#72: RHODA PENMARK
"Children can be nasty, don't you think?"
How could a cute little blonde girl that's not one of The Olsen Twins be considered a monster? Well, after pushing a woman down the stairs, beating another kid to death with one of her tap shoes, and shooting her own mother, you realize that Rhoda Penmark from the 1965 film THE BAD SEED would give Damien a run for his money.
retroCRUSH fan Kathy Kupinsky writes of Rhoda, "This kid has no value system forever. She even beats a child to death with her tap shoe! Seeing this movie has made me a believer in "spare the rod and spoil the child". Usually kids in movies are not evil, they are usually possessed. But this child is just a bad-ass hard-core bitch! And the mom poisoning her in the end is just fantastic."
Rhoda Penmark is the prototype kid gone bad. Movies from THE OMEN, to THE GOOD SON owe their existence to this play made into a film.
Strangely eerie in an even spookier way than most true monster films, as the terror revolves around a simple cute disturbed non-supernatural girl who could easily exist in your own neighborhood.
With the increasing news accounts of kids committing horrible acts of violence, the awful deaths attributed to Rhoda are even more prophetic.
A very dark movie with amazing dialogue throughout. Check out some of these exchanges:
Christine Penmark: Rhoda, what happened to old Mrs. Post in Witchita?
Do yourself a favor and see this movie, if you haven't already. You won't be disappointed.
The original ending had Rhoda surviving, and her mother dying. The Motion Picture Production Code in effect at the time, however, required that "Crime shall never be presented in such a way as to throw sympathy with the crime as against law and order." The usual interpretation of this was that criminals weren't allowed to "get away with it." Because of this, the ending was changed: Rhoda's mother survived being shot in the head, and Rhoda herself was killed by a bolt of lighting by a lake.
After the finale, a narrator tells the audience to "wait a moment." Then, the principal cast members are introduced one by one, like they would be at the end of a play. After that's done with, there's a brief scene in which Nancy Kelly spanks Patty McCormack. The picture ends with a message telling the audience not to reveal the movie's shocking climax. (both of these are from IMDB.com)