Bad Ronald Blu Ray Review (Warner Archive Collection)
Bad Ronald is a 1974 made for television thriller film directed by Buzz Kulik (Brian’s Song. The Hunter, Riot, & Sergeant Ryker). It’s based off the 1973 novel by the same name from author Jack Vance (Captain Video and His Video Rangers & Thriller). The script was written by Andrew Peter Marin (Murder C.O.D., Deadly Intentions, Sweet Revenge, & Hog Wild). It was produced by Philip Capice (The Stranger Within, Helter Skelter, Eight Is Enough, & Dallas) & Lee Rich (The Score, Just Cause, Hard to Kill, & Innocent Blood). It originally aired October 23, 1974 on ABC. It was remade in 1992 in France.
Ronald Wilby (played by: Scott Jacoby from To Die For 1/2, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, Return to Horror High, & The Anderson Tapes) is a socially awkward high school youth that just doesn’t fit in with the others. His overprotective mother Elaine (played by: Kim Hunter from The Planet of the Apes franchise, Two Evil Eyes, The Kindred, & The Swimmer) needs surgery & she has high hopes one that day that her son will be a doctor. He gets rejected by Laurie Matthews (played by: Shelley Spurlock from Absence of Malice & Cocoon: The Return) & later on her younger sister Carol (played by: Angela Hoffman from The Bionic Woman) pushes his buttons too far which makes him snap. He goes into a fit of rage & accidentally kills the girl. He confesses the crime to his mother & she tells him to hide in the house for now. He tells the locals & the police that he ran away. The nosy Mrs. Schumacher (played by: Linda Watkins from From Hell It Came, Good Neighbor Sam, Route 66, & The Parent Trap) has her own opinions about the situation.
Elaine Wilby goes in for surgery & ends up dying leaving Ronald all alone in their house. He creates his own fantasy world from all the isolation. The Woods Family which include Mom (played by: Pippa Scott from The Searchers, As Young as We Are, Petulia, & Cold Turkey), Dad (played by: Dabney Coleman from Boardwalk Empire, The Guardian, WarGames, & You’ve Got Mail), Babs (played by: Cindy Fisher from The Stone Boy, Liar’s Moon, & Hometown U.S.A.), Althea (played by: Cindy Eilbacher from Slumber Party Massacre II & The Big Bounce) & Ellen (played by: Lisa Eilbacher from Beverly Hills Cop, 10 to Midnight, An Officer and a Gentleman, & Leviathan) end up buying the house & moving in. None of them knew they had a guest lurking there & stalking their every move. Ellen brings over her boyfriend Duane Matthews (played by: Ted Eccles from In Cold Blood, My Side of the Mountain, & The Honkers) who will never forget Ronald. Ronald waits until the parents leave & he has some alone time with his new crush Babs to make his move. He wants take back his place from these strangers. Can this family survive this weird kid living in a different world from the rest of society????
Bad Ronald doesn’t feel like a TV movie at all, this could have easily been in theaters at the time. It has a dark tone to it & it didn’t feel watered down despite being made for the general public. Ronald Wilby reminds me of a young Norman Bates & Scott Jacoby is really creepy in this role. It has an excellent supporting cast & crew of television veterans. I think The People from Under the Stairs got a little inspiration from this flick. I definitely seen some similarities between this & Psycho also. It kept isolated to mainly one location & it works to it’s advantage. Ronald Wilby may be one of most obscure & unknown horror villains but he deserves to be mentioned when it comes to the most disturbing. It’s great to see Warner Archive resurrect some more TV horror on blu ray to be discovered!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Warner Archive! This 1080p (1.33:1) is a major improvement over the previous M.O.D DVD & hard to find VHS releases. For a 70s television film, this looks amazing & it’s definitely the best it’s ever been on home video! The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is a huge upgrade over every other release, the dialogue is very clean & the score sounds awesome on it. I don’t see anyone else topping this release especially for picture & sound. It also includes English SDH subtitles. There’s no extras on the disc. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!