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Bad Seed, The (1956)

Rhoda Penmark (Patty McCormack) has the adults in her life completely fooled, but when her uncontrolled hellishness leads her to murder schoolmate Claude Daigle in order to steal a penmanship medal which she wanted – and set on fire the weird, child-like handyman Le Roy (Henry Jones) who taunts Rhoda with accusations about the murder – her mother Christine (Nancy Kelly) becomes tragically aware.


Christine learns from her own father (Paul Fix) that she herself was adopted and her real mother was a  conscienceless serial killer and realises that Rhoda is a ‘bad seed’ – a genetically malignant person.

But who would believe her – Rhoda is the perfect angel in the eyes of everyone she meets.

Also in the cast are 1950s sci-fi star William Hopper as the loving husband away in Washington for most of the film; Evelyn Varden as Monica, the friendly, aunt-like apartment owner; and a scene-stealing Eileen Heckart as the distraught, alcoholic mother of the dead boy.

A 1985 ABC TV remake starred Carrie Welles, David Carradine, Lynn Redgrave and Richard Kiley.

Christine Penmark
Nancy Kelly
Rhoda Penmark
Patty McCormack
Le Roy
Henry Jones
Mrs Daigle
Eileen Heckart
Evelyn Varden
William Hopper
Paul Fix
Jesse White
Gage Clarke
Miss Fern
Joan Croyden
Mr Daigle
Frank Cady

Mervyn Leroy