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The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961).

April 8, 2008

The Scoop:
Forget about all the hype about “Plan 9 From Outer Space” being the worst movie of all time. There are plenty of other contenders for that title that are far more deserving, and “The Beast of Yucca Flats” is one of them.

Not only is this writer/director (and bottom-of-the-barrel-scraper) Coleman Francis’ first film (produced by good pal and eternal lead actor Anthony Cardoza), but it also stars the inimitable Tor Johnson. A respected nuclear scientist (played by Johnson, which immediately shoots down any credibility the film might have) wanders too close to an A-bomb test and is turned feral. It’s then up to the local sheriff and a pal to hunt him down.

Or something.

Believe me, after five minutes, you won’t even bother to keep track of the plot anymore. That’s because what plot there is simply involves the actors wandering aimlessly about the desert landscape to no good purpose. And because all the audio got accidentally erased during postproduction, all the dialogue is summarized in nonsensical voice-over narration.

There was nowhere for Francis’ career to go from here but up. So his two follow-up movies — “The Skydivers” from 1963 and 1966’s “Night Train to Mundo Fine” (better known as “Red Zone Cuba”) — are still incompetent in their own right, but at least are a marked improvement over this one. Simply having meaningful action and onscreen dialogue will do that.

Best Line:
“Flag on the moon. How did it get there?”

Side Note:
Between directing projects, Francis tried to make his living as a bit actor, playing blink-and-you’ll-miss-them parts in a number of films, including “This Island Earth” (1954) and “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” (1970).

Companion Viewing:
“The Creeping Terror” (1964).

The Astounding B-Monster’s interview with Anthony Cardoza.
Daddy-O’s Drive In Dirt.

Take a Look:
Thrill to this exciting hand-to-hand combat!

The YouTube gods have blessed us with the entire film. Repay them by watching it, won’t you?

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