The Bad Seed (1956)
October 3, 2022 5:46 PM - Subscribe

Air Force Colonel Kenneth Penmark and his wife, Christine, dote on their daughter, Rhoda -- as does their lonely landlady, Monica Breedlove. But self-centered Rhoda has a secret tendency for selfishness and loves to accumulate gifts, whether given or stolen, in her room. Christine keeps her knowledge of her daughter's darker side to herself, but when a schoolmate of Rhoda's dies mysteriously, her self-deception unravels.

I watched this with Kitteh tonight -- we are doing the Dirty Little Horror podcast's October movie series -- and we loved it.

We loved it sincerely -- it's well made, well acted, and genuinely chilling at points. The use of the speeding-up Clair de Lune throughout the score and as a feature in the last reels was amazing. It doesn't entirely avoid the flat feeling of a stage-to-film adaptation, but it handles it pretty well.

And we loved it through a 2022 lens, where a lot of what is going on is either creepy or hilarious by contemporary standards. Why Hortense Daigle is not 10,000% a cultural icon is beyond me. "I GOT A LIL DRUNK AND I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO, ANNND I CAME OVER HERE." Eileen Heckart is fearless and my hero. Grampa Bravo's toupee and the way he downs a G&T in under 60 seconds and gets belligerent with a house guest! Leroy, who sounds eerily and precisely like Paul F Tompkins doing a comedy Cajun accent!

As an aside Jesse White did a Jesse White thing as Elroy, and I realized that his is also a principal in Harvey and in Rope, so if he's not the king of the all-time great stage-to-film adaptations, I don't know who is.

Anyway! Bad Seed! Thoroughly enjoyed it as a great thriller, thoroughly enjoyed it as an unintentional screwball comedy at certain points.
posted by Shepherd (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
And of course, an absolutely unintentionally hilarious deus ex machina of an ending.
posted by Kitteh at 5:55 PM on October 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

I mean, seriously, Chekhov's lake?
posted by SPrintF at 7:18 PM on October 3, 2022 [3 favorites]

I love this movie. Full stop.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:00 PM on October 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Based on the novel and play.

My 6th grade teacher (79-80) told us the plot but not the title. She also had a copy of Mommie Dearest on the shelves.
posted by brujita at 4:49 PM on October 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

Peggy's "here's your basket of kisses" in the Babylon episode of Mad Men is a reference to TBS.
posted by brujita at 7:53 PM on October 5, 2022

Just want to add that I read that this is one of John Waters' favorite movies. It definitely influenced him! My wife loved this movie as a kid, too. It's definitely worth a watch.
posted by SoberHighland at 4:48 AM on October 6, 2022

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