Monday, March 28, 2011

The Bad Seed (1956)

The Bad Seed is definitely one of my favorite movies ever. I grew up watching this (is that weird?) and I always watch it in October along with the rest of my spooktastic flicks. 

Rhoda Penmark is 8 years old. She's blonde, she's sweet, she's polite, she's perfect...right? She's also manipulative, evil, and she always gets her way! Her sweet mother Christine becomes worried when a young boy at Rhoda's school drowns on a field trip, and Rhoda is suspected to be involved. As Christine learns more and more about her "angelic" daughter, she is driven to hysteria and acts of desperation, and learns horrifying facts about her own past.

While this movie definitely has its campy moments, the acting is quite phenomenal. Patty McCormack as Rhoda makes that Omen kid look like a saint. Henry Jones plays the janitor Leroy perfectly as the one person who's on to Rhoda from the start ("She's smart and she's mean...but I'm smart and I'm mean!"). Nancy Kelly as Christine deserves major props for playing a desperate and horrified mother so convincingly. You feel as though you're going mad right along with her.

But my absolute favorite performance comes from Eileen Heckart as Hortense Daigle, the mother of Rhoda's dead schoolmate. Mrs. Daigle has turned to drinking to cope with the tragedy, and she's desperate to find some answers about her son. She goes from laughing and reminiscing about her son to sobbing and accusatory from one second to the next. It's amazing.

All in all, this movie is fun, it's suspenseful, it's creepy, and definitely worth checking out.

ANNOYING AWARD: The landlady Monica Breedlove. Gawd, she's nosy and totally obnoxious.
AWESOME AWARD: Mrs. Daigle for reasons listed above. That's one hell of a performance.

Bottom line: PERFECT CHILDREN ARE CREEPY. That's all!
(As of this writing, it's streamable on Netflix! Check it out!)

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