What It’s About: Rhoda (Patty McCormack) appears to be a perfect child. She is a prim-and-proper kind of girl who prefers a nice dress to blue jeans and sneakers; she gets good marks in school; she appears to love and respect her parents Christine (Nancy Kelly) and Col. Kenneth Penmark (William Hopper). She says all the right things, keeping her parents’ building owner Monica Breedlove (Evelyn Varden) firmly wrapped around her finger. When the Air Force reassigns Colonel Penmark to Washington, and a classmate of Rhoda’s drowns under mysterious circumstances, Christine begins to question exactly how much of her daughter’s perfection is merely a facade…..
Why Watch it Today?: Doctor Benjamin Spock was born today in 1903. Spock’s ideas, including avoiding traditional corporeal punishment and more flexible parenting were hugely influential and popular, but a backlash was not long in coming, with concerns that parents were being too liberal. It’s no surprise that in this uneasy environment a horror story (first a novel, then a play, then a film) featuring a child who is simply wrong somehow would be extremely popular. The Bad Seed was the first, and in many ways the best, of the thriller/horror sub-genre featuring evil children.