The Bad Seed

Nothing could be more classically chilling then this wonderful screen adaptation of the play The Bad Seed directed by Mervyn Leroy and starring Patty McCormack (Frost/Nixon) as the devilish antagonist Rhoda. Before The Omen, before Knowing, before The Orphan, before The Good Son we have the originator of murderous evil embodied in a small blonde headed child. 

To abridge this prodigious film into a few words, I would say that this movie is about a mother (Nancy Kelly) who has spurned a Bad Seed; a child devoid of the moral impulse to separate right from wrong and to possess the basic value of life.  Horrified but yet loving her daughter Rhoda’s mother Christine (Nancy Kelly) endures her daughters murderous gallivanting until she cannot take it any longer.

  This film is so enchanting in the classic approach to horror, the various qualities peculiar to this 1956 academy award nominated film that make it a keeper. I especially love the scenes after Rhoda has locked the housekeeper in a smoke filled basement. As we here his screams Rhoda alights in the house unflustered and walks straight to her room. Shutting the door she begins to play her piano, as his screams for help escalate, Rhoda’s playing becomes more staccato and rigid, hastening with the screams. As Rhoda’s mother begins to understand what has just occurred she becomes horrified and hysterical and starts to yank at the door begging for Rhoda to come out, but the door is locked… 

If you have a deadpan crude since of humor such as I do, you will also see some comedy in this film as well, even though it is not intended: such as the last scene of the movie with Rhoda on the docks… 

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