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Nightmare in Columbia County (1991)

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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheriff Jim Metts
Dawn Elizabeth Smith (as Jeri Lynn Ryan)
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
Michael Flippo ...
Command Post Deputy
Chuck Kinlaw ...
Man at Depot (as Mark Miller)
Alan Sader ...
Don Tilley ...
Man at Door


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

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Release Date:

10 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fascino mortale  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


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

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User Reviews

I was 12yrs old and lived in Columbia, SC when this happened
28 June 2008 | by (Lacey, Wa) – See all my reviews

I lived in Columbia SC when Sheri Faye Smith and Debra Helmick were killed by Larry Gene Bell in 1985, I was 12..I was staying at my grandparents cabin for the summer on Lake Murray when Sheri Smiths body was found behind an old schoolhouse about 2 miles down the road. The flies were so thick that day, and than we heard sirens, my mom made the comment "I hope they didn't find that poor girls body" which of course they had. This movie follows the truth so closely its almost like its happening again. Excellent movie and I recommend it. Larry Gene Bell killed not only Shari but other girls including 11yr old Debra Mae Helmick who lived about 2 miles from were we lived in Columbia before we went to Lake Murray for the summer. I have 3 sisters, Sherri, Debbi and Jean, 2 of which shared the murdered girls names, you can imagine how my parents felt when all this happened. My sister Sherri was 14 at the time and my sister Debbi was 10, both were close in age to the murdered girls also. Larry Gene Bell was put to death Oct 4, 1996 I believe, his crimes will never be forgotten and neither will his victims.

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