music friday: the clash
film fatales #74: american factory (steven bognar and julia reichert, 2019)

the beast of yucca flats (coleman francis, 1961)

Another movie for "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2019-20", "A 33 week long challenge where the goal each week is to watch a previously unseen feature length film from a specified category." This is out of order. Week 20 is called "Alternate Oscars Week", but I had seen most of the possible selections, and was unable to find the others. So I substituted Week 32, "366 Weird Movies Week", since I'll be in Spain when that one is on the calendar.

As this year's Season Challenge nears its end, I figured I'd try to leave you all with something...memorable. Let's get weird, folks.

This week's challenge is to watch a previously unseen 366 Weird Movies film.

Well, this certainly was a weird movie. Terrible, but weird. Actually, it's not weird as much as it is incompetent, but at times it's hard to tell the difference. It appears regularly on Worst Movies Ever lists, but for my money, it never makes it to "so bad it's good". It's just simply bad. Against the gold standard (which I continue to believe is Robot Monster, not Plan 9 from Outer Space), The Beast of Yucca Flats is merely unwatchable. There is no use reviewing a movie like this. Best to just resort to a list of, OK, weird things.

1) The biggest name in the cast (no pun intended) was Tor Johnson, an enormous pro rassler from Sweden who in later years became a staple in grade-Z movies, best known for the films he made with Ed Wood (Bride of the Monster, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Night of the Ghouls). In The Beast of Yucca Flats, Johnson plays a noted Soviet scientist (don't worry, he soon turns into the title character).

2) There is a pre-credits scene featuring a woman who has just showered, who is strangled to death by a mysterious bad guy (as we later see, he dresses like The Beast). While many prints are edited, the one I watched on Amazon featured the entire scene, which includes the woman, bare-breasted ... in a 1961 movie! The scene was shot after filming was done, and it appears to have nothing to do with the rest of the movie. Legend is that director Coleman Francis liked nude scenes.

3) The movie was shot without sound. When people speak (which is rare), they are looking away from the camera so we can't see if they are synced. Mostly, all we hear is an incessant musical score, sound effects, and an endless and truly bizarre voice-over narration. Someone did us the favor of making a super-cut of all the narration:

Here's the trailer, so you don't have to watch the actual movie:

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