Category Archives: little girl who lives down the lane
Bad Ronald ~ In the early to mid-1970s ABC did tons of TV movies, also known as telemovies or movies of the week. The best of these were low-budget yet very memorable horror thrillers. Warner Home Video has finally released some of these lost classics on DVD in their Archives Collection.
One of these was Bad Ronald, based on the book by science fiction writer Jack Vance, and starring Scott Jacoby (Mario from The Little Girl who Lives Down the Lane) in the title role and Kim Hunter (Zira from Planet of the Apes) as his mother.
Social misfit Ronald accidentally kills one of his tormentors and his equally twisted smothering mother hides him away in a secret room in their house. When Mom heads to the hospital and dies, Ronald falls deeper into dementia. When a family moves into the newly vacant house, and one of the daughters begins dating the victim’s older brother – it gets really creepy as he starts drilling peepholes in walls and pillaging their fridge for food.
A wannabe writer, Ronald, in his loneliness, begins to blur the line between reality and his fantasy world of Atranta, envisioning the daughter as his princess and the boyfriend as an evil duke. When the parents go away for the weekend, Ronald comes out to play, and things take a wild turn into horror movie land and the fun begins.
The stranger living in the walls idea is a classic of the genre, almost as notorious as ‘the calls are coming from inside the house,’ and Bad Ronald is a classic in its own right. I’m glad this is finally out on DVD.
The Little Girl who Lives Down the Lane ~ This is one of my favorite movie-of-the-week-style suspense thrillers from the 1970s. Very straightforward, only a few characters to worry about – heck it could be a stage play easily, and most importantly, it’s scary without being bloody or gory. Are you paying attention, Eli Roth? These things do not go hand in hand. Now I may have gone a bit hard on Jodie Foster earlier this month, but I really do like her. She is a talent powerhouse and here she shows just how good she was even at a young age. Also showing his superior acting chops is Martin Sheen, always a favorite of mine (pre-“West Wing” at least). He is the epitome of the creepy pedophile in this flick. Excellent fodder for a popcorn-filled Halloween Friday night.
The Batman Vs. Dracula ~ I was kinda put off by “The Batman” animated series when it began with its manga design, obsession with the telling of the early stories and its changes for the sake of change. This made-for-DVD movie pitting this new animated version of Batman against the real prince of darkness turned my head and got my attention. In my opinion, this movie was also the turning point for the TV series as well. Dracula is a real vital threat outside the safe constraints of ‘children’s programming’ and the creators take full advantage of it. This is a rare Halloween treat for genre and non-genre fans alike.
Invisible Enemies ~ This is what I get for stopping on one of the Christian broadcasting stations in the middle of the night. Actually this mini-movie with a lesson is pretty good. Like a “Twilight Zone” episode crossed with They Live with heavy evangelistic overtones poured on top, this is the tale of a young man who finds a pair of magical glasses that allow him to see demons in our world. As good as it could be to teach a lesson, and still hold your attention.
Kongo ~ This entry from 1932 is a talkie remake of the classic Tod Browning flick West of Zanzibar. It’s okay but it lacks the power of the original. Walter Huston is good, but he’s no Lon Chaney. But then again, no one is, and few approach him.