Runaway Nightmare (1982)

Spread the weird

RATING– ✭✭✭✭

DIRECTOR– Mike Cartel

PLOT– Okay… you’re not going to believe this is the plot, but here it goes:

Two Death Valley worm farmers stumble across a woman buried alive in the desert. Then they are kidnapped by a cult of gun-running man-hating women lead by a woman named Hesperia and brought back to their compound. After a bar fight, the women accept the men into the gang. They flirt a lot and shoot guns at each other. Also, they plan to rob a warehouse of a case of platinum. However, because the gang doesn’t know the difference, they accidentally steal a suitcase of plutonium. The plutonium explodes, destroys the cult compound, and kills some of the cult members. Then Hesperia, the cult leader, moves to another town. Not knowing what to do, the remaining cult members appoint one of the kidnapped men as the new leader and join him in growing worms. They soon find out that the worms are the size of hamsters because the mafia is dumping nuclear waste on their farm. 

Then the new cult leader turns into a vampire. 

The end.

That’s the plot.


  1. Hotfoot practical jokes on victims of violent crimes
  2. Almost chopping wood
  3. Gang lords who jump rope
  4. Vans with complete sets of bedroom furniture
  5. Orgies on a twin bed

REVIEW– The Universe makes sense again.

Yes, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic…

The streets are empty. All our friends are holed up inside their houses. If you see someone outside, they’re usually wearing something akin to a bio-hazard suit from head-to-toe. Only certain people are allowed in the grocery store at approved times and we all carry as much hand-sanitizer as we can fit in our pockets. We stand 6 feet away from each other and many times refuse to talk to each other for fear spittle might fly from one’s mouth to another’s.

A lot of us feel like we are in a Hollywood production about a virus that wipes out the world. Like we are all extras in a real-life Walking Dead.

Toilet paper is a distant memory.

It’s just a weird time and none of it resembles normalcy from just a few weeks ago.

Good news, everyone! I have found a solution to the bizarro world we are living in… a film from 1982 called Runaway Nightmare!

I don’t know who director Mike Cartel is, but the man is a goddamn Nostradamus! Back in 1982, he foresaw the strange world we find ourselves in and decided to write, direct, and star in a movie so frickin’ surreal, that it takes the current situation we live in and makes it seem quite sane.

Here’s just a few of the choices he made for his film Runaway Nightmare:

  • The male leads in the film have a business in Death Valley. It could’ve been anything… maybe insurance salesmen… or landscapers… or even wristwatch repairmen. Nope. He chose “worm farmers”. If you think that maybe they should’ve had a job that would tie into a story that might follow, well, Mr. Cartel does not agree with you.
  • The cult of women who kidnap the male leads has a member who is a vampire. She’s not the leader. She’s not even a prominent player. Just a random member who shows up in a couple of spots. Are any of the other cult followers unnatural creatures with powerful abilities? Uh, no. You might think that an immortal monster with the ability to make any person her servant just by biting them might be a natural leader for a cult. Mr. Cartel does not agree with you.
  • And speaking of that cult leader… after an explosion that levels her compound and kills half of her cult, she decides to move to a new city. She doesn’t take any of her followers. She doesn’t have a final battle with the heroes. She doesn’t die in that giant conflagration that engulfed her gang. She just moves… and is never mentioned again. Some might argue that the director has missed an obvious opportunity to provide a natural ending to this little story. Mr. Cartel does not agree with you.

Thank god Mike Cartel does not agree with any of us. Thank god he made a movie so wildly unnerving, so insanely nonsensical, so irrationally preposterous, that it makes this mad time we live in right now feel very normal.

Runaway Nightmare is truly a wonderfully singular piece of art.

Intentional or not, Mike Cartel deserves our thanks (if not our understanding) for this film.

Sally totally misunderstood the meaning of the chess term “bad bishop”.