Runaway Nightmare

Runaway Nightmare ★★★

Runaway Nightmare is a loony story about a couple of Death Valley worm farmers who witness a girl being buried alive in a refrigerator box. As soon as the baddies leave the scene, our heroes dig her up and are promptly initiated into a weird, all-girl, desert Plutonium cult.

Made by actual circus-folk, this movie has an undeniable theatricality about it. Technically, it's a bit of a hodgepodge - The cinematography is really pretty good, and at times downright beautiful when the desert landscapes are being utilized. The budget, availability of locations and duration of the shoot all conspired to necessitate finding creative ways to match footage that might have been shot miles (or months) apart. The result finds a lot of characters shot against an unlit, darkened background. At times, it comes off as dreamy and weird. Other times it clearly smacks of the limitations of the production. Overall, this is a very worthy entry into the independent horror movies of the 1980's. It has flaws for sure, but it's innovative and really hard to take your eyes off of.

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