It only seemed natural that former Swedish wrestler, Tor Johnson, would continue his career in bad cinema that he started in the 1950’s after he befriended classic bad filmmaker Ed Wood. And after 1959’s Ed Wood production, PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, which is considered to be something of the CITIZEN KANE of bad movies, Tor Johnson decided to star in Antony Cardoza’s $34,000 Z grade Sci Fi horror film, THE BEAST FROM YUCCA FLATS, as a defecting Soviet scientist with a briefcase of secrets including how the Soviets were able to plant a flag on the moon. But, while attempting to escape some KGB agents during a gunfight, Tor Johnson’s character has the misfortune of stepping onto a U.S. military nuclear testing site which converts him into a radiation burned criminally disturbed monster who has a real penchant for sexually inappropriate conduct with dead or near dead women. By 1961 standards, the level of sexual suggestiveness as well as implied nudity is shocking in this 1954 trash-o-rama production.
Much like a bad Ed Wood production that heavily relies on bad narration by someone like the psychic Criswell, THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS is heavily narrated to carry along the story. And like the bad narration in Ed Wood films, the narration is often pointless, and also often done without complete sentences or thoughts put together.
As much as THE BEAST FROM YUCCA FLATS wanted to be a mainstream Sci Fi horror film, director Francis Coleman’s love for scenes of nudity or implied sexuality seemed to slip in some outlandish moments for such an old film that wasn’t considered to be early soft-core nudie porn.
But, THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS is considered to be the first really bad film of the 1960’s and certainly the worst since Ed Wood’s PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. And if you love Ed Wood’s terrible films, you’ll certainly love this awful Tor Johnson film from 1961 as well. And like Ed Wood’s productions that are plagued with continuity errors, THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS has some absurd moments where some characters that looked to be mortally wounded by gunfire were later seen in film perfectly recovered.
The Bottom Line: An enjoyable bit of trash cinema that’s nearly as laughable as any Ed Wood production. You’ll howl with laughter at some moments of this film which is much like finding a long lost Ed Wood gem. **(Two stars, fair. For unintentional comedy value, this film delivers more than a few good laughs just like you’d expect from any Ed Wood film. The producer and director of this film did a fine job creating a rotten cinema classic here. One of the worst films of all time, is actually enjoyable for all the wrong reasons).