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Nightmare in Columbia County (1991)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  10 December 1991 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 168 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 1 critic

The recounting of a terrible crime that wracked a family and galvanized police in South Carolina in the 1980's.

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Title: Nightmare in Columbia County (TV Movie 1991)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sheriff Jim Metts
...
Dawn Elizabeth Smith (as Jeri Lynn Ryan)
Michele Abrams ...
Shari Smith
...
Asst. Sheriff McCarty
Linda Pierce ...
Hilda Smith
J. Don Ferguson ...
...
Larry Gene Bell (as Butch Slade)
Joyce Leigh Bowden ...
Carol Metts (as Joyce Bowden)
Stephen Preusse ...
SLED Officer
...
Scanlon
Michael Flippo ...
Command Post Deputy
Chuck Kinlaw ...
Principal
...
Man at Depot (as Mark Miller)
Alan Sader ...
Prosecutor
Don Tilley ...
Man at Door
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Storyline

The recounting of a terrible crime that wracked a family and galvanized police in South Carolina in the 1980's.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

10 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Obsession coupable  »

Filming Locations:


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This film is based on the crimes of Larry Gene Bell. See more »

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User Reviews

 
based on a true story
10 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Sadly, this TV movie is based on a true story. The problem with some of these dramas ripped from the headlines is that, after you've seen and heard the real family, there's simply no comparison.

Thanks to some nice performances, however, this film does a pretty good job of telling the story of a beauty queen who disappears outside of her home and whose family is then tortured by the kidnapper even after the young woman's body is found.

The actual shocking details are depicted in the movie - for instance, the poor mother having to keep the killer on the phone, on the day of her daughter's funeral, as the killer asks her if she wants to know how her daughter died. As the real-life mother said in the documentary done on Court TV, "Did I want to talk to him? No. But what choice did I have?" The young woman writes a letter to her family (also depicted in this movie). She states that she is ready to die and requests a closed casket. Though I can't imagine anything more unbearable, in real life, the parents say it has helped provide them with the closure they needed to go on for their lives.

Though this film does a decent job, certainly, the focus is on the Jeri Ryan character, the victim's sister. After viewing the Court TV story, one walks away inspired by the courage of the entire family in the face of such torment, and is haunted by the photo of this beautiful, radiant young woman with her entire life ahead of her.

In 2006, "What Not to Wear" did makeovers on three past beauty pageant contestants when they brought them back to re-enter the competition. One of the former contestants was a rather perky and annoying blond from the south. I later learned she is the sister on which the Jeri Ryan character is based; her sister was the one killed. I went from thinking this smiling and somewhat cloying older women was a pain to thinking she's one of the most remarkable women I've ever seen.


4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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