VIDEO: The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)

In this episode, Mr. Mendo goes to where few reviewers have gone and lived to tell about it, taking on The Beast of Yucca Flats, also known by its alternate title, Holy God, When Will It End?!? Unlike the other two films directed by Coleman Francis, this one’s got a sci-fi angle, where wrestler Tor Johnson survives an A-bomb test and becomes a mutant killer.  But never fear, because it still has all the pointlessness and incompetence you’ve come to know and love from ol’ Coleman!

Special thanks to the Agony Booth’s own Cecil Trachenburg of Good Bad Flicks for being our Coleman Francis for a day!

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  • Concerned

    I was going to complain that this was ANOTHER movie already seen here – but then I realized it wasn’t, so I prematurely stand corrected. You also did good here too, so nice work. God that movie was terrible.
    “Flag on the moon. How did it get there?”

    • Concerned

      I will though however now ask for videos on The Skydivers and Red Zone Cuba.

      • Michael A. Novelli

        Not a bad idea, but I like to stagger movies out, era-wise. Keeps things from getting stale. Maybe later on, though…

  • Michael A. Novelli

    So, I decided to experiment a little with my set-up to make the show a bit more dynamic. What’d you guys think?

    • handsome pete

      Waaay better than The Game Overthinker.

      • Michael A. Novelli

        Having never seen him, I’ll take it as a compliment…

  • Sofie Liv

    yeah, this actually is a little more dynamic than your usual videos.
    You can get away with experimenting for sure.

    But well, if you want to have more pronounced expressions when speaking, you have to loose the glasses. when we can’t see your eyes it does lock some expressions away. it’s your decision really, your writing is so strong it works either way.

    And what a shitty movie :D
    Definitely Ed wood level, put not quite “Pull the strings!”

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Well, maybe I can find a smaller pair that shows more of my face? Woud that help?

      • Sofie Liv

        I’m not that sure, I’m inclined to say. no, not really.
        What can I say Michael, when just sitting like this around 70% of your emotions will come from your eyes, and well. we can’t see them. So as long as you have decided to cover your eyes up there just will be some things you can’t quite reach in terms of acting and expressing.
        But again, your scripting and jokes are so strong you can make due without. And it’s not even all big time video producers who are that good actors, Linkara can be blank as a board quite often, if he wore sunglasses I don’t think it would make that much of a difference, and I still enjoy his videos very much, simply because he is as smart as he is and have good jokes.
        Red Letter Media in his “out of the bag.” reviews are completely deadpan on purpose with little to no eye expressions what-so ever, he just is a blank board, and well.. he cracks me up! he really found a style that just fitted him.

        If I could just come visit ya I would give you some acting lessons for free, but I am kind of stuck on this side on the globe. Fortunately, I can still receive my scripting lessons this way XD
        People sure are most helpful in that regard :D

    • handsome pete

      I think I only saw his eyes once in any video.

      • Michael A. Novelli

        I removed my shades in Man With The Golden Gun when talking about the flying car, in The Episode We Do Not Speak Of right before the explosion, and in Ishtar when tying my “tie”…

        • Sofie Liv

          You know what. Some-day we’ll meet at a con, it’ll be easy to force the shades off you there. And then I can give my honest opinion how much it would or would not help to try and do videos without them.

          There’s all ready talk about people who wants to ensure I come to Magfest next year… “Well sofie, you just need to be here! sorry, and I don’t care if we have to come over there, gag and bind you, and then throw you on a plane.”

          Urhm.. oki.. I guess..

          • Michael A. Novelli

            Well, I’ve already made up my mind to go next year, so why not?

  • kennzeichen1d

    Yap, I heard people say that “Plan 9 from outer space”
    is the worst motion picture ever.
    These people have never seen
    “Manos, the hands of fate”
    “The wild, wild world of batwoman”
    and this brilliant screengem.

  • kennzeichen1d

    Also, the nudity in the beginning was cut out of the
    I feel robbed.

  • DrWheelz

    I was a little surprised by the beginning. I always figured that those were your street clothes.

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Nah, they’re my going out clothes…

  • Gasmaskangel

    That was some of your best work Mr. Mendo, although I feel compelled to point out that Tor Johnson was also in my personal favorite Ed Wood movie, Bride of the Monster.

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Yes, but only us sexy people have heard of Bride of the Monster…

  • Ed

    Good stuff, Michael. Dig the more dynamic presentation, it definitely adds more flare to the show.

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Yeah, I’ve been fiddling around with my editing software lately. It helps pass the time…

  • Monterey Jack

    Their orders…?

    Get the briefcase.

    Kill Javorsky.

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Anyone else think the bit with the hitmen would have made a much more interesting movie?

  • Cristiona

    Airplanes aren’t a result of SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS? I feel I should make an Erik von Daniken joke here.

    More seriously, the whole film with voice over could have worked, and could have been an interesting (and, yes, cheap) way to do a movie. Sadly, it just comes across as a pretentious student film, especially with the baffling thought-salad asides. I mean, some of them were right up there with Plan 9 (One thing’s for sure: he’s dead. Murdered. And somebody’s responsible) or ICP (Magnets, how do they work?).

    Was Tor dying during the making of this film? He looks about three steps away from a titanic heart attack.

    • Michael A. Novelli

      What’s sad is that I actually used to own one of his books. I have no idea what I did with it, except that I didn’t throw it away.

