The Beast of Yucca Flats

Year Of Release: 1961
Running Time: 54 Minutes
DVD Released By: Image Entertainment
Directed By: Coleman Francis
Writing Credits: Coleman Francis
Filming Location: Saugus, California, Van Nuys, California, Los Angeles, California

Starring: Tor Joihnson, Larry Aten, Bing Stafford, Alan Francis, Ronald Francis, Coleman Francis, Anthony Cardoza, Barbara Francis

Tagline: Commies made him an atomic mutant!

Alternate Titles:
The Atomic Monster: The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)
Girl Madness (1964) (USA: reissue title)
The Violent Sun (1961) (USA: working title)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
According to producer/actor Anthony Cardoza, the rabbit at the end was actually a wild baby bunny who came into the shot unscripted. Tor improvised and kissed the bunny.  There were also several continuity errors in the film.  Interchanging night and day scenes as KGB agents chase Javorski.  During opening car chase, scenery changes from desert to forest to mountains repeatedly.  And last but not least, Randy Radcliffe is referred to as "Andy" in several scenes.

Cast Of Characters
Joseph Javorsky: A scientist who escaped from behind the Iron Curtain with documents regarding the Russian moon shot.  His wife and were killed in Hungary.  He comes to Yucca Flats to have a meeting with the military brass at the A-Bomb testing grounds.  As you can see, he should have brought along some sunscreen.

Joe Dobson: A young desert patrolman.  I feel sorry for him.  It must be horrible going through life without a personality.  He seems to be the only one in this movie that has the ability to aim even a little straight.

Jim Archer: Joe's partner and another all around boring guy.  I seriously have to wonder what it takes to get these two guys excited.  Nothing in this movie seems to anyway.  Someone really needs to hit this guy with a hairbrush too.  He's got the pillow head from hell.

Archer's Woman: She wears low cut nightgowns and doesn't say much.  In fact, this is her only scene in the movie and it only lasted about twenty seconds or so.

Hank Radcliffe: Proud parent of the two biggest pain in the butt kids on the planet.  He gets a flat tire, loses his kids and gets shot at, all in the same day.  It really sucks to be this guy.

Lois Radcliffe: She doesn't say much and mostly just stands around waiting for her kids and her husband to come back.  She'd be better off I think if she left Hank and the kids and hooked up with Archer's Woman, 'cause the men in her life keep runnin' out on her.

The Radcliffe Kids: These two were such a pain in the butt and such bad actors to boot that they didn't deserve a face shot in my review.

Victim #1: I felt sorry for this girl because she got killed in the very first scene of the movie.  I thought she deserved a little recognition for at least showing up on the day of the shoot.  Hell, she probably wasn't even around long enough to have lunch at the catering wagon.  Just as a side note here, the catering wagon on a b-movie set is a guy with a case of Alpo, a can opener, and a box of plastic spoons.  Maybe it's just as well that she did get killed in the first scene.  At least she got to go have a burger or something with the five bucks she made that day.

The Plot

A defecting scientist being chased by the KGB makes his way to Yucca Flats to meet with top military brass so that he can turn over information about the Russian Moon shot.  After a shootout with the KGB and a very slow car chase, the scientist finds himself out in the middle of a nuclear testing ground just as a nuclear test goes off.  The radiation turns him into a mindless beast whose only desire is to kill.

What The Hell???
1. Well the movie's starting out well. The first thing we see is a nekkid chick in the bathroom getting ready for bed after a bath.  There's a loud sound of a clock ticking for whatever reason during this scene.  At least, there was the sound of a clock ticking, until some dude comes up and strangles her to death.  Not sure what all that was about.  I'm also not sure how she could be sitting on the edge of her bed and not see a big insane maniac standing right in front of her until he's got his hands on her throat.  Kind of a shame to waste a perfectly good nekkid chick like that though.  All in all this was a pretty pointless scene that had no realistic place in this movie, especially considering that the beast hadn't even been created yet.  Even aside from that, the beast never left the desert.  So who killed this girl?
2. After Javorsky arrives at Yucca Flats, there is an assassination attempt by the KGB.  You know, I always thought the KGB were super trained killers.  I mean, not only do these guys lack any sense of stealth or discreetness, but they couldn't shoot an elephant off a peanut wagon.  I think the only safe place to be when these guys are shootin' is directly in front of them.  I mean seriously, I feel like I'm watchin' the A-Team or somethin'.  Bullets flyin' everywhere but no one gets hit.  I keep expecting to see Mr. T come poppin' out from behind a tree or something with an M-16 and shoot a circle completely around someone who's standing three feet in front of him.
3. A car chase ensues.  I can't help but notice that the cars look like they're going about fifteen or twenty miles an hour.

4. So the car chase actually ends up in Yucca Flats.  There's a gun battle during which Javorsky takes the briefcase and heads off into the flats.  He just kind of meanders along. He doesn't even run or anything.  Now granted, the guy is 400 pounds, but if I had a couple guys chasing me with guns, I'd make a little more effort to get away.  Then again, those KGB guys are such lousy shots, he probably didn't have anything to worry about anyway.  In the end, the chase didn't really matter though.  A nuclear blast went off and killed the KGB guys and messed up Javorsky pretty bad.

