Stacy's Place on Earth
Blog Home Change to Small Font Change to Large Font
Tuesday, August 17, 2010:
What I'm watching: The Bad Seed (1956)

"A basket full of kisses for a basket full of hugs."

Those are chilling words, at least when uttered by that ice princess, Patty McCormack. As Rhoda Penmark, she is as pretty as a porcelain doll but drips venom with each curtsey and polite response. Little Rhoda's mother is terrified she has passed on her own mother's corruption. Oops, turns out she's right.

This passes the test of time, as it still gets under your skin. The character development is tight and the story very involving. Not even Freddy Krueger had the ability to scare like tiny McCormack, looking just like a little adult while she literally beats out the competition for a penmanship award.

However, director Mervyn LeRoy's hands were tied over the ending, which was changed from the source material--Maxwell Anderson's hit Broadway play. A supposedly more appropriate, and moral, ending was demanded by the studio. This was remade (badly) in 1985. --Rochelle O'Gorman

This was the first time I'd seen this movie. A friend of mine bought it - she hadn't seen it either - and told me I just had to see it, that it was incredibly creepy. So I borrowed it from her because I was in the mood for a sufficiently creepy movie.

Maybe it was just the mood I was in, but I didn't think it was all that big of a deal. The music was rather melodramatic (at times it reminded me of The Wizard of Oz) and I found myself laughing quite often. I mean, I understood why it was supposed to be so horrifying back in the day, but I found it more comedic.

Still, little Rhoda is rather disturbed. I found her to be one messed up kid, yet what's fascinating is that there's really no one distinctive reason for her behavior. She just seems to have been born that way. And that's the kinda thing that gives me chills. That's why stuff like that is scarier than any horror movie monster could ever be. Some people are just born evil, and that's what makes Rhoda so chilling. Underneath those perfect pigtails and little dresses is a monster.

I'm not going to give anything away, but let's just say, she gets hers in the end. Now I'm going to go and find the book by William March....

Have you seen The Bad Seed?

What did you think of it?



  1. I saw it - she's like an adorable little Dexter.

    However, without giving too much away - the ending is an interesting Hollywood addition. The "Bad Seed" is apparently based on a play, and in the play she gets away clean. Hollywood, however, felt they needed to show the girl being "punished" for what she'd done - hence the added ending.

Post a Comment