The event was introduced by Dan Tabor of Geekadelphia fame and he revealed a few interesting facts about the films. For one, Bad Ronald is based on a book of the same name but the film diverted in many ways, particularly in the content. While creepy, Bad Ronald is pretty PG, though according to Dan the novel scores much higher in the depravity department. It may be worth tracking down for those interested in older horror novels.
I’d seen Bad Ronald before at an Exhumed event that featured it and the previous night’s film, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and knew I was in for a treat. It’s very 70s, meaning it’s strange and quirky and filled with bad fashion. Seeing it again was great, even knowing what was to come. The plot follows a misfit who is hidden in the walls of his house by his overbearing mother when he accidentally kills one of his tormentors. After his mother dies and another family moves in, his nastier tendencies get the better of him and like the tagline says, “The Wilby place is haunted… by a ghost who isn’t dead!”
The second film, Crawlspace, was co-directed by John (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark) Newland and Bad Ronald’s Buzz Kulik. This bizarre entry follows a childless older couple as they adopt a homeless person and let him live in the crawlspace in their home. Like Bad Ronald, it seems to suggest that embracing the misfit could be destructive, no matter how good one’s intentions. It shows much restraint, but is creepy where it counts and occasionally gets downright whacky to shake things up.
The highlight of the movie is the adopted father’s confrontation with the vagrant over defecating in the basement instead of using the bathroom. “They Wanted A Son … He Gave Them A Nightmare!” Indeed.