Beast Of Yucca Flats, The

Browse by  Genre | Director | Actor
  OpenFlix > Beast Of Yucca Flats, The


Beast Of Yucca Flats, The


English   Country: USA   Year: 1961

Beast Of Yucca Flats, The


Coleman Francis


Tor Johnson




Atomic radiation transforms a defecting Soviet scientist into a rampaging monster. Black & White.

Original copyright 1961 (PA-385-906); no record of a renewal. There is a Mystery science theater 3000 version (PA-735-734) with additional copyright material.


[User Reviews]  [Summary]  [Marketplace]

User Reviews


(Average=2.95 out of 5; Total Number=19)

Minimalist Genius (rating=5)

Less is more. "The Beast" is a 54 minute movie, with no special features.

There are no special effects, sans stock footage of an atomic blast. (The blast is at dusk... while the surrounding action is in bright So Cal daylight :-). The atomic fallout turns Joseph Javorsky, "noted scientist," into a mutant zombie Beast. The rest of the story is... unpredictable. The Beast lives in a cave, amidst a vast distance... yet kids happen to bump into him, and posse pursuers go straight to him. At first glance, they know he must be a killer because a) he's big, b)he has a torn shirt, c) he has some white stuff on the side of his face, d) he moves stiffly. ( a) and d) were also true *before* the atomic blast:-). So the posse shoots this Beast, this casualty of scientific "progress." But then the atomic "Beast" comes back to life (sort of, it's hard to tell:-) to choke the life out of us... and to metaphorically choke our dreams of a brave new world! "The Beast of Yucca Flats" is a reflection of our nuclear age... and a haunting premonition of the future!!

The look of "Yucca" is black and white minimalist. There is no dialogue, minimal "action," and minimal story to get in the way of the awkward images. I really liked it, as a relaxing counterweight to all the overkill in movies since the blockbuster age (Jaws, Star Wars, late 70's and forward). And there is some kind of Ed Wood-esque grasping for larger themes; science and progress are dangerous, cold war paranoia, stamping out someone "different," decline of rugged individualism. "Yucca" is a slapdash "project" and/or odd visionary genius.... or just a blank 50's canvas that you can read a lot into....

And my favorite part was the (hilarious!) narrator -- with his Dragnet serious style voice and philosophical bent. Of the few lines the narrator says (usually to tell us what we already know, or what we just saw for ourselves!), he introduces three or four times: "Joseph Javorsky, noted scientist." Regarding a man standing by his car, he narrates, "caught in the gears of progress." (?!) Adding a twist for a badged posse guy, he states, "caught in the gears of justice." (?!) And for two posse guys climbing a (mild!) hill, "One slip, and it's a thousand feet to *nowhere*."

What does it all mean? I have no idea! But this is a very interesting and entertaining movie!

Straight Out Of Eddiewood (rating=3)

This movie is hilarious it's so bad! If you have trouble finding mistakes in Ed Wood movies-then this movie is a great primer. The movie begins with brief nudity and either a murder, a molestation or a rape-maybe even necrophilia--who can tell-but it has nothing at all to do with the rest of the movie. The dialogue is pratically non-existent-except for an over-the-top narration. Tor Johnson brandishes a giant club, while our hero cops take a girls pulse while carrying her--headed for a cliff that looks to be about ten feet high-where they are worried about falling hundreds of feet to their death. Watch this with friends for a great laugh-everyone can join in and miss nothing. Actually-picture yourself about ten or eleven years old and think--this is the movie you probably would have made!! The highlight is when one of our hero cops in an airplane shoots a father looking for his missing children with the motto-"Shoot first ask questions later" The nuclear test zone is a treat too-not a tree or bush is even slightly damaged-even though the blast has turned Tor into the "Beast"--too many mistakes to mention-but they're all unbelievably bad. This would be a great movie to show to your arty farty acquaintances who love movies like "Claire's Knee"

Not Many Like This One (rating=3)

Now this a movie everyone should see at least once!

A Russian scientist, played by Tor Johnson, is chased into A-Bomb test area by agents when he defects to America. As a result of exposure to radiation, Johnson is turned into a fiend and goes on a rampage. After kidnapping and killing several residents, he is eventually killed.

Most of the movie is in narration which is an indication of the film's low, low budget.


Government security sure has gotten lax at nuclear test sites. It seems like any old defecting Russian nuclear physicist fleeing Soviet agents (who are oddly indistinguishable from American gangsters) can stumble into an A-bomb detonation by accident and turn into a bloodthirsty monster. (You think Stan Lee watched this film before creating the Incredible Hulk?) Meanwhile a vacationing family wanders through the desert as the cops hunt the atomic beast. Tor Johnson (an Ed Wood Jr. fixture) makes a superbly cheesy rampaging mutant, but the film really enters the Twilight Zone when the investigating cops mistake an innocent dad looking for his sons lost in the desert for their target ("Shoot first, ask questions later" is their motto). Supercheap cult director Coleman Francis shot this without sound, dubbing it all in later, and he clumsily cuts away from every actor as they start to speak to hide his handiwork. He hardly had to worry: the flat dialogue and wooden narration is almost absurd enough to distract viewers from his cinematic incompetence. In short, a masterpiece of zero-budget camp with an unbelievably surreal edge.--Sean Axmaker