Friday, June 29, 2012

MST3K: Episode 621 - The Beast of Yucca Flats

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Episode 621: The Beast of Yucca Flats

First aired: Comedy Central on 21 January 1995
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon DVD (Volume 18), Shout Factory (Volume 18), Shout Factory (Volume 18), Best Brains (Volume 18)

Tor Johnson plays the Beast. Yucca Flats appears in an uncredited role.
Coleman Francis.

That should be enough to scare off most people.

Tor Johnson.

That should be enough ... well, Tor Johnson is actually pretty cool. Not an indicator of a good movie, but if Tor Johnson is in it, it's probably worth a look, just because he's there.

So, we have a huge negative: a Coleman Francis film. We have a positive: a film with Tor Johnson.

Which one wins?

Well, it's Coleman Francis, so nobody wins.

So, what's The Beast of Yucca Flats all about?

"Why did they call this 'Flats?' I get the 'Yucca' part."
A woman gets out of the shower and is strangled and raped (in that order), then we have an apparent flashback where Russian scientist Tor Johnson defects to the U.S., but is followed by KGB agents, so he runs off and winds up on an atomic testing ground where a big old atom bomb makes a big old boom and turns Tor Johnson into a big old monster, so then he goes around the countryside killing people (and, based on the opening scene, engaging in a little necrophilia), which the police don't like so they go hunting for him using coffee, cigarettes, and airplanes -- this is a Coleman Francis film, after all -- but two kids wander off from their parents so Dad goes looking for them, but the police think the little wormy guy is Tor Johnson so they try to shoot him from an airplane, but eventually all that sorts itself out, the kids are found, and Tor Johnson is gunned down and a bunny nuzzles him. The end.
Proof that Douglas Mellor is no Cary Grant and Coleman Francis is no Alfred Hitchock.Tor Johnson dies, but the little fluffy bunny rabbit hops over and gives him a little nuzzle.
The riffing is great. So there's that. But the movie isn't good. No, sir, it's not good at all. Go watch The Beast of Yucca Flats online now, if you don't believe me. Trust me, you want to see the MST3K version.

The production values are, well, comparable to your average Coleman Francis film. The sound didn't work, so they relied on narration and dubbing in post-production. They covered it by having off-camera, or distant, indistinct characters do most of the talking. Heck, I've done better with a silent hand-held and a cassette tape recorder. Really.

Short film, so it gets a short subject to go along with it. One starring Benjamin Franklin's Shadow. It's called Money Talks, but it's Ben Franklin's Shadow that does most of the talking. Then, as if that wasn't enough, they have another short, about Puerto Rico. Didn't make me want to go.

I didn't enjoy the shorts so much. Some okay riffing. But the movie? Fantastic. Not the movie, but the riffing.

Bad movies. Don't watch them alone. Be sure to bring along your temp and robots.

1 comment:

  1. Gotta say, I found the movie so painfully awful it was hard to enjoy the riffing.


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