Flag on the Moon – Part 2: The Beast of Yucca Flats


Filmed over the course of a year and financed by Tony Cardoza and some of his welding friends, The Beast of Yucca Flats is almost impossible to do justice with the written word. The film stars 400lb ex-wrestler and b-movie legend, Tor Johnson, as Joseph Javorsky, a nuclear scientist who has defected from Russia with sensitive documents about a secret Soviet moon landing. The films opens–after a baffling and completely non-sequitur scene involving a nude woman–with Javorsky being pursued by KGB agents. Eventually the good doctor stumbles into the path of a nuclear explosion (d’oh!) and is turned into the titular “beast” of Yucca Flats.

Pre-Beast Tor

Pre-Beast Tor

The “Beast” (aka, Tor Johnson with ripped clothes and wet toilet paper stuck to his face) terrorizes the inhabitants of Yucca Flats until, with the aid of light aircraft and a posse of vigilantes, the former nuclear scientist is gunned down without trial–a recurring theme in the work of Coleman Francis, as you will see.

There really isn’t much in the way of plot or characters in The Beast of Yucca Flats. Instead there are simply random scenes of people doing various things–mostly nondescript people wandering aimlessly around the desert–strung together in a feeble attempt at something resembling a coherent plot. Because the film was shot without sound, the story is told almost entirely through ever-present narration which is delivered by none other than Coleman Francis himself. It’s this odd, stream of consciousness narration which becomes the film’s most memorable aspect–with Coleman uttering bizarre, solemn quips about “flag(s) on the moon,” folks being, “caught in the wheels of progress,” and other wonderfully pessimistic, pretentious nonsense.

Beast-Tor...Yeah, I can't really tell the difference, either.

Beast-Tor…Yeah, I can’t really tell the difference, either.

For a film which clocks in at well under an hour in length, The Beast of Yucca Flats is an absolute chore to sit through if you are actually attempting to pay attention, but it is notable for at least one reason. Because of the efforts of Coleman Francis, the worst film Tor Johnson ever appeared in was not an Ed Wood production, and that earns at least a bit of respect from this b-movie nerd.


Back to Part 1: Introduction

Part 3: The Skydivers

Part 4: Night Train to Mundo Fine, aka. Red Zone Cuba

Part 5: Conclusion


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