In 1978 Sheriff Reed captures the deranged serial killer known as The Death Valley Drifter in the desert and the criminal is sentenced to death. In the present day, Sheriff Reed is near retirement and will be replaced by his son. Whilst they are having a meal in a rest stop diner in the middle of the desert, a runaway car with three thieves who robbed a casino stops in the spot for refueling. One of the robbers is the former boyfriend of the waitress Maya, and another criminal is wounded in the backseat. There is a shootout among the thieves and the sheriffs and their car explodes, however the body of the wounded criminal vanishes and the survivors discover that they are stranded in the place. Furthermore, they are stalked and chased by a fiend with stench known as The Reeker.
At a party, one student gets picked on and ends up getting thrown into a pool that has no water in it. Frank, a geek, retrieves a brain from his father’s lab and agrees to let the boy have it in exchange for a chance to hang with the popular crowd. The brain, it turns out, originally belonged to a serial killer. As the teen monster goes haywire, popular Macy becomes romantically involved with former geek Frank.