The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)

beast of yucca flats poster 1961 movie tor johnson
1 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 1/10
Visuals: 1/10

So bad it is good quality

Everything you could do to make a monster movie bad is done

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Beast of Yucca Flats

Studio:  Cinema Associates

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  May 2, 1961

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Tor…I mean Beast crush with rock!

A Russian scientist named Joseph Javorsky (Tor Johnson) defects to the United States and is pursued by assassins.  Joseph is pursued into Yucca Flats where he is accidentally caught in a nuclear explosion test.  Driven crazy by the radiation, Javorsky begins a killing spree that only officers can stop.

Directed by Coleman Francis, The Beast of Yucca Flats is a B-Movie sci-fi horror film.  The movie is readily available online and is a cult hit due to the low-budget nature of the film.  The movie was featured in season 7 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K 7.21).

The Beast of Yucca Flats is considered by some to be the worst movie in existence (even worse than Plan 9 from Outer Space).  The opening sequence involves the murder of a woman…AND IT NEVER COMES BACK TO RELATE TO ANYTHING IN THE STORY!  A man just comes in and strangles a woman…what it means, who it is, isn’t explained.  If it were particularly well acted or shot, that would be one thing, but it isn’t even that (though it is better shot than much of the rest of the movie).


Tor…I mean Beast not dead…You die now!

The next big problem with The Beast of Yucca Flats is that there is barely any dialogue.  The movie is mostly just explained by the narrator…a very monotone narrator at that (this narrator is actually the director Coleman Francis).  Some of the stuff he says is just nonsense and sounds like rambling.  It is kind of like he was voicing over a nature video and accidentally ended up voicing over a bad sci-fi movie.

Tor Johnson is the “driving force” behind Yucca Flats and that says something.  People often complain about the acting ability of former athletes but they can run circles around former wrestler Tor Johnson (literally…he’s very slow…his escape into the desert could have been stopped by a couple of guys walking after him in a medium pace).  He’s big, he’s lumbering, but not intimidating at all.


Tor…I mean Beast like bunny

The movie about half way through its less than an hour run time, introduces a family, and the kids get lost in the desert.  The kids wander around and encounter Tor but Tor is so big and slow that they are able to just run away every time that he gets near.  The biggest danger for the two children is just getting lost in the desert (and finding the mother who is left standing at the side of the road by her husband).

I would call it a spoiler alert, but it is hard to spoil a movie like this.  The ending of The Beast of Yucca Flats cracks me up.  Tor Johnson is gunned down, lying on the ground…still moving.  A rabbit hops up, and he’s still moving.  It isn’t a trick to make you question if he is dead or not, I think he just couldn’t stop moving.

Check out The Beast of Yucca Flats…at under an hour it isn’t much of a commitment and since it is public domain it is widely available online for free.  Bad movies are sometime an art themselves and you can be amazed by how hard a director, actors, and everyone involved had to work to actually make something turn out so awful…you question if the director turned to a cast member and say “bring it down…you are too good for The Beast of Yucca Flat”.  I doubt that it happened, but you hope than they are not really that bad at what they do.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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