THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS (1961) Reviews and free to watch on YouTube

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The Beast of Yucca Flats is a 1961 American sci-fi horror film about a defecting Soviet scientist who is poisoned by radiation and goes on a murder spree.

Written, edited and directed by Coleman Francis. Also known as Atomic Monster: The Beast of Yucca Flats

The movie stars Tor Johnson, Douglas Mellor and Barbara Francis.

The Beast of Yucca Flats was distributed by fledgling independent Crown International Pictures and is now in the public domain so free to watch online

Many critics have characterised it as one of the worst science fiction horror films made. The movie was filmed without a soundtrack. Narration, voiceovers and some sound effects were added in post-production. To avoid having to synchronize the audio to the picture, characters only speak when their faces are either off-screen or not clearly visible due to darkness or distance.

In 2010, a belated splatter-filled sequel was released, Return to Yucca Flats: Desert Man-Beast.

A documentary, No Dialogue Necessary: Making the Beast of Yucca Flats was released in 2011. The trailer is at the end of this overview.

Plot:
Having taken a shower, a woman (Lanell Cado) is strangled by a mysterious man. It is implied that the killer molests her corpse. The identity of the murderer is never revealed and the killing is never discussed after that scene.

Elsewhere in Yucca Flats, Soviet scientist Joseph Javorsky (Tor Johnson) defects to the West. Javorsky is carrying a briefcase with various military secrets, including details of a Soviet moon landing.

Javorsky and his American contacts are attacked by a pair of KGB assassins (Anthony Cardoza and John Morrison). Javorsky flees into the desert, walking for a great distance, and removing much of his clothing.

Having wandered in range of an American nuclear test, the bewildered Russian is transformed by radiation into a mindless beast. He proceeds to kill a couple in their car on a nearby road, prompting pursuit from two police officers named Jim Archer (Bing Stafford) and Joe Dobson (Larry Aten). Meanwhile, a vacationing family ventures along the same road…

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Reviews:

” …shot with virtually no dialogue and overlaid with hilariously pretentious and obtuse narration… the phrase “a flag on the moon” pops up so often it could be used in a drinking game. The most enjoyable aspect of this movie is its remarkably short running time.” AllMovie.com

“… there is barely any dialogue. The movie is mostly just explained by the narrator… a very monotone narrator at that. Some of the stuff he says is just nonsense and sounds like rambling. It is kind of like he was voicing over a nature video and accidentally ended up voicing over a bad sci-fi movie.” Basement Rejects

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“The narration is maddening; it’s alternatively pretentious, cliched, repetitive, opaque and useless, either telling you what you already know, pounding its themes into the ground with a sledgehammer (just how many people are caught in the wheels of progress?), and eschewing full sentences in favor of annoying sentence fragments […] The editing is annoyingly bad and repetitive as well…” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“Tor Johnson, whose utter inability to emote, heroic resistance to gravity’s pull on corpulence, and seeming unawareness to differentiate between real life and fiction make him utterly irresistible to the human eye. I challenge any film critic to watch this film or any of his other classic B film appearances, and state that he dominates the screen like few cinema stars ever have.” Hack Writers

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“There is a kind of bleak hopelessness in the film that I may even characterize as being postmodern. I think that to characterize Beast as a simple B movie that should have been left behind in the 1960s is an unfair treatment […] It is repetitive and obtuse, but still at its core, there is something poignant and indescribable.” Kings of Horror

“The Beat Poet narration and the off-kilter editing unintentionally provoke comparisons with Dementia. The shocking bad taste of the opening scene … involves something from the steamy 1950s underground.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers

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The Beast of Yucca Flats is a thoroughly inept film that makes next to no sense and has massive continuity errors […] Here’s the thing — yes, The Beast of Yucca Flats is bad but you still owe it to yourself to watch it because you will literally never see anything else like it. Plus, maybe you’ll be able to figure out what the whole point of the opening scene is.” Lisa Marie Bowman, Through the Shattered Lens

“A really cheap, quasi-nuclear protest film […] Droning voice-over narration is used in lieu of dialogue as that process proved too expensive. Tor doesn’t have much to do but wander around; his fellow Wood crony Conrad Brooks shows up as a federal agent. Characters spend lots and lots of time climbing up and down the hills.” Videohound’s Complete Guide to Cult Flicks and Trash Pics

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