Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)

I had a problem. I knew I would have to do this movie, and that meant I had to watch it.

A couple years ago I started The Beast of Yucca Flats from my Treeline collection and I had to turn it off. I like bad films. I can tolerate many flaws. And I've stuck out movies with no redeeming value (Gore Gore Girls, Killers from Space). But I couldn't finish The Beast.

With Netflix came my solution: watch the MST3k version! My boys and I popped some corn and watched.

Not much to the story. The movie opens with a woman in a towel being strangled to death. It has no baring on the movie and should be completely disregarded. Russian scientist (Tor Johnson) steals secrets and sells them to our agents. When the deal goes down, KGB arrives for a gunfight. Tor drives off into a nuclear test site and is exposed to radiation. Transforming him into the beast. From there, he goes around attacking people vacationing at the nuke test site while a couple cops hunt him down.

Not much of a story, fine. I can deal with that. Here are the issues. The movie was shot silent and all dialog was added in during post production. That mostly worked for Enter the Dragon. But with The Beast, they didn't even have the actors mouth the lines. They covered their mouths or looked away from the camera when they spoke. They could have put an entirely different script together and not have to reshoot. The effect is not having any connection to the actors, and thus, the action.

Add to this an inane narrator. Throughout the move, some numbskull read the worst narration I've ever heard. Nonsensical at best. Oh, that was Coleman Francis, the writer and director? What an idiot. He sucked at everything.

There is a litany of other problems, but it suffers from one primary sin: it's boring. Boring beyond belief. Boring, boring, dull, irrepressibly drab and awful. This movie could not have been saved. Although, I ask this one question: you have Tor Johnson as the beast, but why cast him as the scientist? They could have cast someone with similar features as Tor, then after the blast see him rise as The Beast. That would have been so easy.

IMDB ranks it as 21st worst. I don't believe I've seen any others on the bottom 100, but this ranks number one with me. Thank you MST3k for keeping me from gouging my eyes out. Your version was quite entertaining. AMRU 1.

"Flag on the moon. How did it get there?"

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