Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

OVERLOOKED FILM: THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS (1961)

I was in the mood for a bad movie with Tor Johnson.  I got a very movie with Tor Johnson.

The Beast of Yucca Flats, written, directed, co-produced, edited, presented (whatever that means, but IMDb gives it as a separate credit, and featuring (as narrator, gas station attendant, and man buying newspaper) Coleman Francis, had a budget (I'm guessing here) of just under $3.  In true Mickey and Judy "Hey, let's put on a show!" style, four of the six persons listed as various producers had acting roles in this flick.  One producer also had his brother in a role.  Coleman Francis' two sons were also roped into acting in this turkey. One of the producers served as makeup artist/department.  "Guest Star" Tor Johnson shows up at number 17 (of) 17 in the credits, even though Johnson had the "Starring" role on the movie posters, rather than a "Guest Starring" role.

The movie opens up with a loud and irritating clock ticking effect as naked Lanell Cado pats her face dry with a towel before she is unconvincingly strangled by an unknown person.  This takes one minute 31 seconds of the 53 minute 52 second run time I will never get back.  (For those interested, the nudity takes up all of 27 seconds and -- not to knock Lanell -- is not very interesting and has nothing to do with whatever passes for the plot.

Oh.  The plot.  The movie's tag linen is "Commies made him an atomic mutant!" -- in fancy red type and all caps so you know it's serious.  Tor Johnson plays a defecting Russian scientist caught in an atomic explosion who now roams Yucca Flats as a monster.  That's it.

If you scroll down on the Internet Archive link, you'll see some positive reviews:

  • (T)his is *THE* worst film ever made.  Every single second scrapes at your psyche...My mind will never recover from this unholy torment.
  • (A)void and move to another film and don't look back.
  • (A)t least the set doesn't wobbly [sic] being mostly natural.
  • It has to be one of the most inept pieces of cinema ever made.
  • (T)he most exciting part of the film, the first fifteen seconds.*
  • (M)ind-numbing tedium.  I hope Tor Johnson got paid.
  • Man, from Plan 9 to this?...Budget was $34,000**...Sombody [sic] walked of with $33,900!
And this was about as positive as these reviews got.

You know you're dying to watch this now, aren't you?

Go ahead.  I won't tell.

https://archive.org/details/Beast_of_Yucca_Flats_movie


* Well, there's one Lanell Cado fan, I guess.
** Okay, so my guess of a less than $3 budget was off.

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