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scsu1975

RICH'S TOR JOHNSON (AND OTHER Z-MOVIE STARS) THREAD

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It had to happen. Due to the tremendous outpouring of affection for the big Swede, it's time to pay homage to Tor Johnson, and other equally talented actors/actresses, with their own thread. 

 

We have a lot of ground to cover with Tor; in fact, he covered a lot of ground himself. So we'll kick things off with his last major film, which has been described by various critics as ****, utter ****, complete ****, and total ****.

 

 

The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)
Directed, Produced, Written, Edited, and Narrated by Coleman Francis
(with Coleman Francis in a few bit roles)

It's hard to imagine a worse filmmaker than Ed Wood Jr., but Coleman Francis wins hands down. This is 54 minutes of your life you wish you could have back.

"Guest Star" Tor Johnson, who looks more gigantic than ever, plays 'noted scientist' Joseph Javorsky, although it may also be Tavorsky, or Jaworski, or Blagojevich ... I couldn't really tell. Tor has just arrived in the U.S. from behind the Iron Curtain, bearing top secret information. His charter plane inexplicably lands near Yucca Flats. Immediately, enemy agents set upon Tor, his bodyguard, and his chauffeur (who looks like Eddie "Rochester" Anderson). Incredibly, even though Tor is the biggest target west of the Missouri River, he manages to avoid enemy bullets, and stumbles into the desert. Then an A-bomb goes off.

Now Tor is transformed into a mad disfigured killer. Tor chokes a poor sap whose car has broken down, and then makes off with his wife. Joe Dobson, highway patrolman, springs into action. Together with his friend Jim, they start tracking Tor. When they become convinced that Tor is atop a plateau, Jim, a former paratrooper in Korea, hops in a plane. "Shoot first, ask questions later," narrator Francis tells us. And that's what this moron does. He spots a dude who is out looking for his missing kids, and fires at him repeatedly. Meanwhile, the two missing kids act like weenies. They spot a lake and one of them says "is that water down there?" Later, they are inside a cave and one of them says "where are we?" The other says, "in a cave, I guess." Please Tor, kill them, before they grow up to be college administrators.

After about 15 minutes, it hit me ... why are all these people in the movie if an A-bomb just went off? The other question I had was, why are there so many shots of actor's butts in this film?

Some of the worst scenes in this movie (but then, there are no good scenes) involve Tor trying to get his bulk in motion. It's painful to watch. All the lines are dubbed in (badly), and the narration is incoherent. "Flag on the moon ... how did it get there?" "Kill or be killed ... man's inhumanity to man." And some constant blather about the "wheels of progress." Tor gets to growl a little near the end, and, in a fit of rage, throws a rock at no one. But at least we are spared listening to him delivering dialogue. Who can forget him as Inspector Clay in Plan 9 from Outer Space, when he says "I'm a big boy." No ****, Tor.



Tor realizes that walking barefoot in the desert is not a swift idea.
0HZnYAC.jpg



Farley Granger's wife about to go belly-up, in the rarely seen Hitchcock thriller

Strangers on a Plain.
2c8U6uS.jpg


Tor puts a sleeper hold on some pencil-neck geek.
J6s4BMG.jpg



Tor hasn't quite mastered the Heimlich Maneuver.
penXO2L.jpg



Fortunately, Cary Grant got the part instead.
Kl4p7cn.jpg



Fortunately, Charlton Heston got the part instead.
ddbUOsj.jpg



I think we can all figure out why she got the part.
pjoB491.jpg

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TCM really did miss the boat this SUTS.  But if we start campaigning now, maybe we can get this turkey on next year.

Thanks Rich

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This thread drove me straight to YouTube, to see if The Beast of Yucca Flats was availableI clicked on something that said it was the film, starring Tor Johnson. What I got looked at first glance like possibly the worst (and worst dubbed) movie ever made. It was not The Beast...  It was something called La mansión de la locura (The Mansion of Madness), called by an IMDB reviewer: "A Horror Film with Maniacs, Torture, and Dancing Chickens."

