As a kid I, along with most of the rest of the country, watched the made-for-TV movie Born Innocent. If you don’t know that film, it’s a 1974 title that stars Linda Blair as a once “normal” teenage girl who, mostly due to her parents’ cruel indifference, goes down a path that leads to the hell of life inside a girls’ reform school. At that time I wasn’t familiar with the concept of camp entertainment, or that there were whole subgenres within that realm that had to do with babes behind bars and reform school girls. Born Innocent was just the big TV movie that everybody was talking about that week, and it starred that girl who’d been in The Exorcist, and I wanted to see it.
The movie devastated me. The tale of a likable kid who was emotionally abandoned by her parents and left to fend for herself, with no place or person to turn to for ultimate security, left me shaken. It was so desolate. It made me realize that things like having parents who cared about you, and protection from bullies, were gifts, not to be taken for granted. I hugged my mom extra hard before going to bed after watching the movie.