Run Like Hell (1995)

How in the hell did I become the defacto biographer on the career Robert Rundle? There’s no place to run: I accept my hell in life.

The rumor is this appeared on the USA Network in the ’80s? Nah, that has to be urban legend.

But I shouldn’t complain, as I am fortunate that the B&S About Movies’ staff has been unable — thank god — to locate a copy of Rundle’s fourth film, Vampire Hunter (1994). That Linnea Quigley starrer seems not to exist or at the very least it was never completed/released. The IMBb page is a barren wasteland and no VHS nor DVD greys pop up on a Google search. And that’s a shame (no, really) because watching another Linnea Quigley film (we recently reviewed 2020’s The Good The Things Devils Do) is something to strive for.

However, Rundle’s second film, Dark Harvest (1992) is out there. That one is written and directed by James I. Nicholson, the writer behind Armand Gazarian’s Badlanders, which we scratched off our apoc list a few months back. But it’s not a Rundle joint, per say, since he only produced it. Besides, I just don’t have the strength for another movie about another group of 30-year old college kids running afoul of a possessed scarecrow on an ancient Indian burial ground. I just can’t. I have my celluloid masochist limits, after all. Maybe if Rundle wrote and/or directed it, I’d take the plunge. . . .

Of course, we reviewed Rundle’s debut as a writer and director, the mess than shoved me down this defacto hell hole in the first place: Cybernator (1991). And, because we had a Ponch, a Stringfellow, and a Don Stroud in the frames, we went ahead and gave Rundle’s second writing and directing effort — and third film, overall — The Divine Enforcer (1992), a tosser. And a toss. . . .

For Rundle’s sixth and final film — not counting his three shorts, Hell’s Paradox, The Vessel, and Killswitch (shot in ’96, ’03, and ’05; probably created to entice investors) — Raw Energy (1995), he earned a co-writer’s credit alongside side director Donald G. Jackson.

Uh, no. I won’t. And can’t (thank god), as Sam the Bossman is B&S About Movies’ defacto Donald G. Jackson archivist — and one thorny crown of the Rundle variety on my head is one thorny crown too many. Besides: a movie about virtual reality serial killers on a Z-budget? No way. Not even when the great William Smith appears in a put-a-name-on-the-VHS sleeve role.

And that bring us to this: my final, for all eternity and ever more, Robert Rundle film review.

In this, his fifth film, which also served as his fourth directing credit, Robert Z’Dar, returning from his walk-on in The Divine Enforcer, stars in Run Like Hell: a film that took Rundle — and two more screenwriters, Steven Stein and Alan Hall: a duo that wrote nothing since <smart ass remark about them never writing another film, removed> — to wrangle to completion.

Okay, so Robert Z’Dar is the only person we recognize here and care about, as the rest of the cast look — and act — like porn actors trying to go mainstream-legit, and probably are. Unlike Cybernator, with its bumbling time-projection into a Bladerunneresque “future” filled with ’80s Japanese-import cars, brick buildings, and ’50s-era Aunt Martha’s furnishings, Rundle had the good sense to get out of the big city and into the budget-sensible desert — so we can swallow the fact that we are in a 2008 on a 1995 costume budgeted-version of (skimpy n’ scanty) ’80s punk rockers.

So, if you know your apocs: a budgetary voiceover war n’ sickness-catastrophe has ravaged the Earth. The main culprit for man’s downfall: da wimin — single, indepenent women, in particular. So the U.S government declares them as the single most existential threat — trumping white supremacy, voter I.D. supression, and anything anti-green in Rundle’s brave new world. So, to the chagrin of AOC and the Squad: the women are locked up. And guess who the maniacal warden is: everyone’s favorite ex-Maniac Cop.

How dare you! How dare you let the women run free to destroy the world!

Yee-haw. We got ourselves a shot-on-video T&A apocalypse!

Ugh, finally . . . the voiceover is done. Let’s head off to the showers with four babes — Elsa, Sally, Darla, and Shotgun — in thongs. Well, that’s done: prison break time. Oh, no, not another “Paradise City” to strive for, again. Hey, not if Warden Z’Dar’s cheapjack, motorcycle ridin’ (wooden-acting) cyborg bounty hunter-assassin (well, the actor is “trying” to be robotic, after all) has anything to say about it.

What’s this?

A lone-wolf desert Ninja warrior who’s been able to fight off the mutants to make a life for himself in a wasteland junk yard? Well, time for the inept fight choreography at the old factory as chicks in thongs learn how to fight and fire-up chainsaws for the big showdown with our motorcycle-helmeted cyborg and Robert we-love-him-but-he-ain’t-no-Humongous Z’Dar because this ain’t no Mad Max . . . or America 3000 . . . Robot Holocaust . . . or, I never thought I’d say this: Fire Fight . . . for that matter. Hey, at least Mr. Miyagi of the Wastelands helped the girls lose the up-the-crack thongs for pairs of shorty-shorts and plaid schoolgirl skirts, and finally harnessed their racks in halter tops and tied-off tee-shirts.

Sorry, kiddies. There’s no online freebie streams (lucky me, joy, joy: working the contacts, I got hold of an VHS copy). But we did find this nifty “Under Three Minutes” version of the film to enjoy: if the three minute scene below doesn’t ward you off, first. Or, if you skip both, you can check out this touching six-minute tribute on the career of Robert Z’Dar set to the tune of Mötley Crüe’s “Primal Scream” — that’s infinitely better than the actual film he stars in, here.

Yeah, you hate to rag on the guys that are just passion-trying, but after having four films — Cybernator, Dark Harvest, The Divine Enforcer, and Vampire Hunter (if it was even made at all) — under your belt, shouldn’t your films get better as you progress, learning more about the craft with each film?

Uh, did you really think I’d suffer the fool that is Raw Energy, after this hour and twenty minutes of non-T&A apoc titillation, one rife with clumsy cinematography (I think that’s what it’s called) and worse, well, editing . . . I think?

Uh, no. I am running like hell from from this hand basket of VHS flotsam.

And so concludes B&S About Movies wrangling the career of Robert Rundle in our digital hand basket. Amen.

The resume:

  1. Cybernator (1991) — writer/director
  2. Dark Harvest (1992) — producer
  3. The Divine Enforcer (1992) — writer/director
  4. Vampire Hunter (1994) — director
  5. Run Like Hell (1995) — writer/director
  6. Raw Energy (1995) — co-writer/producer

Robert — then a young Robbie Rundle — got his start in the business an actor on the early Martin Kove (Rice Girl) and James Houghton (prolific U.S. daytime-drama actor and writer, but also Purple People Eater, More American Graffiti, and I Wanna Hold Your Hand) Warner Bros./CBS-TV series Code R, which ran for 13 episodes from January to June 1977. The series was concerned with a South California island’s Emergency Services team.

You can learn more about Code R via its Wikipedia page as well at Nostalgia Central. You can watch the show’s opening and bloopers reel on You Tube.

Hats off, Mr. Rundle. It’s filmmakers, such as yourself, that makes B&S About Movies, fun.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.