratroop training to good use is the only answer. A trip up into the skies and jump. And if the killer is on the plateau, kill him.

(Jim and Joe drive to airstrip, pass the Radcliffes, Radcliffes’ tire blows, they stop, Jim and Joe keep going, Radcliffes stop to fix tire.)

“Hank? I don’t see the boys.”
“I’ll take a look.”

(Jim puts on parachute, gets in plane.)

“Jim, shoot first. Ask questions later.”

(Radcliffes have cigarette by car, heads out of frame)

“Hank, I can’t find them. What do you think we should do?”
“I don’t know, Lois. Stay here, I’ll go out farther. We’ll find ‘em.”

(Hank walks off into desert)

“Randy! Art!”

(Boys wander around. Jim flies in airplane. Hank walks around. Joe drives around.)

“Art! Randy!”

(Boys wander around. Hank wanders around. Lois wanders around and looks sad. Hank crosses “Keep Out Government Property Missile Range” sign, looks sad. Beast wanders around, now with large stick)

Narrator: Always on the prowl. Looking for something, somebody to kill. Quench the killer’s thirst.

(Jim points rifle out airplane window, shoots at Hank, Hank looks disappointed and runs, more shooting, more running, more shooting, more running, Hank falls down side of mountain.)

Narrator: Shoot first. Ask questions later. The pilot dropped his man. If Joe Dobson moves north, Hank will be caught in the middle. An innocent victim caught in the wheels of justice. A man runs. Somebody shoots at him.

(Jim parachutes down. Hank gets up.)

Narrator: Jim Archer, ex-paratrooper. Trained to hunt down his man and destroy him. The hunter and the hunted. With only a few hundred yards between him and the enemy, Jim closes in for the kill.

(Hank walks away, Jim in pursuit. Lois wanders around, Hank finds his way back to the car.)

“Hank! Where are the boys? Why are you running?”
“There’s no time to explain, Lois. Stay here. The boys may come back. Gotta get help.”

(Hank drives off in car)

Narrator: Joe Dobson headed north and met Jim. 20 hours without rest and still no enemy. In the blistering desert heat, Jim and Joe plan another attack. Find the beast and kill him. Kill or be killed. Man’s inhumanity to Man.

(Jim and Joe drive off)

(Hank finds gate, opens it, drives through. Boys wander around.)

“Randy? You think we’re lost?”
“Maybe. I don’t know, Art. Maybe.”
“Let’s go.”

(Lois is sad, cleans her glasses, weeps. Boys find stream.)

“Randy? Is that water down there?”
“I sure hope so.”
“My throat’s dry.”
“Mine too.”

(Boys drink from stream. Beast looks on. Coyote howls. Lois mopes. Boys sit under tree. Beast moves forward and menaces them with stick, chases them, they quickly outrun him, find cave.)

“Where are we?”
“In a cave, I guess. Come on, Art. Be careful.”
“Think that old man can get us up here?”
“Don’t talk about it. Come on.”

(Beast wanders along with his stick, finds mouth of cave.)

“Art! Get back!”
“Agggh! Rarrr. Aggggghhh!”

Narrator: The Beast, finding his victim gone, unleashes his fury.

(Beast throws a rock off cliff, waves arms at sky, lies down in cave. Boys try to sneak past him.)

“Art, come on!” (Beast wakes up.) “Get back!” (They do.)

Narrator: With Hank and some helpful neighbors, the search narrows.

(Lois searches too.)

(Boys sneak past Beast. Beast wakes up and throws another rock, gives chase, it’s close. Jim shoots Beast. Beast falls. Jim and Joe examine body. Beast wakes up, throws them both off. Beast strangles Jim in sleeper hold. Joe shoots him repeatedly. )

“Jim. You okay?”
“Yeah, I’m all right. Come on, let’s go.”

(They walk off)

Narrator: Joseph Javorsky. Noted scientist.

(Boys find mom. Bunny finds Beast. Beast reaches out to touch and/or strangle bunny, and dies. Bunny hops away.)


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