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The Beast of Yucca Flats

USA 1961
produced by
Anthony Cardoza, Coleman Francis, Ronald Morin (executive), Jim Oliphant (executive), Bing Stafford (executive)
directed by Coleman Francis
starring Tor Johnson, Douglas Mellor, Barbara Francis, Bing Stafford, Larry Aten, Linda Bielema, Ronald Francis, Alan Francis, Anthony Cardoza, Bob Labansat, Jim Oliphant, John Morrison, Eric Tomlin, Jim Miles, George Prince, Conrad Brooks, Graham Stafford, Lanell Cado, Coleman Francis
written by Coleman Francis, music by Gene Kauer, Irwin Nafshun, Al Remington

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Professor Joseph Javorsky (Tor Johnson) is a Russian scientist who has defected to America, and with him he brings photographs from the moon, from some secret Russian moon mission. Naturally, KGB-agents are behind him to kill him and retrieve the photos, but during the chase, they all get into an atomic testblast, which turns Javorsky into a murdering beast.

When highway patrolmen Jim & Joe (Bing Stafford, Larry Aten) find one of the bodies the beast had left behind, they try to track him down by foot, but soon realize that the plains are too vast to cover for only the two of them ... so they take to the air, and with no warning open fire on the first civilian they see on the ground. Unfortunately, this civilian is not the beast but Hank Radcliffe (Douglas Mellor), who is desperately looking for his sons (Ronald & Alan Francis), who somehow got lost in the desert - and the cops almost kill poor Hank too.

Ultimately, Jim and Joe decide to hunt down the beast by foot again, and before long they have tracked him down too and see him going after the two boys. So Jim and Joe shoot the beast. End.

 


Now this synopsis might not sound like much, just another trashy monster flick. In fact though, this hardly begins to describe what Beast of Yucca Flats really is: It's one of these so-bad-it's-unbelievable films, that is reminiscent of Ed Wood's best/worst films not only because of castmembers Tor Johnson and Conrad Brooks. There is also an off-screen narrator proclaiming an insane monologue like there's no tomorrow. Choice Samples: "Vacation Time - Man and wife, unaware of scientific progress." - "Touch a button, things happen. A scientist becomes a beast." - "110 in the shade, and no shade." - "A man runs, somebody shoots at him."

Another feature that makes Beast of Yucca Flats rather unique is that it was obviously filmed silent with dialogue dubbed over it later. But to not have to worry about dialogue being in sync with lip movements, the characters only talk when they are either not in the shot at all or too far away from the camera for their lip movements to be intelligable or (and that's my favourite) when their backs are turned. So in this film you have an amazing number of actors who walk out of a shot before they begin to talk and an amazing collection of backs of heads, which makes the film a very unusual experience.

Still be warned, if bad, atrocious films are not your thing, you might hate this one, but for bad movie lovers it's a hell of a good time.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD