Nature versus nurture is a fundamental question that has been explored throughout psychology for the last 10o plus years. Was the child born bad or was it the environment that made them that way? More importantly, how does the general population understand this idea, because hey, not all parents can be psychologists.
The Bad Seed was introduced to me by a friend the other day because she thought I would like the psychological undertones. Undertones? The whole movie is spent debating nature versus nurture. At the cusp of behaviorism in the 1950s the movie debates psychoanalysis versus the new behaviorist science. One woman, Monica, discusses dream analysis and her Freudian perceptions where another character stands staunchly on the side of nurture. Kids are not born bad, but raised in bad environments.
The psychological end point is sort of ambiguous, but that might just be from my perspective. So, instead of giving away the ending I will say that all of you should go out and rent The Bad Seed, and if all else fails it really is a good movie.