"Bad Ronald" is a psychological thriller that was released in 1974. Directed by Buzz Kulik, the movie is based on a novel of the same name by Jack Vance.
The film revolves around a socially awkward and introverted young man named Ronald Wilby (played by Scott Jacoby). Ronald is constantly ridiculed and bullied by his peers, which leads him to retreat into a vivid fantasy world. After a tragic accident occurs involving a young girl, Ronald's mother covers up the incident to protect her son.
Following the accident, Ronald's mother devises a plan to keep him hidden from the world. She secretly constructs a hidden room behind a wall in their home, where Ronald is to stay hidden indefinitely. The room is equipped with basic amenities and essentials, allowing Ronald to survive without any contact with the outside world.
Years go by, and Ronald remains hidden in the secret room. He continues to live in his fantasy world, keeping a journal of his experiences and his growing obsession with a family living in the same house. Eventually, the house is sold to a new family, the Wood family, consisting of Ellen (played by Pippa Scott), her teenage daughter Althea (Cindy Fisher), and her younger son Bucky (Ted Eccles).
As the Wood family moves in, Althea discovers the hidden room and becomes intrigued by its secrets. Unaware of Ronald's presence, Althea decides to keep the room a secret for her own reasons. However, as she delves deeper into the room's history, she begins to uncover the unsettling truth about Ronald and the events that transpired years ago.
Althea's curiosity sets off a chain of events that gradually brings Ronald's hidden existence into light. Tensions rise as Ronald's fragile mental state is pushed to its limits, and the Wood family becomes entangled in a dangerous and suspenseful struggle with a man who has been isolated for far too long.
Scott Jacoby as Ronald Wilby
Pippa Scott as Ellen Wood
Cindy Fisher as Althea Wood
Ted Eccles as Bucky Wood
John Larch as Dr. Anspacher
Dabney Coleman as Col. Kenneth Wilby
Kim Hunter as Elaine Wilby