      Yeah, poor old Tor looked like he was about to pop his cogs any second, didn’t he? Terrible shame…

  • handsome pete

    The Beast isn’t supposed to make any sense, he’s pure unreliable narration incarnate. That’s why the Soviet spies suddenly appear out of nowhere and are then immediately and conveniently killed afterwards in an atomic blast; they never existed. And those two lawmen invented the thousand foot high cliff face to explain their lengthy absence; the reality is that they went to Yucca Flats to have gay sex. This also explains why the Beast looks so ridiculous, he’s a broad satire of those movie monsters that embody nuclear and communist scares. And obviously, the line “flag on the moon, how did it get there” is an oblique reference to faked moon landing conspiracy theories. Likewise, the lawmen skydiving to access the Beast’s lair is an oblique reference to Francis’ earlier film The Skydivers.

    • Cristiona

      You have no idea how much I want this to be true.

      • Michael A. Novelli

        I maintain the film is just a massive hallucination by all of us. Call it Movie-A-Go-Go…

  • Cecil_Trachenburg


    This turned out great, definitely one of your best Mendo. I give you major credit for being able to sit through the “non-MST3K” version of the film. It is borderline unwatchable in that state. Love the Yucca Flats cardboard sign. They must have had a budget in the ones of dollars.

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Hey, I made it through Freddy Got Fingered, I think I can make it through this…

  • Anonymous

    You should do a review of Sailor and the 7 Ballz and how it made a generation of teenagers unable to enjoy sexy drawings ever again with its suckitude.

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Fear not! Sailor and the 7 Ballz is already on the dockett as the next crossover between me and Hagan. It’s just…I’m pretty sure the movie is cursed: Albert was unable to sit through it, Ryan helped with editing the script but was thoroughly confused by it all, Stan was able to sit through it, but has been having some health problems, Hagan won’t contribute unless there’s a draft for her to look at (due to her busy schedule), and I never even heard back from Fear Fan. Most of the script I ended up writing was recycled into Antichrist, and now I’m stuck finding another editor before I can continue…

      But it’s definitely coming!

      • …if it’s not too overwhelming, I could lend a hand with the editing.

        *nervously raises hand*

        • Michael A. Novelli

          Oh, trust me, it is too overwhelming. You have no concept of how bad this hentai is…

          • Give me a concept of it, then… but don’t go too hard on me with it. :-P

          • Michael A. Novelli

            The main plot point involves Sailor Moon growing a cock. After that it gets a little weird…

          • Zorha

            Why do I suddenly have violent visions of Sailor Uranus? GAH!!! I hear ill omens on the wind!

          • Anonymous

            See, I have no problem with saying that I heard that plot synopsis years ago and thought it sounded like sexy fun and good porno for my particular needs. I usually love stuff like that.

            But then I bought the DVD. And it wasn’t. It was horrible.

            IT WAS SO HORRIBLE.

          • Michael A. Novelli

            Be careful what you wish for…

          • Buh… well, it can’t be any worse than the lesbian sailors, can it?

            can it? :-S

  • Monoceros4

    I like to think that Jim and Joe, “Desert Patrol”, aren’t actually real lawmen but just a couple of half-assed vigilantes with guns and a light plane, looking for any excuse to practice their skydiving and fire upon random people. Kill, kill just to be killing. It’s a hard world for little things in Coleman Francis’s universe, where death rains down indiscriminately from the skies.

    Working for Coleman Francis must have been a bleak, depressing experience for everyone. Not one single performance in any of his three movies has any energy to it. Everyone looks sad, speaks in a flat monotone (when they even have dialogue), and meets death without a murmur. Nobody who’s strangled in this movie puts up a struggle or reacts with more than a slight grimace. Well, I suppose Tor Johnson puts in some sort of effort, although thanks to his enormous girth his “effort” consists of twenty yards of jogging and waving a stick. He didn’t even do his own hollering; that’s Coleman Francis’s voice unleashing his fury.

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Now, there’s a sad state of affairs if I ever heard one.

      Poor Tor. We should make a video about how awesome he was…


  • Bart_Fargo

    I think my favorite “missed bit” (something with implications that Coleman completely missed) is the concept of a Russian moon landing in secret. Think about it: How would a moon launch look any different from – to pull one example completely at random – TRYING TO START WORLD WAR III?

    • Monoceros4

      I’m not getting this. The Russians sent plenty of stuff to the Moon although in the end they lost the race to launch a manned mission. None of these launches were construed as TRYING TO STAR WORLD WAR III. If there’s anything unrealistic it’s the idea that the Soviet Union would do it in secret instead of trumpeting it to the world as an example of their superiority.

      • Michael A. Novelli

        Well, considering the fact that our own State Department was seriously considering NUKING THE MOON to prevent the Soviets from getting there, I can honestly say that no Cold War shenanigans sound too far-fetched to me…

  • Behold, an increasingly angry Tor Johnson on You Bet Your Life in the 1950s:

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Ah yes, they excerpted it in Flying Saucers Over Hollywood…

      • Haven’t seen that, but I’m assuming it’s a docu; is it really good? :-)

        • Michael A. Novelli

          It’s included on the official Plan 9 DVD, so, yes…

          • Ahhh… that’d explain it; I’ve only seen Plan 9 on YouTube.

          • Michael A. Novelli

            Well, you should buy a copy! I swear, this is why we can’t have nice things!

  • Satanoix

    That was awesome.

    • Michael A. Novelli

      Thank you. We do our best…

  • Crazy Fish

    For some reason I remembered a bunch of your video reviews beginning with the same “episode cancelled” schtick as this one, but when I went back and looked I realized you only did it with Rubber, so yeah.

    Once you get past that (I didn’t really care for that bit.) the episode does get pretty good.



  • Gussie Jives

    Flag on the moon.  How did it get there?