Monday, October 16, 2006

The Beast of Yucca Flats

(1961) **1/2

As a general rule, the less I know about a horror movie going into it, the better. I try to avoid reviews as much as possible to prevent them from influencing my reaction. The Beast of Yucca Flats has made me rethink this approach. All I knew about BOYF was that the premise mirrored that of the Incredible Hulk. Scientist gets exposed to A-bomb radiation, turns into violent monster. I was more than willing to meet this one halfway. But what the box description omits is that this could very well be the worst movie ever made.

The first thing I noticed was the peculiar narrator. While I enjoy a good narration, it dawned on me that there was no dialogue. The narrator explained every scene as it happened and every scene was pretty much the same. "Touch a button, things happen. A scientist becomes a beast" he offers. A minute later he says something like "once a great scientist, now a mere killer". He actually comes up with about a hundred different ways to say the same thing. I thought it may have been a foreign film overdubbed but it sure looked a lot like American actors in California to me. I later learned that the soundtrack was lost in production and the quarter-assed narration was recorded at the last minute.

Then it struck me that the "monster" didn't really have superhuman strength. He strangles one guy, carries a woman around for a while, then drops her. What he doesn't do is smash through any walls or throw any cars. 90% of the movie consists of the monster getting chased through hills while the narrator keeps rambling explanations such as "always on the prowl, looking for someone to kill. Nothing can quench the killer's thirst." When two people are hanging over a cliff's edge, he gives us "one slip and they plummet over the edge" to ponder.

You can't help but compare this movie to Plan 9 From Outer Space. Both even star Tor Johnson. But the major difference is that Ed Wood tried hard and failed every step of the way, while everyone involved in this movie couldn't be bothered with even the slightest bit of effort. So I guess I would recommend this to anyone who loves awful movies.

It must also be brought to your attention that the movie ends with a bunny rabbit inexplicably curling up in the monster's arms. Huuhhh?!?!?!?


JPX said...

Thank you for making me laugh out loud until I went into a coughing fit.

Octopunk said...

Yeah, that was a hilarious review. This is another movie that's featured on MST3K, which in my opinion makes it unviewable without the built-in commentary.

Your courage is legendary, Mr. Isle. Surely the stuff of kings.

Anonymous said...

What about the narrator calling him a "prehistoric monster" what was that about?