Friday, January 07, 2005

Escaped Prisoner Hides in Closet for Months

I wonder if I'm the only person who read this story, and immediately thought of this movie.

The story:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A prisoner who escaped last June was recaptured this week and accused of robbery after surviving for months by hiding out in a vacant electronics store and eating stolen baby food, police said.

Authorities said Jeffrey Allen Manchester lived a 4-by-10-foot closet decorated with posters and model toys, played hoops with a mini-basketball net and watched "Spider-Man 2" on a DVD player. He also routed water from an adjacent Toys "R" Us and even installed a smoke detector, they said.

The movie is Bad Ronald, a 1974 TV-movie that I remember seeing when I was a kid. If I saw it in 1974, I would have been eight or nine years old. Though today's jaded nine-year-olds may find a movie about a psychopathic teenage killer living walled up in a secret room in someone's house to be a bit dull, . . . I was completely freaked out. For a long time afterward I wondered if there might be a secret room in our house with a live-in psychopath.

I've never seen the movie since, but it's stayed with me for all these years, occasionally popping out of my subconscious at unexpected moments. Like today.

The 70s were full of cheesy-bad horror movies, and I'm sure that this one was about as cheesy as they come. MST3K-level cheesy. (It had Dabney Coleman in it, after all.)

Somehow, I've got to see this movie again.


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