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The Stepfather (1987)

R  |   |  Drama, Horror, Thriller  |  16 November 1987 (Denmark)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 8,603 users  
Reviews: 95 user | 85 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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3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


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


Drama | Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 November 1987 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Stepfather I  »

Box Office


$2,488,740 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Loosely based on the story of John List, the New Jersey man who killed his family in 1971, and was on the run until 1989, when his profile on the television show "America's Most Wanted" resulted in his capture. See more »


When Jerry Blake gets the mail out of the letterbox, he finds a yellow envelope for Stephanie, he notices that it came from the Seattle Examiner. Looking worried, he opens the envelope to see his own photo in it. He starts to panic. Then Stephanie arrives home, and asks for her mail. He gives her a copy of Cosmopolitan, and goes inside the house. Later, he goes to a photo shop, and replaces his own photo with another man in a family photo. The man is smiling in the photo Jerry is about to put back in the yellow envelope. In a later scene, Stephanie and her friend Karen are in her room, with the photo of the family man photo Jerry replaced. The man in the photo is not smiling, as he was in the first photo we see of him. See more »


Dr. Bondurant: Sounds like you had a strict upbringing.
Jerry Blake: You might say that.
See more »


Remade as 24th Street (2009) See more »


Sleeping Beauty
Performed by The Divinyls (as Divinyls)
Music and Lyrics by Christina Amphlett (as C. Amphlett) and Mark McEntee (as M. McEntee)
Published by Astute Lullaby Kings/Rare Blue Music, Inc. (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Chrysalis Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Great Performance, Bad Script
3 December 2002 | by (Oregon) – See all my reviews

Terry O'Quinn is excellent here. He has a definite menacing presence, and his subdued behavior around people only heightens the shock of his raging outbursts. However, the mediocre script ruins what could have been a great film. As a character study of O'Quinn, this would have been chilling and effective. But it makes for a mediocre thriller. O'Quinn plays a psychotic man obsessed with perfection, and the ideal "American Dream". Inevitably, his family disappoints him, so he creates a new identity, kills them and moves on. The scenes with Jerry are strong and frightening, but the film becomes formulaic when we're introduced to Jim, who amazingly discovers a vital clue to his whereabouts in a few minutes of poking around. The police missed this? Too many dumb plot points and the predictable finale spoil it. O'Quinn's performance deserved a better film.

13 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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