There's always one thing that I was afraid of when I was a child and that was that I would become a drug addict in high school. Thankfully, I couldn't swallow pills and I'm still afraid of needles.
Even though it took a couple of decades to finally watch this cautionary tale, it still delivers a punch and I think any young kid can relate.
Alice (Jamie Smith-Jackson) is an insecure teen starting at a new high school after her college professor father (William Shatner) begins a new job in a new state. It takes weeks before Alice meets a new friend, Beth (Mimi Saffian) who's just as square as Alice. But, Beth has an older boyfriend and Alice wishes that she had a boyfriend.
As the school year flies by, Beth goes out of town for the summer and one day while Alice is bored and out window shopping, she goes into a store where her classmate Chris (Jennifer Edwards) works. Chris invites her to a party that night which begins Alice's downfall.
By the end of summer, Alice is hanging out with the "in crowd" and pops pills to make it through the day and night and while Beth is happy to see her, she knows that Alice is now a changed teen.
Alice starts to date pre-med student Ted (Frederick Herrick) while Chris is with Richie (Robert Carradine) and they get the girls to start selling drugs to younger kids.
One day, Alice goes to their hangout and she discovers Ted and Richie in bed together and she takes the money and she and Chris runaway where they have big plans. However, their plans go awry since their habit gets in the way.
Alice wakes up after a blackout and meets Doris (Mackinzie Phillips) a "baby hooker" and she tells Alice that Chris went off with some guys. She fills her in on what had happened and Alice thinks about cleaning up her act.
The one thing that she does remember is that she and Chris had met a sadistic couple but wasn't sure what happened to Chris since she left the couple's house.
Eventually, Alice finds her way to a priest (Andy Griffith) who helps runaways and he reads the diary that she's been keeping. He helps her get in touch with her parents and she manages to go home.
Once school starts again, Alice finds out that Chris has moved and now she has a target on her back. Her supposed friend Jan (Ayn Ruymen) tells everyone that Alice is holding and she's out to get Alice for what she's done to Ted and Richie.
Sober now, Alice starts to date her fathers assistant Joel Clements (Wendell Burton) and one night while babysitting, Jan busts into the house telling her that this is her client and starts to freak out. Alice calls Jan's parents after she leaves.
Since this doesn't sit well with Jan, Alice is babysitting again and after drinking a soft drink laced with drugs, Alice wakes up in the hospital and doesn't know what had happened. She does put things together and feels that Jan was behind it.
After her last freak out, Alice manages to get her life together and eventually succumbs to the pressures of life and dies of an overdose.
While a little campy now, this is still a good made for TV movie and you kind of wish that it would have had a different outcome since deep down Alice is a good person. She just started hanging with the wrong crowd.
When there were only three television channels, American Broadcasting Company (ABC) led the pack when it came to made for television movies and they seemed to specialize in terror/horror. For the most part, they were all pretty good (if they weren't the trailers certainly were good).
Lonely teens also seemed to be a staple of these movies and Bad Ronald was no exception.
Ronald Wilby (Scott Jacoby) is considered weird by his classmates and on his birthday, he goes for a walk and goes over to Laurie Matthews' house (Shelley Spurlock) where she and some friends are in the pool. They mock him and on his way home, he runs into her younger sister, Carol (Angela Hoffman) and he pushes her away where she loses her balance and falls, hitting her head on a cinderblock.
He panics and buries her in a shallow grave and once home he tells his mother (Kim Hunter) and she devises a plan to keep him out of jail.
They spend the night building a cubicle behind the walls so that he can live there. The entrance is in the pantry and he can essentially roam through the house without being discovered.
When the police arrive they look around and with a sigh of relief, they know that their plan worked.
But, Elaine is sick with something internal and she has to go into the hospital for surgery. Unfortunately, she dies and the house is sold to the Wood family.
When the Wood's move in (Dabney Coleman and Pippa Scott) their daughters (Lisa and Cindy Eilbacher and Cindy Fisher) think the place is creepy and through their daughter Ellen's boyfriend Duane Matthews (Ted Eccles) they learn about Ronald and the death of his sister Carol.
As the house changes, Ronald still lives behind the walls and has created a fantasy world in his head and in the drawings that he's created. His main obsession is with Babs (Fisher) and he wants her to come into his world.
Whenever the Wood's leave the house, he goes exploring through the house and also helps himself to their food (which the Mrs. blames on Duane) and one day, their nosy neighbor Mrs. Schumacher (Linda Watkins) catches Ronald in the kitchen.
She suffers a heart attack and he buries her under her house.
Ronald's obsession for Babs continues and he puts a full sized drawing of her in her bedroom and eventually kidnaps her by hiding her in Mrs. Schumacher's house.
Ellen and Althea are home alone and when they can't sleep, they discover a pinpoint of light and the presence of Ronald.
I still think the movie holds up today and you have to wonder what's behind your walls whenever you hear a bump in the night.
Would you take an all expense paid cruise if you didn't remember entering a contest?
Well, that's what three couples do after they "win" a three week cruise in the Caribbean, but the kicker is, none of them how they "won." So who lured them onto the ship?
The couples consist of Sylvia and Jerry Carter (Polly Bergen and Richard Long); James and Mary Francis Radney (Edward Albert and Kate Jackson) and Elizabeth and David Mason (Celeste Holm and Tom Bosley) and each of the couples are miserable in some way. Deep down they hope that they can reconcile their problems during the trip, but everything seems to escalate.
On the first night at sea, the couples, along with the ship's doctor (Michael Constantine) are dining at the same table and they all talk about this mysterious contest. Jerry brings something up about being in Atlanta in the summer of 1970 and asks if that's why they all seem familiar.
David tells him that he was there for a convention and the Radney's admit to being there for their honeymoon. However, they can't place where they would have run into one another.
On the second night of the cruise, Sylvia is fed up with Jerry and she retires back to the stateroom where she waits up with him. He's been partying the night away and while on deck, he's to meet another passenger but never does.
Enraged, Sylvia goes on deck to find him since it's late but she doesn't see him anywhere. The next morning, his cigarette case is found on the deck.
Everyone offers up their sympathy to Sylvia and it's a mystery as to if he jumped or happened to fall off the ship. This causes Mary Francis to want to have a baby, just in case something were to happen to James.
He tells her again that he doesn't want children and in order to take out her frustrations with him, goes skeet shooting (as it calms her nerves).
In the Mason's cabin, Elizabeth is drunk because David had suggested they get a divorce since they have nothing in common anymore and with their children grown, he points out that Elizabeth still frets over them.
One by one, those in this tight group are killed off and those who are still alive can't figure out the motive behind the murders. Mary Francis still brings up the Atlanta connection that Jerry had brought up, but nothing jogs their memories of that time.
As I said above, ABC loved their mysteries and this was aired exactly a week after Bad Ronald, so I guess this was probably the first time thrillers/mysteries began to pop up for Halloween offerings, a trend which of course continues to this day.
There's one thing (besides the hideous '70's clothes) to take note of.
On the second night's dinner, Bosley is wearing a white jacket with black lapels. His tie connects everything together, but when he moves its broken and I found myself watching the connection fix itself.
It was hypnotizing!