BAD RONALD (1974) Reviews and overview

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bad ronald

‘A disturbed teenager unleashes a night of terror’

Bad Ronald is a 1974 American TV movie directed by Buzz Kulik (Crawlspace, 1971) from a screenplay written by Andrew Peter Marin. It is based on a novel by Jack Holbrook Vance, who is more famous for his science fiction and fantasy novels.


An introverted and shy teenager, Ronald, accidentally kills a mocking peer and his mother helps him hide in a spare room in their house. Problems arise when the mother goes for an operation and dies, and the house is sold to a new family, with the teen still living inside. Ronald descends into a fantasy world and develops an unwelcome fondness for the youngest daughter of the family…



Main cast:

Scott Jacoby (To Die For and sequel; Return to Horror High), Kim Hunter, Dabney Coleman and sisters Lisa and Cindy Eilbacher.


Although Scott Jacoby who plays Ronald and Cindy Fisher who plays Babs, the object of his affections, never troubled the Academy in their subsequent careers, the acting is of a high standard; the most notable appearance in the film is by Kim Hunter who plays Ronald’s mother and is best known for playing Zira in the 70s Planet of the Apes films.


The music for the film was composed by Fred Karlin who also scored the likes of Westworld and Chosen SurvivorsBad Ronald is considered one of the very best films made for television and sits alongside the likes of Dark Night of the Scarecrow as a film that now appears somewhat inappropriate in terms of theme and content for the small screen.

Fondly remembered since it was first broadcast and appeared as a bootleg tape for many years, Bad Ronald has recently been given the new lease of life it has long deserved in the form of an official DVD from the Warner Archive imprint.

Daz Lawrence, MOVIES and MANIA


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Other reviews:

“Surreal, psychological, and singular, Bad Ronald is the perfect encapsulation of all that made classic TV movies great.” Andrew Todd, Birth. Movies. Death.

Bad Ronald is an effective demented little piece and deserves a thorough watch; if not just to thrill and excite horror hounds who enjoy creepy little oddities from the seventies but also for writers-to-be to study a straight narrative structure that continually paces itself soundly and also makes biting commentary on the complex dance between accidental horror, emotional scarring and psychological instability.” Lee Gambin,




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