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Friday, March 12, 2010

Bad Ronald Review

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Bad Ronald is a 1974 made for TV horror movie and is regarded as one of the best of all time. It had an excellent cast featuring Scott Jacoby, Pippa Scott, John Larch, Dabney Coleman, and Kim Hunter.
The synopsis of the film is:

How bad is Ronald? The Wood family finds out when they move into a house with an extra realtor they didn't know about: teenage Ronald, who's been hiding in a secret room ever since he killed a neighbor girl. Ronald was a little weird when he entered the room. Now he's creepy, scary, and crazy. And he finds the three pretty Wood daughters very, very interesting. The film maintains a nerve tightening atmosphere of suspense as Ronald begins terrorizing the unsuspecting family.

The movie begins with Ronalds birthday party, being attended by only he and his mother. We learn that Ronald enjoys building projects, artwork, and writing his own stories. The way he talks about his stories, you can tell he lives in a fantasy world. His mother waits on him hand and foot and does not seem to think he can make many decisions for himself. After dinner and cake, Ronald splashes on some cologne and goes out to see a girl he likes. Unfortunately, the girl does not feel the same for him, and her friends start to make fun of Ronald saying many nasty things to him. He promptly leaves and starts for home. As he is walking down an embankment, we see a young girl riding her bike down the road. Ronald steps out into the road, right into the girl, knocking her off of her bike. He goes to help her up but she has nothing but bad things to say to him too, making fun of both him and his mother. He demands that she apologize for what she has said but she refuses, infuriating Ronald. He picks her up by her head and throws her. She hits the ground with her skull coming in direct contact with a cinder block, killing her instantly. Ronald is shocked by what he has done but knows he needs to do something about it. When he gets home, it is late at night and Ronald's mother questions him instantly. After she finds out what he has done, she plans out how to keep him out of trouble knowing it is only a matter of time before he starts being questioned. She decides they should wall off one of the bathrooms downstairs, making it a secret room in which he can hide. He builds an escape door using one of the bottom panels in the pantry. His mother tells him that he must stay in there no matter what and when the heat on him has died down a little, they will leave for good. He stays in the room all day and night, exercising and drawing out his stories. His mother goes out for a surgery, but never returns, she has died of complications. The house is emptied and put on the market with nobody realizing that Ronald still occupies the house. Ronald realizes that his mother is dead, and leaves his room to drill peep holes in the walls. The Wood family then moves in, and they have three beautiful daughters. Ronald immediately develops affections for the youngest one, believing she is a damsel in distress that he must rescue. The film then turns very voyeuristic as Ronald watches their every move. The rest of the movie is very fast paced and you do not quite know what to expect. The thing I enjoyed about the film is how they make Ronald a very tragic character. You know what he did was wrong, but you feel sorry for him because of his situation. In most films, the writers have a difficult time balancing the different aspects of the villain, but not here as you genuinely feel compassion for Ronald. Obviously since this film was made for TV in 1974, there is no gore. But a film like this doesn't need it, instead relying on story and actor's portrayals for the scares. And the scares are very effective, giving a couple of jump scenes. Not many people have heard of or remember this film, but any true horror fan should have this on their must see list. The cast was spot on and the writing superb, I highly recommend seeing Bad Ronald.