The Bad Seed (1956)
Plotline: Rhoda is the most perfect little girl in every which way. She likes to wear dresses. She is courteous to adults. She says please and thank you and curtsies when appropriate. Yet, why is it that the people who cross her keep showing up dead?
Scariness factor: This is a 1950s flick, and the scariness is uber-subtle. But it's there. And it's good in the moments it seeps through. But if you're someone who is into horror films for the slasher-flicks, you won't like it.
Gross-Out Factor: Nada.
Complaints: It's slow-moving. It actually didn't bother me too much, but I think for folks looking for fast-paced, slasher-momentum type flicks, this won't please you.
High Points: The little girl in this movie is creepy as hell--you will want to push her down the stairs. The mom is both a terrible actress and a good one. Yet, she is the crux of the movie, along with the little girl. And she does well. This movie, for the time period, is also strangely uncomfortable, especially the last 15 minutes or so, moments which I suspect The Omen no doubt took cues from. There are also many scenes in this movie that seem ahead of its time--like the way the fire and the groundskeeper scene goes down. They very brilliantly choose not to show a minute of the actual groundskeeper but instead keep the camera focused on the mother and her response as the horrific noises of the events taking place fill the soundtrack. This wouldn't be anything surprising in a newer film, but it seems wickedly smart for one from the 1950s. I guess I was just impressed with the subtle nuances of this movie. It is slow-moving, but I can see why it is on many Top 50 Horror Flicks lists, as there IS something really kind of unsettling about it.
Overall: The more and more I think about it, the more and more I like this film. Slow-paced, but unique and clever for the time it was made, and this lends it a scariness above and beyond the typical 1950s horror flick.
Labels: A movies