I saw this movie first as a play, which was how it was adapted from William March's 1954 novel The Bad Seed originally.
this was in 1982 or so. unfortunately for the cast, the play was probably a little over their heads, and it turned into something like a black comedy, without them meaning to make it that way.
which made it even funnier for the audience. it was an extremely talented cast, but some technical difficulties (a stubborn pill bottle cap among them) doomed the play for them.
and this happened two nights in a row. it caused a bit of a stir among the students and staff, with some people saying the audience should have been more polite and some people saying the a few members of the cast ran with it.
whatever the case, I really enjoyed it. I had friends in the cast and seeing them get killed was fun. having said all that, I then saw the movie, which I recently watched again.
I still think it's a comedy. the highly inappropriate music by Alex North does nothing to help the mood of the movie at all, and for some reason Patty McCormack as Rhoda doesn't quite have an aura of menace to her. it probably is hard for a little girl to portray a psychopath properly, though. again, an excellent cast, but for some reason they just didn't gel properly.
and having the Hays Code change the ending completely... that was beyond ridiculous. having Rhoda die with a lightning strike, as if God wanted her to be punished made me laugh out loud while watching it.