The Bad Seed (1956) - Review, Rating and Synopsis

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  • Release Date:  1956
  • Genre:  Madness & Paranoia
  • Cast and Crew: Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Eileen Heckart, Henry Jones, Evelyn Varden, William Hopper, Paul Fix, Gage Clarke, Jesse White, Joan Croydon, Frank Cady, Don C. Harvey
  • Director:  Mervyn LeRoy
  • Screenwriter:  John Lee Mahin, Maxwell Anderson, William March

The Bad Seed (1956) Rating:

  • Eloise = 6 / 10;
  • Raoul = 7 / 10;
  • IMDb = 7.5 / 10;
  • Rotten Tomatoes = 6.3 / 10

The Bad Seed (1956) Synopsis:

Rhoda, a young and clever girl living in a rich and seemingly perfect family, is accused of the murder of her schoolmate who drowned in the lake during a school trip.

The Bad Seed (1956)Review:

A little less-known than other cult horror films from the same period (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Night of the Demons, The Fly, etc.), The Bad Seed must nevertheless be considered seriously as one of the best psychological horror movies from the ’50s.

Creepy kids are a favorite topic in horror, and this one is amongst the first movie to dedicate a full movie to the concept. The character of the little girl, Rhoda, is truly terrifying because she is both evil and really clever. This 8 years old girl speaks like an adult and keeps fouling everyone with her pretty face. She is really disturbing and you will love to hate her. Young Patty McCormack, who plays the girl, is the key to that film greatness. She is a genius for her age because, apart from a few over-exaggerated scenes, she really nailed her characters. I found the mum (Nancy Kelly) even a better actress and the true diva in that film.

I guess what I didn’t like so much about that movie was its theatrical aspect. Most of the flick is set in a single house, and the movie divided in very few scenes which each last 20 minutes or so, with various characters entering and leaving the room. There is barely any action and instead, everything is based on lengthy dialogues and a set of the complex relationship between the characters.


To conclude, The Bad Seed is a long and clever film that leaves a very strong impression on its viewers, and one that truly deserves to be listed amongst the best horror of its time.

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