Rev. Warlock DRACONIS BLACKTHORNE (dblackthorne) wrote,

The Bad Seed [review]

The Bad Seed
{1956 c.e. Directed by Mervyn Leroy. Starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden, William Hopper. Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller}

Little Rhoda Penmark will get what she wants at whatever cost, even if it means murder. And she has absolutely no qualms about it, either. All the while manipulating the various adolts around her, admiring her charming ways. A perfect little princess excelling in all she does, but when an unfortunate boy refuses to give her a medal she perceives as hers, he meets his fate beneath the waves at the pier, with strange crescent-shaped marks upon his hand and head.

While Colonel Penmark is away on military assignment, her mother as well as a simpleton janitor 'Leroy' are the first to see through her pleasant charade, suspecting her inclinations and true character. The boy's distraught and inebriated mother makes several disturbing appearances begging for any bit of personal information.

When writer Richard Bravo comes for a visit, he and Mr. Emory Wages have an intriguing discussion on criminology, yielding to an enlightening conversation with Mrs. Penmark about her familial origins, where secrets are revealed which places events into perspective. According to this definition, seems the 'bad seed' is a supremely selfish, disbalanced, sociopathic creature completely devoid of compassion or empathy whatsoever - a prototype of the criminal mind, and in this case, that of a little girl in pigtails, wherein the most disturbing element lies.

When her suspicions are confirmed by the immolation of Leroy along with some other clues, Mrs. Penmark decides to end it all in a truly disconsolate concluding scene.

The character of Rhoda Penmark* is considered so disturbing probably because her outward appearance seems the epitome of sweetness who even curtsies, with proper vocabulary and mannerisms, which betrays her true nature as a murderess.

* Related: The Case of Mary Bell. Real case file of a serial killer.

* Who probably inspired the "Elmira" character from Animaniacs.

Tags: criminology, multimedia reviews, spechtreum

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