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Not Rated
Copyright 1961 Coleman Francis
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 25 March 2001

The Characters:  

  • 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.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

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.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 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!"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note yuccaflats1.wav Narrator: "Flag on the moon - how did it get there?"
Green Music Note yuccaflats2.wav Narrator: "Nothing bothers some people, not even flying saucers."
Green Music Note yuccaflats3.wav Narrator: "Touch a button, things happen. A scientist becomes a beast."
Green Music Note yuccaflats4.wav Narrator: "Jim Archer, Joe's partner, another man caught in the frantic race for the betterment of mankind. Progress."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipyuccaflats1.mpg - 1.9m
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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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 [2] 3 4 5
The Beast of Yucca Flats
Reply #9. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Dameon
OK...This has to be the worst movie ever made!

Trying to figure out why Tor, our beloved beast, can climb up to a plateau that noone else could. And the treacherous climb by Jim and Joe. They got kinda close on that trip! How come they had a hard time and Tor, the BIG man, could climb up there and carrying a women too?!

No what was wrong with Hank. Jimbo shoots at him. Is he hit or what? Bang...down goes Hank. Slides down the hill...lays for awhile. Maybe he was dreaming of his lovely wife and stupid kids. Then gets up holding his wait...his stomach...ooppsss possibly his leg. He limps for a few steps then is running. HMMMMMMMMMM

I give this movie 2 fingers up!
The Beast of Yucca Flats
Reply #10. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by JBails
This movie is mind-blowingly bad. Some of the worst acting in film history, and also the lamest "beast" there is. This is an enjoyable movie, mainly because it is so bad and takes itself so incredibly seriously. The uber-dramatic narrator alone is enough for a few big laughs. It is humerously bad, but at some points just gets boring. So it is far from a good movie, but lacks consistent hilarity as well.
Re: The Beast of Yucca Flats
Reply #11. Posted on January 15, 2008, 12:33:07 PM by The Man
 hot Thumbdown
Re: The Beast of Yucca Flats
Reply #12. Posted on July 23, 2008, 01:12:46 PM by the master
I've gotten this nagging notion that this film could be the most complex film of all time. There are so many subtle yet overflowing layers to this film inter-weaved articulately yet not interfering with one another, only bolstering around the present story of a man changed and monster-like. There is a tip of the iceberg on social commentary to this film, the man in the helicopter shooting the other man tells us the danger of technology, how it dehumanizes situations without feeling, only augmented in the fact that the shooter was in the armed forces, just a slave to orders, the machine-like orders of life. And very deep philosophical elements to humanity such as the continuous mention of the word "progress" especially on the boys who enjoy life and aren't caught up in the world of working. As well current events to the film of the Cold War situtation at its hottest point in '61 with the cuban missile crisis which Coleman would later flesh out even further in Red Zone Cuba and the spiralling dangers of the heating conflict matched to the dangerous escaping spree of the convicts (but that's another analysis for the other film), "flag on the moon" and the peering question of how it appeared, only through progress and conflict between other people could it happen. The very last scene with the man succumbing and a rabbit appearing has multiple dimensions to it. The only non-human thing doesn't fear the "monster" which was created by humans themselves and feared by them, only acceptable by nature and how technology continues to do more harm than good on humanity overriding the one factor that makes humans, humans, they are able to feel not only learn like cold-calculating machines. There's countless Freudian elements like the mother's hopeless search for her sons and Platoic and Lockian ones too on the message of the capitalistic governmment of ours run by as shown sheriffs brought up as the holders of it though their war and transformed home version of the sheriff upholding their view with force oblivious to the darker aspects of their sociology.
Re: The Beast of Yucca Flats
Reply #13. Posted on April 21, 2010, 11:06:00 PM by Fred LeTed
Is this the film where you hear the director call out "Look out for the snakes!"? Lookingup
Re: The Beast of Yucca Flats
Reply #14. Posted on April 22, 2010, 11:38:11 AM by Rev. Powell
Is this the film where you hear the director call out "Look out for the snakes!"? Lookingup

No, that would be EEGAH (1962).
Re: The Beast of Yucca Flats
Reply #15. Posted on April 26, 2010, 10:21:22 AM by Kyle Brinkmann
The Beast Of Yucca Flats is one of my favorite Grade Z Films.

Tor Johnson is my favorite "actor" from Ed Wood's movies.

The narration is worthy of a laugh as are many aspects of the plot.

Anyone watching The Beast Of Yucca Flats should expect something along the lines of The Creeping Terror and Plan 9 From Outer Space not Citizen Kane.
Re: The Beast of Yucca Flats
Reply #16. Posted on April 14, 2011, 08:42:46 AM by HorrorofBob
 :tongueout:Tor:  time for bed to go.  No, that line is from another movie, and in that movie, he actually spoke.  Yes, indeed, the opening scene is sexually titillating whatever that means but has no relevance to the movie except to show Tor's very, very wide ass to the viewing public (be afraid, be very afraid).  The two deputies are great at climbing cliff walls and one of them humps the wall as he climbs up. 
Mommy is rather pitiful as she looks for her two idiot boys and Daddy leaves her completely alone while the utterly mad Tor wanders around.  Daddy is the one shot at for apparently no reason at all.
Overall, there was no reason for this movie to be made by anyone at any time.  That is why I like it.   Thumbup
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