5. The next scene is the strangler again, killing a young couple who stopped along the road with car trouble.  He strangles the guy, and that's cool and all, but when he strangles the girl, you can see that she's still breathing.  He carries her off into the flats for whatever reason.  Maybe he was feeling a bit peckish and needed a light snack.
6. Officer Joe finds the body of the man who'd been choked to death.  He heads into town to report it.  It's hilarious when he does because he sounds more like he's telling his best girl that there's free ice cream down at the beach.  I don't get these people.  They talk about a murder like they were discussing a road kill possum or something.
7. This movie is seriously dark.  It looks like it was shot mostly in the late afternoons.
8. Jim and Joe climb up to the mouth of the cave where "The Beast" is supposedly at.  They find the girl there.  The thing is, they had a hell of a time climbing up there and the narrator said that if they fell, it was a thousand feet down to nowhere.  So how the hell did a four hundred pound beast pack a girl up there so easily?  By the way, when they found her they said she was still breathing, so I guess it wasn't so strange that she was breathing after he strangled her.  Unfortunately, she died about twenty steps out of the cave after they started carrying her out.  Bummer huh?
9.  The Radcliffe's and their two boys show up in town now.  I hope the hell they came into town looking for acting lessons, because they sure could use some.
10.  Traveling along the highway, the Radcliffe's get a flat tire and then their kids wander off.  Now someone explain something to me.  Why the hell is everyone and their brother allowed to wander around in a place where they just had a nuclear test?  Isn't there like tons of radiation all over the place?  Isn't that what turned Javorsky into the beast?
11.  So while Hank Radcliffe is fixing the flat tire, their two monkey kids go wandering off into the desert and Hank ends up having to go out wandering through the flats looking for them.  Unfortunately for the kids, Javorsky finds them first, but not till later on.
12.  Jim is now flying over the flats in a plane looking for the killer.  When he spots Mr. Radcliffe out looking for his kids, he just hangs a rifle out the window and starts shooting at him!  Now this guy's supposed to be a cop, so why the hell is he shooting at someone when he doesn't even know for sure it's the killer?  Funny how much faster you can run when someone's shooting at you too, 'cause Mr. Radcliffe was bookin' hard through that desert when the bullets started flyin'.
13.  I just realized, the Beast seems to be mostly absent in this movie.  He's certainly not around very much.
14.  Jim just tagged ol' Hank after shooting at him at least thirty or forty times out of the plane.  Jim must have been taking shooting lessons from the KGB.
15.  Jim drops out of the airplane and starts tracking Hank.  Hank makes his way back to the car and tells his wife to wait there in case the boys come back and that he's going to get help.  Now what kind of a man leaves his wife standing there at the side of the road while there's a killer on the loose?  What a freakin' cowardly dirtbag this guy is.  Now I hope Jim does nail him.
16.  Javorsky happens upon the kids at a watering hole.  You'd think the water would be seriously radio active after being so close to the nuclear tests.
17.  The kids wander up to the beast's cave.  Now how did they get up to the cave so easily when Joe and Jim couldn't hardly get up the side of the hill without falling to their deaths?  Anyway, the beast comes back to the cave, and finding his earlier victim gone, unleashes his fury.  How does he do this you may ask?  Well, he picks up a great big rock, hucks it down the side of the hill, and then yells really loud.  Scary, isn't it?
18.  Well I guess he wore himself out now, because he's laying down at the opening of the cave sleeping.  Well, he's kinda sleeping.  He keeps waking up and making weird noises.  At least the kids made it out of the cave past him.  Unfortunately, that really woke him up and he started chasing them.  He damn near catches them too.  I'd really like to know how a four hundred pound man can keep up with two little kids and stay right on their heels.
19.  Joe and Jim see him chasing the kids and shoot him.  He plays dead long enough to get Joe and Jim near and then starts beating the snot out of them.  That is, until Joe shoots him in the back like six times.  I guess now that the beast is dead, the movie is over.

20.  No!  We come back to find Mrs. Radcliffe still standing by the road waiting for her kids to come back.  We're also treated to a nice shot of a bunny that wanders on over to Javorsky.  He comes back to life just long enough to pet it, and then he finally dies.  Oh my god!  I can't believe I finally made it to the end of the movie.  Where's my bat?  I know I got it around here somewhere.  Oh there it is!  It's sitting down at the bottom of the page in the ratings section.  Maybe I should wake up just long enough to pet it before I die from boredom.

Thanks to Jonah Falcon who sent me this little tidbit of information.  At least it helps to clear up one stupid thing in this turd of a movie: "According to producer/actor Anthony Cardoza, the rabbit at the end was actually a wild baby bunny who came into the shot unscripted. Tor improvised and kissed the bunny."

Best Quote

"Touch a button...things happen.  A scientist becomes a beast."


- The Narrator talking over the movie. -  (Reviewer's Note: Say action...things happen.  A crappy movie is made.)

Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

The Beast of Yucca Flats
Jim and the Beast settle in for some cuddle time. That is, until that nasty ol' Joe comes around and breaks up the party.

The Conclusion
This was without a doubt one of the lamest movies I've seen since the Death Curse Of Tartu.  The characters in this film were practically non-existent in any real sense, and no effort was made in the least to give even the slightest bit of depth to any of them.  What little acting there actually was, was just horrible.

Tor Johnson gave his usual performance as the beast who grunted and groaned a lot and chased people around at his usual, plodding pace.  The funny thing is, for a movie called The Beast of Yucca Flats, we sure didn't get to see the beast a whole lot.  Mostly we're just subjected to one pointless scene after another and the whole thing just drags mercillesly.

I wanted to like this movie because I thought it would be kinda Ed Wood-like in it's production values, but I was sorely disappointed.  I don't know what the people who made this film were thinking.  I do know that back when this movie was made, cheesy schlock like this made pretty good bank at the theaters, and this movie simply looks like it was thrown together haphazardly, just to take advantage of popularity of the whole radiation monster fad that was popular during that era.

There's really nothing redeeming about this movie at all.  If you do happen to buy it, you'll probably only watch it once and then move on to other more worthy films.  Tor Johnson was just wasted in this one, so if you were thinking about seeing it just for him, you're probably going to be disappointed.

B-Movie Central's Rating: The Bat!

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