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The Stepfather (1987)

R  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  16 November 1987 (Denmark)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 8,344 users  
Reviews: 93 user | 84 critic

After murdering his entire family, a man remarries a widow with a teenage daughter in another town and prepares to do it all over again.

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Title: The Stepfather (1987)

The Stepfather (1987) on IMDb 6.8/10

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3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Stephanie
...
Charles Lanyer ...
Dr. Bondurant
...
Jim Ogilvie
...
Al Brennan
Robyn Stevan ...
Karen
...
Paul Baker
Lindsay Bourne ...
Art Teacher
...
Mrs. Leitner
...
Annie Barnes
...
Lt. Jack Wall
Jackson Davies ...
Mr. Chesterton
Sandra Head ...
Receptionist
...
Dorothy Rinehard
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Storyline

A family-values man named Jerry Blake marries widows and divorcées with children in search of the perfect family. As soon as his new family members show signs of being human and not robots who will march unquestioningly to his tune, his dreams of domestic bliss begin to crumble, and he kills them. Then he alters his appearance, assumes a new identity, and skips to another town to begin the deadly ritual all over again. He marries Susan Maine, who sees him as the ideal surrogate father for her teenage daughter Stephanie, and he is soon up to his old tricks when she proves to be too much of a troublesome teen to handle. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He wanted a perfect family in a perfect town. But they couldn't measure up.. neither could the others. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 November 1987 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Stepfather I  »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,488,740 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jill Schoelen claimed she was so disturbed from filming the violent final act, she had recurring nightmares for a week about being chased by Terry O'Quinn. These nightmares occurred as a re-enactment of the scene she was filming at the time. See more »

Goofs

Paint changes on Steph's back during her fight in school. See more »

Quotes

Jerry Blake: I wanna ask you something. Are you interested in buying a house... Or are you interested in me?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Run Between the Raindrops
(1985)
Performed by Pat Benatar
Music and Lyrics by Myron Grombacher (as M. Grombacher) and Neil Giraldo (as N. Geraldo)
Published by Tyreach Music/Neil Geraldo Music Co./Rare Blue Music, Inc. (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Chrysalis Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Freaky satire of "Father Knows Best"
24 January 2010 | by See all my reviews

Talk about your domestic issues! Someone's been watching too many 1950's sitcoms, and woe betide anyone who doesn't fit into that image of perfection! After the death of her father one year ago, Stephanie Maine (Jill Schoelen) has been getting into a lot of trouble at school. Part of the reason she's like this is that she's creeped out by her all-too-perfect step-dad, Jerry Blake (Terry O'Quinn). Everyone, especially her mother (Shelley Hack), thinks he's the ideal family man, but Stephanie knows better.

Although there is no real humor in this film (there's a clever one liner, but it's not especially funny, nor is it meant to be), this is a satire of the "American Family Ideal." You know what I mean, a white picket fence, a mom and a dad, 2.5 kids, and a dog and a cat. No one really has this, and if they do, it's never the image that is portrayed in magazine ads. Unfortunately, no one told this to Jerry. He wants that so-called perfect family. At first, he seems like a godsend. But if that image is shaken, then he becomes the step-dad from hell.

The premise is sound, but it's the execution that's lacking. The pacing is erratic, and the set-up is non-existent. We never get a sense of who Jerry is. To be sure, we know he's a psychopath (this is, after all, a horror movie). But there's little showing of how he wants his family to be. A thriller needs this kind of thing to give us a sense of the psychopath we are dealing with.

Apart from O'Quinn, who is very good, the acting varies. Jill Schoelen has moments of believability, but others where her performance doesn't work. Likewise, Shelley Hack is never believable. And both of them are guilty of doing some really stupid things (then again, this is a horror movie). Charles Lanyer is good as Stephanie's therapist who goes above and beyond the call of duty (not in the way you'd think, though). However, Stephen Shellen is horrible as David Ogilvie, the man who's racing against time to find Jerry before he slaughters his next family.

Joseph Rueben's direction is plastic. There's nothing special about how this film looks or how the story is told. It's a point and shoot approach, and that leaves it up to the actors (specifically O'Quinn) to induce suspense. There are a few legitimate shocks in this film, but to be honest, there are better options out there.

This film may be hard to find, and there's a reason for it.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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