As hard as it was for me to resist dancing chickens, I found another link, which has The Beast of Yucca Flats (archive.org), which I will watch soon. But I'm grateful to have found the one with the dancing chickens, which I will certainly watch at some point.

 

Warning:  The opening shot of The Beast... features nudity (and a very loud clock ticking)! Just sayin', in case you watch it with the kids.

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Warning:  The opening shot of The Beast... features nudity (and a very loud clock ticking)! Just sayin', in case you watch it with the kids.

There are a few versions on youtube - one has a more explicit opening scene than the other.

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Warning:  The opening shot of The Beast... features nudity (and a very loud clock ticking)! Just sayin', in case you watch it with the kids.

If the nudity in any way involves Tor Johnson, more than just the kids should shield their eyes.

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If the nudity in any way involves Tor Johnson, more than just the kids should shield their eyes.

 

No, it is an attractive young lady.  The way I remember it is there is a film school addition that was put in either before or after the opening credits of the original movie.  The best part, it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the story line or characters.  A true W T F type of deal.

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TORn Curtain (1966) - Just one life is not enough!

Gran TORino (2008) Did they really edit him into this one?  Watch it and find out!

TORtilla Flat (1942) - The camera never lies...

TORmented (1960) - The legend is real. So is the terror.

TORpedo Run (1958) - Hit the ground running!
Waltz of the TOReadors (1962) - Life just took a terrifying turn!

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And to think I'd never known of Mr. Johnson--what I've been missing!

 

By the way, any relation to Rip Torn? 

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And to think I'd never known of Mr. Johnson--what I've been missing!

 

By the way, any relation to Rip Torn? 

He was his mentor.

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The way I remember it is there is a film school addition that was put in either before or after the opening credits of the original movie.  The best part, it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the story line or characters.  A true W T F type of deal.

I understood it was the director who added it in. But you are correct - it has nothing to do with the movie. If that is indeed Tor strangling her, he is not disfigured yet, so here he is strangling somebody, then landing in the desert, then becoming disfigured, then strangling people, then ... oh well, it's only a movie... more of less.

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I absolutely adore "Beast of Yucca Flats"! I swear it's one of the funniest movies ever made. The narration gets me every time.

I also like Tor in Ed Wood's "Bride of the Monster" as Bela Lugosi' s lab assistant.

Tim Burton's biopic "Ed Wood" featured a wonderful portrayal of Tor by the great old wrestler George "the Animal" Steele.

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I am so embarassed that I know this but...

 

The non sequitor opening scene where the woman is murdered in THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS was done so that the film could feature some nudity. Apparently Colman Francis was a big fan of nude scenes (WHO ISN'T?)- although the scene is left out of most cuts of the public domain film. It ends with her presumable sexual assault while dead; a real heart-warming scene.

 

The actress in the scene has a more prominent role in RED ZONE CUBA as the wife of a soldier who is left for dead during a botched invasion of Cuba, his fellow soldiers who betrayed him travel to the southwest to trick her into allowing them to mine the property for Tungsten.

 

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 featured Francis's three films during their sixth season; they refer to them as THE COLEMAN FRANCIS TRIUMVERATE and one of the writers claimed RED ZONE CUBA was the worst film they ever did. Also done were THE SKYDIVERS, which is one of the best, funniest episodes of the show if you can get beyond how bizarrely awful the movie is. Oddly, THE BEAT OF YUCCA FLATS is the weakest of the three episodes although it does contain the wonderful exchange between Mike and Crow:

 

"Do you think Coleman Francis had a casting couch?"

"Probably more of a "casting cot." "

 

Coleman Francis commited suicide by asphyxiating himself with a plastic bag,

 

Thank you, this has been your lesson for TODAY IN S*** THAT NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND SHOULD CARE OR KNOW ABOUT."

 

PS- the MST episodes should be on youtube, although some were pulled not long ago as Rhino released the eps on DVD.

