Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Bad Seed


The Bad Seed is one of my all time favorites. This film has a huge cult following due to it's constant unintentional hilarity. The story is heartbreaking yet has an unequaled hilarity. Little Rhoda Penmark is the epitome of class. She is overly ladylike, always impeccably dressed, curtsies at any and all occasions and is to say the least a weird ass kid. She's prone to extremely violent outbursts and is a most definitely a little girl that gets what she wants. She has the body of an 8 year old and the malicious nature of a serial killer. At a school picnic, a little boy is mysteriously drowned. Her mother prepares to give her that dreaded talk about death, but Rhoda is just fine with it and asks for a peanut butter sandwich and permission to go outside and roller skate. In front of most adults, Rhoda is perfection... blonde pig tails, frilly skirts, not a speck of dirt in sight and beyond polite. Among a few other people, she the biggest little bitch in the world and you'd feel the need to strangle her if it wasn't a movie. We learn that Rhoda and the drowned kid were in competition at school and the other kid won. Well, it's a bit of an understatement to say that Rhoda didn't take it well. She was seen picking on the winner and trying to steal the winning medal at a school picnic. She's subsequently implicated in the drowning/murder of the little boy by a lot of people and for good reason.... she's a cold calculated killer. She suspects that the handyman knows too much and burns him alive. Rhoda's mother slowly finds out more and more about her daughter, she finds the medal in Rhoda's room and like a protective mother she throws it over the pier close to where the boy drowned to cover for her. Mom also learns that she is adopted and that her real mother was a serial killer as cold as Rhoda. Earlier in the movie, there is a discussion about violence and murder as being hereditary, hence the planting of the bad seed, evil from the very start. Mom isn't taking this well and decides to kill Rhoda with some pills and then shoots herself in the head. Both survive, Rhoda recuperates much quicker than her Mom and goes back to the pier in the middle of a rainstorm to look for the medal. She is struck by lightening, killing her... the end. Apparently this strange and abrupt ending was due to a cinematic rule that existed at the time that said that the "bad guy" could not be shown as winning out in the end. The original ending was Rhoda killing her mother.

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