John Holbrook Vance's psychological thriller was softened for television (the film was made for ABC) but retained a genuinely creepy atmosphere. High school misfit Ronald Wilby (Scott Jacoby) lives with his adoring mother (Kim Hunter) but is otherwise friendless. His efforts to reach out to kids his won age are disastrous; the classmate he asks on a date humiliates him and a 12-year-old neighbor taunts him and mocks his mother, pushing Ronald beyond what he can bear. He shoves her and she hits her head on a rock and dies. Rtaher than see her son imprisoned, Ronald's mother builds a fake wall over the door their spare bathroom and hides him; a trap door that opens into the pantry allows him to get in and out. When the police come looking for Ronald, she tells them that he ran away. Weeks pass and Ronald remains shut away, drinking powdered milk, writing a fantasy story about the imaginary world of Atranta and getting crazier by the minute. His mother has to go into the hospital for a gall bladder operation and unexpectedly dies on the table. Since no-one realizes Ronald is in the house, it's sold to the unsuspecting Woods family and Ronald is soon carving peepholes in the walls so he can spy on their three pretty daughters (Lisa Eilbacher, Cindy Fisher, Cindy Eilbacher). In the original novel, Ronald ultimately abducts, rapes and ultimately murders two women, but even without these elements the film is creepy; a French version of BAD RONALD called Mechant Garcon ("Bad Boy") was released in 1992.