Film Review: The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)

Release Date: May 2nd, 1961
Directed by: Coleman Francis
Written by: Coleman Francis
Music by: Gene Kauer, Irwin Nafshun, Al Remington
Cast: Tor Johnson, Douglas Mellor, Barbara Francis, Bing Stafford, Conrad Brooks

Cinema Associates, 54 Minutes


Say what you will about Ed Wood but Coleman Francis makes him look like Peter Jackson. Luckily, for the sake of humanity, Francis only directed three films. The Beast of Yucca Flats is the first in his trilogy of cinematic diarrhea.

The film stars Tor Johnson, most famous for being a professional wrestler and the favorite monster brute of Ed Wood. He is just as lifeless and uncharismatic as he has ever been in Wood’s pictures. The rest of the cast is made up of people you will hope to never see again with a cameo and narration by director Coleman Francis.

The story is about a defecting Soviet scientist with a briefcase full of secrets. His American contacts are murdered by KGB agents, causing the scientist to flee into the Nevada desert. While wandering for a great distance, he is exposed to radiation on a nuclear test sight. The exposure turns him into a mindless killer brute with a skin condition that looks like a cosmetic facial mask that has been left on for far too long. And then he just grunts a lot, carries a big stick and moves with the speed of a slug caught in tree sap.

This is one of the dullest and least exciting movies I have ever seen. It is literally terrible in every way. The editing is probably the worst thing about the picture. The Beast of Yucca Flats transitions from scene-to-scene like a brick to the face. The sound is almost as bad as the editing. Honestly, you could write every aspect of a film down on a piece of paper, throw them in a hat and pull one out randomly and it could make an argument for worst thing about this movie.

In an effort to be objective, I guess I should point out a positive. So the one positive is that The Beast of Yucca Flats is only 54 minutes long. If I have to come up with a second positive, I should mention that it was featured in a really good episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Rating: 1.75/10