Saturday, November 3, 2012


Here's a post from a while back...
Another ABC MOVIE OF THE WEEK gem from the Warner Archive Collection, BAD RONALD (1974, directed by Buzz Kulik, a veteran TV director, who would later helm over many epic miniseries including FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, RAGE OF ANGELS, GEORGE WASHINGTON and JACKIE COLLINS' LUCKY/CHANCES) is based on a novel by John Holbrook Vance.
BAD RONALD tells the tale of geeky Ronald Wilby (Scott Jacoby, later Dorothy's son Michael on GOLDEN GIRLS), who lives with his overbearing and obviously ill mom (PLANET OF THE APES star Kim Hunter) and has an over-active imagination.
Mom gives Ronald a new toolbox for his birthday, but things start to go bad for Ronald when he dresses to impress a popular girl at school, who snubs him when he shows up at her pool party.
On the way home, Ronald encounters the first of many Jan Brady lookalikes.
This bratty blond on a bicycle teases Ronald so much that he schmushes her face.

During the schmushing, the girl accidentally falls backwards and cracks open her head on a cinderblock.
What does our boy Ronald do? He buries her and goes home, where his mom is waiting. When he tells mother what he did, she comes up with a plan!
Mom decides to hide Ronald in the downstairs bathroom - and soon Ronald uses his new tools to put up a wall where the door should be - HGTV style!
 A small doorway in the kitchen pantry is Ronald's way into and out of his luxurious new studio apartment!
When the cops show up looking to question Ronald, Mrs. Wilby tells them he's run away.
It's not all bad for Ronald. He gets to skip school and eat chocolate all day.
He also gets to work out and write his epic fantasy novel.
And he gets to paint life-size murals featuring characters from his dreamworld Atranta, an added bonus is that since there's a toilet in this middle of his room - he gets to crap whenever he wants!
Things take an unfortunate turn for the worse when his mom has to go into the hospital for a simple gall bladder operation. Unfortunately, Mom never makes it back home.
That's when Mrs. Kravitz-like nosy neighbor Mrs. Schumacher becomes the bane of his existence.
Ronald uses his drill to forge holes throughout the house, and soon a new family, the Woods, with three Brady-like daughters moves into the house with dad Dabney Coleman (9 TO 5).
 Ronald watches the Woods and takes an interest in one of the Jans.
It's interesting how he is able to pan and zoom from his peephole.
While the Woods are out of the house, Ronald decides to drink their milk and see how they've redecorated.
Of course, Mrs. Schumacher catches a glimpse of him...and falls backwards to her death.
Luckily he knows how to bury people real good. So, now Ronald is responsible for two accidentally deaths. Bad Ronald! Bad!
It turns out that one of the Woods girls is dating the brother of the dead bicycle girl. So what happens when the Mr. and Mrs. Woods parents go away for the weekend?
I'm not gonna tell, but let's say it involves some light bondage involving the said boyfriend,
some of Ronald's life-size paintings and a screaming teen-age princess (who looks like Jan Brady).
All while I'm wishing that Ronald would have taken advantage in being trapped in a bathroom and cleaned up a bit.
 Check out BAD RONALD, an enjoyable and twisted 9 outta 10 old-school thriller.
Also, if you want to read the original novel, it is back in print - in hard cover from a publisher called Andreas Irle. You can purchase the book here and buy the exclusive dvd here.


laura linger said...

Scott Jacoby: played Jodie Foster's love interest in the totally amazing The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane. Also played Dorothy's deadbeat son Michael on The Golden Girls.

This sounds like TLGWLDTL (it would have been easier to retype the title!) meets The Collector meets The Boy In The Plastic Bubble. And while the presence of Dabney Coleman is always a WIN, it would have been even better if the Brady Dad had been in this movie somehow. That, or a colorful Southern sheriff with a name like Booker or Cooter. Or maybe a chimp who provided color "commentary" as Ronald committed his crimes.

Mr. Patterson said...

My brother, who is now a real estate agent, said the House Inspector would be in real trouble if he missed a half bath with teen during the inspection.

Also- I have the book in soft cover. It's a nice digital print.