"Director Coleman Francis uses edits like blunt instruments. He uses blunt instruments like blunt instruments. His major themes are death, hatefulness, death, pain, and death...He hurts us and I want him to know it, except if he's still alive, because there's the small chance that he's still strong enough to crush my windpipe with his bare hands."—Kevin Murphy, The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide
"Any discussion of Red Zone Cuba would be remiss without a mention of its writer, director, and star, Coleman Francis, who's also singlehandedly responsible for two other cinematic abominations, The Beast of Yucca Flats and The Skydivers. (...) Probability dictates that every now and then, a totally clueless director like Hal Warren or Tony Malanowski might punch through and end up making one of the worst movies ever just by pure chance, but to make three of them clearly requires active hatred towards paying audiences."
Imagine the worst possible film you can. Pretty awful, right? Now imagine that film is just the best film in an achingly bad film trilogy linked only by the director (who also happens to be writer, producer and star), and a bizarre emphasis on coffee, light aircraft and soul-crushing tragedy. You now have an inkling of what the Coleman Francis trilogy is like.
Each of Coleman Francis' films easily fall alongside such "gems" as Baby Geniuses, Monster A Go-Go, Old Dogs, or Battlefield Earth, but what makes them really notable is that he managed to produce three of them, each utterly terrible, but in completely different ways. All three films have been featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, elevating Francis into that elite circle of bad movie directors that also includes Uwe Boll, Hal P. Warren, Ed Wood, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Tommy Wiseau, James Nyugen, Seltzer and Friedberg, and many more.
The Coleman Francis Trilogy:
Coleman Francis' films contain examples of:
- Book Ends - Almost certainly unintentional, but his first film, The Beast of Yucca Flats starts with Lanell Cado's character being killed by the mutated Dr. Javorsky, and his last film, Red Zone Cuba ends with another character played by Cado being fatally wounded in a shoot-out.
- Cameo - Anthony Cardoza, Coleman's financier and producer, appears in every one of his films. Additionally, quite a few of the extras in The Skydivers are all members of Coleman's and Cardoza's extended families.
- Dull Surprise - A disease endemic among Coleman Francis' casts.
- Fauxlosophic Narration - The narrator from Beast of Yucca Flats. Red Zone Cuba also experiences this at the very end when, out of nowhere, a voiceover suddenly says "Griffin. Ran all the way to hell with a penny, and a broken cigarette."
- "Flag on the moon. How did it get there?"
- Reportedly, "Beast" ended up this way because all the audio was accidentally erased after filming.
- Leave the Camera Running - Used far too many times to count - the scene where Griffin tries to put up the roof of the convertible in Red Zone Cuba comes to mind.
Servo: "Ok, I'm just a bush, you can pan away from me now."
- Motifs - Coffee, death, cigarettes, death, terrible depressing tragedy, death, light aircraft, death, Tony Cardoza, death, people getting shot from light aircraft, death, the Yucca Mountain, death, and vigilante justice. And death.
- Prop Recycling - Alleged actor Eric "I like coffee!" Tomlin's white Ford Ranchero appears in both Yucca Flats and Skydivers.
- In Red Zone Cuba, the above-mentioned convertible shows up again later (this time with its top up) as a police car.
- Shaggy Dog Story - All three films. Red Zone Cuba goes one step further and Shoots The Shaggy Dog.
- Not a very sympathetic one, though.
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic - In Red Zone Cuba, the camera zooms in on a Burma Shave "How will you spend eternity?" advert. Judging by the pacing of the movie, probably watching this scene.
- Women in Refrigerators - Only three female characters survive to the end of a Coleman Francis movie. One is raped and left blind and deaf, without any means of support; the second is widowed and lives the rest of her life as a depressed hermit. The last one is left with a husband who's been winged with a bullet by a gun-crazy policeman and two sons who were nearly killed by the Beast.
- ↑ Kevin has nothing to worry about since Coleman Francis went to that big movie studio in the sky in 1973