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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

31 Days of Halloween 2016 - Day 13

The Beast of Yucca Flats
1961
Coleman Francis

After a seemingly random strangulation, a defective defecting Soviet scientist by the name of Joseph Javorsky (Tor Johnson) is on his way to deliver military secrets, including a secret moon landing. Javorsky is attacked by KGB agents, but escapes into the desert. He somehow wanders too close to a nuclear bomb test and becomes a drooling inarticulate monster. He kills a young couple and kidnaps a woman. A family is vacationing in the area and their two dimwit sons wander off into the desert, only to be threatened by the deranged scientist. Hank (Doulas Mellor), their dad, goes looking for them, only to be mistaken for the monster by some cops who are terrible at their jobs.

The Best of Yucca Flats is proof that you can’t just film a bunch of random moments, and try and string it all together with an incessant voice-over. The narration tries to convince the viewer this whole movie is about amazing Soviet secrets, when really it’s just people stumbling around the desert. The film has no dialog spoken on screen, any talking is done with the characters conveniently having their back turned or their mouth off camera. There is a pointless nude strangulation scene at the beginning that has no connection to the rest of the movie. There is also a  shot stolen straight out of North by Northwest (1959). Tor Johnson is really the only reason to put up with any of this, but the movie can’t even give us the satisfaction of seeing him smush up a couple of irritating children. On the plus side, it’s less than an hour long.

Today's Really Quite Tasty History Lesson:
The Atomic Cake Controversy of 1946

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