The Beast of Yucca Flats

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The Beast of Yucca Flats
A promotional film poster for The Beast of Yucca Flats
Directed by Coleman Francis
Produced by Anthony Cardoza
Coleman Francis
Roland Morin
Jim Oliphant
Larry Aten
Bing Stafford
Written by Coleman Francis
Narrated by Coleman Francis
Starring Tor Johnson
Douglas Mellor
Barbara Francis
Bing Stafford
Conrad Brooks
Music by Gene Kauer
Irwin Nafshun
Al Remington
Cinematography John Cagle
Lee Strosnider
Editing by Coleman Francis
Austin McKinney
Lee Strosnider
Anthony Cardoza
Distributed by Cinema Associates
Release dates May 2, 1961
Running time 54 mins.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $34,000 (est.)[1]

The Beast of Yucca Flats is a B horror film released in 1961. The film stars Swedish former wrestler Tor Johnson and was both written and directed by Coleman Francis. Some critics have characterized it as one of the worst science fiction horror films made, and one of the all-time worst, even suggesting that it may be worse than Ed Wood's legendarily bad Plan 9 from Outer Space.[2]

The Plot Revolves around a defector Soviet scientist (Johnson), who flees to Yucca Flats, and is turned into a monster by radiation. The film has very little dialogue and most of the speech is done by an omniscient narrator (Coleman Francis).


After her shower, a woman (Lanell Cado) is strangled by a mysterious man.

Elsewhere in Yucca Flats, Soviet scientist Joseph Javorsky (Tor Johnson) defects. Javorsky is carrying a briefcase with various military secrets, including some about a Soviet moon landing. Javorsky and his American contacts are attacked by a pair of KGB assassins (Anthony Cardoza and John Morrison). Javorsky flees into the desert, walking for a great distance, and removing much of his clothing. When he wanders in range of an American nuclear test, the bewildered Russian is transformed by radiation into a mindless beast. He proceeds to kill a couple in their car on a nearby road, prompting pursuit from two police officers named Jim Archer (Bing Stafford) and Joe Dobson (Larry Aten).

Meanwhile, a vacationing family ventures along the same road. After stopping at a service station, the family's two young sons (Ronald and Alan Francis) wander off into the surrounding desert where they eventually encounter and escape from Javorsky. Their father (Douglas Mellor) searches for them, but is mistaken for the killer by one of the police officers, who is searching for the murderer from the air in a small plane. The officer opens fire with a high-powered rifle on the innocent man, who manages to escape.

Eventually the family is reunited and the police shoot and kill Javorsky. A wild rabbit appears and nuzzles his lifeless body.

Production notes[edit]

The movie was filmed without a soundtrack. Narration, voiceovers and some sound effects were added in post-production. To avoid having to synchronize the audio to the picture, characters only speak when their faces are either off-screen or not clearly visible due to darkness or distance. Likewise, during scenes in which firearms are used, the muzzles of the guns are usually out-of-shot when the weapons are fired. Extensive narration is used in lieu of plot points being conveyed through dialogue.[3]

A still shot from the infamous killing scene

The film opens with the strangling murder of a woman (Lanell Cado) who has just stepped out of the shower; it is implied that the killer molests her corpse. The identity of the murderer is never revealed and the murder is never discussed after that scene. The murderer is dressed like Javorsky after the blast, but the murder is never mentioned during the actual film, nor is there any apparent place in the narrative where it could be said to occur. According to an interview by film historian Tom Weaver with the film's producer Anthony Cardoza, the scene was added after the film was complete because director Coleman Francis liked nude scenes. Some prints (such as the one used for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode and the print on YouTube) are edited to show the woman clothed for the duration of the scene (running 00:01:21), with the only nudity being a brief flash of breast as she towels herself in front of a mirror. The 2003 AlphaVideo DVD print has a slightly longer version of the scene (running 00:01:33), where the woman is shown naked as she puts on a pair of underwear, with both breasts visible several times before shown walking out of the room.[4][5][6]

During scenes of gunplay, many characters appear at first to have suffered life-threatening bullet wounds, only to appear in later scenes fully recovered with no visible signs of having been wounded.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Weaver, Tom. "The Fallout From Yucca Flats". Retrieved 2008-04-27. 
  2. ^ Begg, Ken. "The Beast of Yucca Flats". 
  3. ^ Weaver, Tom. "Anthony Cardoza's Tor of the Desert". 
  4. ^ [1] The Astounding B-Monster. “The Grand Tor: Anthony Cardoza recalls the Fallout from Yucca Flats” by Tom Weaver (No date given) WEAVER: The other interior is that very strange pre-credits sequence of a nude girl walking around her apartment and then being killed by the Beast. Why was that shot? ANTHONY: Uh ... Coley liked nudity. That's it! [Laughs] Her name escapes me; she was an Italian girl from New York. I saw her that one time there, and that was it. She was choked by a guy who doubled for Tor Johnson.
  5. ^ The Beast of Yucca Flats (DVD). AlphaVideo. 2003. 
  6. ^ Still images from the film at

External links[edit]