|THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS
|Copyright 1961 Coleman Francis
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 25 March 2001
- Jim Archer - Member of the local sheriff's office who served as a paratrooper in Korea; he has some problems understanding the basis of our legal system. Blessed with a darn ugly wife and nappy hair too.
- Joe Dobson - Another sheriff's deputy.
- Hank - Just your average family man on a vacation, though it seems to have been ruined (being shot at by accident does that).
- Art and Randy - Hank's idiot kids; how they wandered far enough to get lost in open scrubland is beyond me.
- Hank's Wife - I'm guessing he had some serious beer goggles going the night that marriage took place.
- Joseph Javorsky - Tor! Supposedly a defector from Russia with secret information about their space program, a nuclear bomb test transforms him into a savage mutant. Actually it just looks like Tor with oatmeal on his face, but work with me here.
|Things are looking bad when I pull out my thesaurus to find other words that mean "inept." In my opinion this movie does not have any problems, it is a matter of fact that this movie has lots of problems. We will examine the first scene as an example.
A woman is drying off after her shower, providing any young males with a sneak peek at the female anatomy of course. Black and white works wonderfully at accenting the human body as a form of art, but in this case I think we can safely assume the goal was a bit more base. It comes across very clinical and cold and I was not blessed with the wiring required to enjoy a sexual thrill while watching an autopsy. The scene also features a loudly ticking clock, the only sound you hear during the entire piece. A clock ticking! Tor walks in and strangles the girl to death and all we hear is a clock ticking the entire time. It might have waxed louder, but this perception could have been a defense mechanism invoked by my ID. At best the piece seems out of place, since it doesn't belong at the film's beginning and (in fact) there isn't a place to insert its occurrence within the remainder of the story. In other words: I don't know why this scene is here.
Meanwhile, in an alternate reality, Javorsky's plane has just landed at a remote airport where KGB agents ambush the group. Evidently he was carrying secret information about a Russian spacecraft that landed on the moon. Forget the fact that in those days the space race was a huge show of bravado from either side, an international version of arm wrestling to be honest. This would have been just four years after Sputnik and eight years before Apollo 11. I don't think the Russians would (or could) have kept such a feat quiet, though they would have been tight-lipped about the technology that made it possible.
Where was I? Oh, a car chase with the two KGB agents pursuing Javorsky's vehicle. You would expect better protection measures to be in place, anything to prevent two lightly armed men from threatening national security. You are better rooted in reality than both the screenwriter and director. They were using pistols for crying out loud! If just one of the good guys had a BAR or Thompson then it was probably all over.
The chase finally ends, unfortunately for the ponderous defector, near a nuclear bomb test. No blockades were put into place along the roads leading to the test area? Um, wow. Russia's finest are so close as to be subject to an immediately lethal dose of radiation, while Javorsky regresses into a mindless beast.
Two unsuspecting travelers are the first victims, the girl strangled unconscious then carried away and her husband killed. Around now the narrator's obsession with the word "progress" becomes apparent, though he will grow tired of it about halfway through the film. Man turned into monster - progress. Two people throttled - progress. A deputy is called to investigate a murder - progress. What in the world?
I did not mention the narrator earlier; I'm sorry. As soon as the inexplicable opening scene is over he manifests like some evil spirit and never leaves. If you desire to exorcise him then I suggest pointing the Holy Remote Control of Antioch at the entertainment center and pressing the mute button, but you'll miss some choice dialog. What flows forth from the speakers is completely absurd and some of the funniest stuff ever uttered in a completely serious voice.
Not to say that the actors never speak, but it is rare event. When they do speak the camera is not aimed at the speaker. Watch two people talking, the camera lingers on the person listening and when they are ready to say something it changes to the other individual. The only times a character is speaking on camera they have their backs to the audience. Between this and the narrator's enhanced role it encourages the idea somebody goofed up and lost the original soundtrack.
The dynamite law enforcement team of Jim and Joe are soon on the case, following the beast's trail to a inaccessible plateau. It is so rigorous that they decide Jim will parachute in, then perform a search and destroy mission. This is bad for Hank, he made the mistake of taking the well traveled road over the plateau and breaking down en route. While fixing the tire both of his kids get lost, forcing him to search in the area that Jim is flying over.
Pick your jaw up, because sure as the sun rises in the East, the deputy starts shooting at Hank from the plane. Jim fails to remember that a public road (or two, along with some power lines) crosses the "inaccessible" plateau, nor does he know what the killer looks like, but he opens fire. Hehehehehe! Our suffering family man escapes and jumps back into his car, leaving the wife behind in case the boys return.
While their dad drives into town looking for help and a dictionary to look up "courage" in the two boys are wandering around the desert. Of course they cross paths with the killer and soon Tor is walking after them with murder on his mind. He walks after the two fleeing children, who are barely able to avoid his grasping hands. I'm not kidding darn it! The two deputies arrive just in time and shoot the beast to death, a rabbit gives Tor kisses, the end.
Clumsy and idiotic (hooray for the thesaurus) as all this sounds it is very amusing, because it is presented in such a serious manner. You know these people were trying their hardest to make a statement, but are unable to stop laughing at either the narrator talking about flying saucers or Tor throwing a rock. There's also the fact that whoever framed most of these shots was certifiably insane. People's faces constantly bob out of frame and it just seems all wrong. Point your finger and laugh. It is funny to see someone less fortunate than ourselves, especially when it's their own fault.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Women wear shoes when they shower.
- Nuclear testing grounds should be clearly marked.
- Radiation poisoning causes necrophilia.
- Confucius say: "Fat man should not hide behind little shrub."
- Radiation sickness causes deafness.
- Dead men will roll around until they are lying comfortably.
- Rabbits are scavengers and feed on carrion.
- 1 min - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
- 5 mins - Who is shooting? Maybe the car is backfiring?
- 14 mins - I think this is supposed to be taking place at night.
- 22 mins - You should not move someone who has a neck injury. Oops, she died.
- 28 mins - The law is "innocent until proven guilty" not "innocent until shot."
- 32 mins - How did he end up on the wrong side of the "keep out" sign?
- 35 mins - He didn't work the action on that rifle correctly!
- 40 mins - "Somebody was shooting at me, you stay here and look for the kids, I'll be back, bye!"
- 46 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A ROCK!
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Narrator: "Flag on the moon - how did it get there?"
||Narrator: "Nothing bothers some people, not even flying saucers."
||Narrator: "Touch a button, things happen. A scientist becomes a beast."
||Narrator: "Jim Archer, Joe's partner, another man caught in the frantic race for the betterment of mankind. Progress."
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|The narrator tells us that Tor is showing his fury here. I'm sorry, must have missed that part, all I saw was him toss a rock and then make unintelligible noises.
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