5.2/10
78
5 user 35 critic

Runaway Nightmare (1982)

| Action, Comedy, Horror
Two dorky Nevada worm wranglers are kidnapped by a gang of beautiful women as part of a plot to steal plutonium from the Mafia.

Director:

(as Michael Cartel)

Writer:

(as Michael Cartel)
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

In a secluded mansion, the Hilton patriarch curses his family on the hour of his death. Soon, many of the heirs are murdered by a strange killer under the instructions of a witch who knows the secret of the Hiltons.

Director: Angelo Pannacciò
Stars: Susanna Levi, Jessica Dublin, Sergio Ferrero
The Advanced Guard (TV Movie 1998)
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

As a prelude to full-blown alien invasion, a team of four aliens telepathically linked with their lifelike human-looking android bodies abducts four random humans to test them to determine if humans can make good slaves.

Director: Peter Geiger
Stars: Robert Amico, James Avery, David Campbell
Hunk (1987)
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

A computer nerd makes a deal with the Devil and gets a new, "beefcake" body.

Director: Lawrence Bassoff
Stars: John Allen Nelson, Steve Levitt, Deborah Shelton
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Some unknown source has interrupted all television transmissions around the world. In place of the regular broadcasts, a lineup of extremely tasteless programs and commercials have been ... See full summary »

Director: Bradley R. Swirnoff
Stars: Paul Ainsley, Wil Albert, Royce D. Applegate
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.8/10 X  

A nightclub singer has nightmares about being involved in adultery and murder, only to wake up and find that they may not be nightmares.

Director: Alex Nicol
Stars: Peter Carpenter, Dyanne Thorne, Lory Hansen
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Two uneasy friends, a police officer and a TV talk show host, each pursue the mysterious "handcuff killer" with the aid of an artist who sees - and draws - the killer's crimes before they're committed.

Director: Armand Mastroianni
Stars: Perry King, Norman Parker, Elizabeth Kemp
Savage Dawn (1985)
Drama | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

A vicious biker gang takes over a small town in Arizona. A Vietnam War vet passing through town and a few locals with nothing to lose go to war with the gang's ruthless leader.

Director: Simon Nuchtern
Stars: George Kennedy, Richard Lynch, Karen Black
Hot Potato (1976)
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  

Martial-arts expert tries to rescue an ambassador's daughter who was kidnapped in Thailand.

Director: Oscar Williams
Stars: Jim Kelly, George Memmoli, Geoffrey Binney
Crime | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A nurse is hired to take care of a mean, cantankerous woman. It turns out that the nurse and her boyfriend are after the woman's fortune. When the woman turns up dead in a bathtub full of ... See full summary »

Director: Sergei Goncharoff
Stars: Jennifer Bishop, Arell Blanton, Mitchell Gregg
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.5/10 X  

In this erotic sci-fi adventure, three beautiful women find themselves unwilling subjects of an alien scientist's sexy experiments.

Director: Lucian S. Diamonde
Stars: Darcy DeMoss, Meredyth Holmes, Pía Reyes
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Anonymous notes accuse a psychiatrist of having murdered his wife. A bedraggled policeman attempts to uncover the truth behind her disappearance.

Director: Sidney Hayers
Stars: Jon Finch, Judy Geeson, Christopher Lee
Blood Lake (1987)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.5/10 X  

Six teenagers decide to party one weekend, but before the partying begins one couple disappears. Only to be fount brutally murdered. A blood thirsty killer is stalking their summer ... See full summary »

Director: Tim Boggs
Stars: Doug Barry, Angela Darter, Mike Kaufman
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mike Cartel ...
Ralph (as Michael Cartel)
Al Valletta ...
Jason
Seeska Vandenberg ...
Fate (as Sijtske Vandenberg)
Cindy Donlan ...
Hesperia
...
Torchy
Cheryl Gamson ...
Pepper
...
Leslie
Debbie Poropat ...
Sadie
Alexis Alexander ...
Vampiria
Ina Rose Fortman ...
Clio
Jodie Perbix ...
Electra
J. Christopher Senter ...
Mr. X
Evelyn King Kennedy ...
Skitso (as Evelyn King)
Mari Cartel ...
Andromeda
Kathy Mojas ...
Pandora
Edit

Storyline

Two worm farmers from Death Valley rescue a beautiful woman (Fate) after witnessing her live burial. The men (Ralph and Jason) attend to the unconscious girl but get captured by a commune of female cultists who only want to rescue their buried member. Cultist Fate had worked with a crime syndicate while uncovering a fortune in something (assumed to be platinum). But the platinum-filled suitcase gets seized by her cartel associates who then bury Fate as punishment. Ralph and Jason complete a bizarre initiation to become the only male members of this fourth-wave vampy group. Jason sees the experience as an adventure and finds romance with some of the members. Ralph only wants to escape where he is regarded as threatening and sexually repulsive. The cult leader, Hesperia now turns to avenge Fate's burial. The women, with their two new members steal back the valuable suitcase from a desert warehouse where Fate knows the syndicate holds the platinum. After the robbery, the angry mob trace ... Written by Mike Cartel

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When Your Dream Becomes a Reality, It's a Runaway Nightmare!


Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Road House (1989) Director Rowdy Harrington worked on "Runaway Nightmare" (1982)_ as the Gaffer during one of the weekend pick-up shot shoots in early 1979. Harrington also did a stunt scene where he is struck in the face with a heavy club. See more »

Quotes

Ralph: You shouldn't open something you're not familiar with.
See more »

Soundtracks

Sunnin'
by James and Patty Coons
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Runaway Nightmare
7 August 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Working/living in Death Valley, worm ranchers Ralph and Jason quietly watch a live, luscious girl being buried. They rescue the victim, Fate (Seeska Vandenberg) but get kidnapped for their trouble by the buried girl's lunatical all-female cult. Jason (Al Valletta), originally bored, finds the abduction a feast with endless romantic opportunities while Ralph (Mike Cartel), content with the quiet, uneventful desert tries now to maneuver in a bizarre, dangerous otherworld.

RUNAWAY NIGHTMARE is a serious mystery in the opening moments of ominous Joshua-treed desert with fleecy grinning clouds; vultures circling, restive winds , suggesting playfully cruel gods just over the horizon. But the audience is also foreshadowy-warned that this is a subtle, dark comedy; Worm farmers (really?) Calm one-liners, even wisecracks alongside morbidity.

You also grasp that actor/director/etcetera Mike Cartel intentionally teases with almost-sex and near ultra-violence/death. Cartel avoids these conceits like the clap, partly to contrast the '70s cinema new discovery (and flaunting) of skin, sim-sex, blood-flood and profanity-for-dialog. And partly because of the film's nature; where (stark porn and/or blood-gushing) with gorgeous lunatics is both dangerous and (with Ralph's moral character) as passionless as watching dogs mate.

Act Two is Ralph and Jason's surreal life in the man-hating/craving female commune, where the men have opposite experiences. Much involves the netherworld vignettes with its expressionist decor, creeping shadows, splashed/shaped lighting. Seldom do the scenes build and play out, although the focus is on a quick study of bizarre women in a funhouse/spook house without stalling momentum. It is also where much of the confusing subtleties are confronted with dialog-pieces rather than lengthy expositions. The aberrant editing (sideways with nuts-and-bolt edits), unpredictable events, Ralph's interchange in this off-beat sequence creates an impetus of its own. But it is here too that the audience must catch hold of Ralph, or the film will fail with no one to root for.

With a script sentence that might have read; "Fate's burial was the punishment of a crime boss (that she had previously worked with) after she had stolen from him a package-full of something priceless (platinum?)," the movie makes a detour into crime melodrama.

Here Ralph and Jason are used as decoys at the crime boss's warehouse while the cult leader, heartless Hesperia (Cindy Donlan) and her women steal back the mysterious package. The boss and his crew (who's nobody's fool) counterattacks Hesperia's Walden-Three where everyone escapes, except, of course Ralph.

Adapting as fast as the gods can invent traps, Ralph sets a time-bomb and hides the platinum package before being probed by the boss at his hideout. The bomb actually explodes before Ralph gets eviscerated, saved by his own cunning, with help from the sneaky gods.

But the audience may suspect Ralph is a slapsitck-less Lou Costello (where he sees actual monsters but no one believes him) playing to Jason's cocky, doubting Bud Abbott. You know that Ralph isn't going to die (any more than Frankenstein will hurt Costello). The gods aren't about to let their fool slip into eternal rest until they've had their fun.

Ralph phones his ranch where Jason and the girls have escaped. But it is Fate who coincidentally answers the phone; she lies that everyone has died and drives to the exploded warehouse to find Ralph. It is only Fate after-all who appears sane, who had gingerly seduced Ralph into her trust. After learning the whereabouts of her platinum, Fate toys with Ralph by happily confessing to her triple-crosses then casually shoots the man who had saved her life. But Ralph still can't find deathly peace, this time saved by his protective vest.

Now at the commune, Fate finally opens her illusive package, discovering that it actually contains something far more precious than platinum.

This is where the original script ended, with a sketchy line about cult queen Hesperia abandoning her girls to the men, who happily use them as bug ranchers. Over the months Cartel filmed five endings, finally settling on one that takes another hard turn (gods-willing) allowing Ralph's escape into the kind of indelicate immortality that only a vampire might appreciate.

RUNAWAY NIGHTMARE's comic subtlety, however overlaps into several genres (it was first marketed as a horror film) where it keeps many viewers off-balance or slaphappy (are they serious now? Where the hell is this leading to?) or degrades into farce (a hot-foot joke to end the dinner scene!?). But Ralph remains true to his character, and every mad hazard is seen through his POV, holding a forward interest with many observers intrigued, others overlooking flaws for the adventure.

And if audiences go along with Ralph they will forgive that the plot is just a platform, slowly unfolding from a mystery into a raging, screwball ride that may have finally found its gathering, beyond the art house and into the outer limits of cinephile cult.


4 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?