Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Steve Stones' take on Beast of Yucca Flats

The Beast of Yucca Flats - Flag On The Moon. How Did It Get There?

The Beast of Yucca Flats is a low-budget sci-fi film that has the potential to grow on you in time. Many film critics regard it as one of the worst, if not the worst, films of all time. It's likely those critics have not seen the film entirely, or watched it a number of times. It is certainly worth viewing more than once.

Of course the greatest attraction of The Beast of Yucca Flats is 300 pound plus Swedish wrestler turned actor - Tor Johnson. Tor starred in a number of low-budget sci-fi, horror films, beginning in the mid 1950s into the early 60s. Three of these films were directed by eccentric cult director Ed Wood in Bride of The Monster (aka Bride of The Atom). Plan 9 From Outer Space and Night of The Ghouls.

Tor plays a Russian scientist named Joseph Javorski, who has defected and is chased into the Nevada desert by Communist spies during an atomic test. The spys are determined to obtain his breifcase with plans for a secret space expedition. An atomic explosion turns Tor into a monster as he wanders out into the desert, trying to get away from the spies. A narrator repeats meaningless philosophical rantings like: "Flag on the moon. How did it get there?" and "Joseph Javorski. Noted scientist. Caught in the wheels of progress." The film was directed by Coleman Francis without any sound, so little dialogue occurs.

Tor chases two young boys, played by Francis' sons, with a big stick and strangles a woman in her car. He later chews on her hair and sleeps in a cave. The film ends with a rabbit licking Tor's face as he lies on the ground from gunshot wounds. The film has to be seen to be believed. It's an exercise in amateur, penniless filmmaking.

Don Post Studios in Hollywood later made a hugely successful Tor Johnson Halloween mask in the 1960s, which has proven to be one of their best sellers. His face has become as iconic as other horror legends, such as Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. Happy Viewing!

Please see Doug Gibson's article about this film, also on this web-site.

Steve D. Stones

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