RUNAWAY NIGHTMARE (1982 U.S.) D/W: MICHAEL CARTEL P: ELDON SHORT
Wow! Where to start with this one? A couple of guys (the wisecracking, vaguely Nicolas Cage-like Ralph, played by Director Cartel, and Jason, played by Al Valletta) run an insect ranch (worms and snails) in Death Valley. They see a couple of guys bury a box in a shallow grave. They open it up to find a beautiful naked blonde woman (alive). Then a bunch of other women capture them at gunpoint and take them to a ranch populated by only women (one of them punches Ralph out). They tie them up, almost brand them and use them as sex slaves, but they`re eventually initiated (!) into this cult. But they still have to perform menial tasks and are constantly under threat. One mean girl ("every man i`ve touched has died a violent death") tries to kill Ralph repeatedly (a running joke). The rest of the time they hang around the dark house swapping non-sequitors or having inane conversations (the stilted dialogue delivered in the most wooden way is jaw-dropping). Jason seems to be enjoying himself! A pistol duel ends with a trick backfiring gun killing one of the women ("oh wow man, her head`s all gone"). Other random scenes involve a living portrait and women doing exercises or dancing against stark, black backgrounds, and there`s video inserts of tits over and over again. This thing just gets weirder and weirder...Eventually we discover that the girls are gunrunners (!) who want to steal back a suitcase of platinum (!!) from mobsters with a warehouse in the desert. But it turns out to be plutonium (!?), and the penultimate scene is straight out of the classic KISS ME DEADLY. The very ending involves nuclear waste and (i think) vampirism. Un-fucking-believable! Could it be a twisted sexual fantasy for real weirdos, or "stupid bug farmers"? Who can tell? I liked the large chess board rug, and the scene where Ralph and Jason discuss their escape plan quite loudly in front of their captor. Cartel (who had a part in PETS) also wrote a crime movie called BITTER HERITAGE. Valletta was also in HOLLYWOOD`S NEW BLOOD and co-directed 1982`s ALLEY CAT. And where have i heard snatches of the synth score before?

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