One of the many fun things about the late, great "Mystery Science Theater 3000" was their annual all-day Turkey Day Marathons for Thanksgiving. Hour after hour after hour of bad movies -- what's not to love? So this year we're doing a Desuko Turkey Day Marathon of our own -- five days of Desuko reviews of movies that have been featured on MST3K. Here's experiment #621, "The Beast of Yucca Flats." (Originally published April 8, 2008):
Forget about all the hype about "Plan 9 From Outer Space" being the worst movie of all time. There are plenty of other contenders for that title that are far more deserving, and "The Beast of Yucca Flats" is one of them.
Not only is this writer/director (and bottom-of-the-barrel-scraper) Coleman Francis' first film (produced by good pal and eternal lead actor Anthony Cardoza), but it also stars the inimitable Tor Johnson. A respected nuclear scientist (played by Johnson, which immediately shoots down any credibility the film might have) wanders too close to an A-bomb test and is turned feral. It's then up to the local sheriff and a pal to hunt him down.
Believe me, after five minutes, you won't even bother to keep track of the plot anymore. That's because what plot there is simply involves the actors wandering aimlessly about the desert landscape to no good purpose. And because all the audio got accidentally erased during postproduction, all the dialogue is summarized in nonsensical voice-over narration.
There was nowhere for Francis' career to go from here but up. So his two follow-up movies -- "The Skydivers" from 1963 and 1966's "Night Train to Mundo Fine" (better known as "Red Zone Cuba") -- are still incompetent in their own right, but at least are a marked improvement over this one. Simply having meaningful action and onscreen dialogue will do that.
"Flag on the moon. How did it get there?"
Between directing projects, Francis tried to make his living as a bit actor, playing blink-and-you'll-miss-them parts in a number of films, including "This Island Earth" (1954) and "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" (1970).
"The Creeping Terror" (1964).
The Astounding B-Monster's interview with Anthony Cardoza.
Daddy-O's Drive In Dirt.
Take a Look:
Thrill to this exciting hand-to-hand combat!
The YouTube gods have blessed us with the entire film. Repay them by watching it, won't you?
The MST3K version: