The Bad Seed is one of those rare horror films which somehow manage to be terrifying without actually showing anything. The terror in The Bad Seed is carried by dialogue, as this 1956 film was based on the award-winning stage play by Maxwell Anderson. Just time for Halloween we are given the treat of this classic horror film on Blu-ray. Although this isn’t the type of film which begs for a high definition transfer, the black-and-white cinematography is undeniably crisp and clear. There is hardly a blemish on a single frame despite the film being over 50 years old.
The film takes place over only a few days, but the number of events and revelations which occur make it a tense couple of days. Well-mannered eight-year-old Rhoda (Patty McCormack) has everyone convinced of her perfection, though her tendency for outburst if she is unable to get what she wants is often difficult to ignore. She has been switched from many different schools, and the latest one has just been hit with a tragic death that many believe Rhoda was involved with. Over the course of the film Rhoda’s mother, Christine (Nancy Kelly) discovers what her daughter is, as well as the origin of Rhoda’s lack of morality.
Many of the cast members from the original Broadway play, including Tony-Award-winning Kelly, were cast in the film by director Mervyn LeRoy. McCormack was also in the original stage production. The performances in The Bad Seed were riveting enough to garner the film three Academy Award acting nominations, while a four nomination was given to the cinematography. Along with a fantastic high definition presentation of this cinematography, The Bad Seed Blu-ray also comes with a commentary track with McCormack and Charles Busch. There is also a featurette with an interview with McCormack.