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MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 featured Francis's three films during their sixth season; they refer to them as THE COLEMAN FRANCIS TRIUMVERATE and one of the writers claimed RED ZONE CUBA was the worst film they ever did.

 

You mean they didn't like John Carradine's singing?

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Here are a few stills from Tor's second feature, Kid Millions (1934). He plays, oddly enough, a tor-turer.

 

In front are Paul Harvey, along with Eva Sully, in her only feature film appearance.

iGK9mbf.png

 

 

 

Here, Tor sets out to tor-ture Eddie Can-tor.

mC8KZ0q.png

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You mean they didn't like John Carradine's singing?

 

John Carradine played Marcus Lycus ("a buyer and seller of courtesans") in the original Broadway production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Stephen Sondheim's first Broadway musical). He had one solo "The House of Marcus Lycus;" appeared with the other principals in "Everybody Ought to have Maid;" and briefly in some of the other songs. The role was played in the movie by Phil Silvers.

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More Tor filmography:

 

TOR BE OR NOT TOR BE

THE AWFUL TORUTH

THE SHANGHAI GESTOR

FLYING DOWN.TOR RIO

INTORLERANCE

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TOR And The Flying Dutchman  (the "good" kind or the "bad" kind?)
TOR's Vines Have Tender Grapes
TOR's Hitchhiking Guide To The Galaxy
Oh TOR, Poor TOR, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad
TOR Always Rings Twice
TOR Vs. The Robot And The Aztec Mummy

TOR Captured The King Of The Leprechauns
From TOR to Eternity
TOR And The Seven Hoods
 

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For all you grade Z movie fans:

 

Just got a notice from local Horror Convention SCARE-A-CON that Bert I Gordon will be in attendance. Amazing he's still around, (age 93?) especially since his very talented daughter Susan Gordon has passed.

 

Bert I Gordon made TORmented in 1960.  He also fittingly made ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE and SECRETS OF A PSYCHOPATH both applicable titles for this board.

 

Coincidentally, Gordon was born in the same town Orson Welles was born-Kenosha Wisconsin! Guess one got the talent & the other got the longevity.

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TOR's Vines Have Tender Grapes

From TOR to Eternity

 

 

1. Tor Johnson would actually be far less inherently terrifying in the role than Margaret O'Brien. (This is true for all her films.)

2. That's FROM HERE TO E-TOR-NITY.

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In 1960, Tor made a guest appearance on the “See No Evil” episode of Peter Gunn.  Gunn (Craig Stevens) searches for an escaped con (Lou Krugman), who bumped off one of Gunn’s informants.  Gunn traces Krugman to a sanitarium, but is tossed into a padded cell. Krugman releases Tor (in pajamas) from a rubber room and sets him on Gunn. The two wrestle to a jazz arrangement of saxes, piano, trombones, and percussion, courtesy of Henry Mancini. Lt. Jacoby (Herschel Bernardi) arrives in the nick of time and pumps five bullets into Tor’s torso.  Tor falls backwards, and causes California to split apart into the Pacific Ocean.

 

Tor is at the top of his game here, playing a speechless blimp.  When have we seen that before? Benny Rubin has an amusing bit as a female wrestling promoter; that is to say, he’s not female, he just promotes them.

 

Tor tries his hand at mime.

BBTbFKk.png

 

 

 

 

Tor puts Stevens in an airplane spin.

l5DSgap.png

 

 

 

 

Stevens’ stunt-double attempts to down Tor with a flying dropkick.

MRRRSQN.png

 

 

 

 

Tor checks Stevens for a hernia, in this episode entitled “Dr. Grabzak Turninkov.”

K41udlI.png

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Has anyone seen Tor Johnson's first movie? It's called Registered Nurse. Tor plays "Sonnevich the Terrible Bulgarian" in the 1934 film which also features Minna Gombell, Beulah Bondi, and many others.
 
registered-nurse.jpg[/size]

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If you can find it, please feel free to write a review for us.

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