After escaping the insane asylum in which he was incarcerated, Jerry Blake (Terry O'Quinn) impersonates a marriage counselor and manages to win over a patient (Meg Foster) and her young son (Jonathan Brandis).
That psycho stepfather has escaped from the insane asylum and had his face surgically altered. Now he's married again, this time to a woman with a child in a wheelchair. He goes on a ... See full summary »
Michael Harding (Penn Badgely) returns home from military school to find his mother Susan (Sela Ward) happily in love and living with her new boyfriend David (Dylan Walsh). As the two men get to know each other, he becomes more and more suspicious of the man who is always there with a helpful hand.
Following the disappearance of his teenage daughter, Dougie Molloy moves in with divorcee Maggie Shields in the hope of starting again. All is well until his new stepdaughter Scarlett goes missing too, and the past comes back to haunt him.
In the film "Farshid Kian '(Mehdi Mahani) a" sadistic Saykvpat "is homicidal mania. "Sweet" (Sheila K.), the daughter of his first wife "dear" to contract "F" in coming to know him without ... See full summary »
A family-values man named Jerry Blake (Terry O'Quinn) 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 (Shelley Hack), who sees him as the ideal surrogate father for her teenage daughter Stephanie (Jill Schoelen), and he is soon up to his old tricks when she proves to be too much of a troublesome teen to handle.Written by
The first draft of the screenplay featured flashbacks which helped explain Jerry Blake's (Terry O'Quinn's) abused childhood, that was instrumental in his becoming a killer. See more »
When Susan is shooting Jerry from the bottom of the stairs and the gun misfires, she tries to alleviate the problem by tapping the bottom of the grip, which is a move only for fixing a jammed semi-automatic pistol. It is a way of making sure the clip is all the way in. However, the pistol Susan is holding is a revolver and tapping the bottom will do nothing to help.
It would be more of a blooper if tapping the bottom helped, but it didn't help. And it could, possibly, be attributed to Susan just not knowing what she is doing, but tapping the bottom is not something a novice would do to fix a jam, so someone directing the movie told her to do that. See more »
Performed by 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 »
"The Stepfather" is one of the better thrillers to come out of the 1980s: a very pointed look at one very old fashioned individuals' commitment to traditional values, or to put it another way, his intense, ongoing search for perfection. Perfection that, of course, we know can never really be obtained.
"Jerry Blake" (character actor Terry O'Quinn, in his legendary first starring role) is a mass murderer of families. He selects widows with children, ingratiates himself to the woman, and marries into the family. Desperately seeking an ideal American family, he inevitably erupts into violence whenever the family disappoints him. And then on he moves to another brood, and another fabricated life.
O'Quinns' wonderful performance, and the very resonant theme, help to make this a solid diversion. It's based on the real life story of John List, who'd murdered his whole family, and set himself up with a new identity in a new town. He wasn't caught until 'America's Most Wanted' came along in the late 1980s and profiled him. (As a matter of fact, his arrest coincided with the release of this films' first sequel.) The screen story is credited to authors Carolyn Lefcourt, Brian Garfield, and Donald E. Westlake, with Westlake writing the screenplay.
Efficiently directed by Joseph Ruben, this works towards a rather conventional finale, but until then is quite gripping. The lovely Jill Schoelen is appealing as the suspicious stepdaughter Stephanie, while Shelley Hack is adequate as Susan, the unsuspecting new woman in Jerry's life. Charles Lanyer, as kindly psychiatrist Dr. Bondurant, and Stephen Shellen, as Jim Ogilvie, are fine in support.
The opening sequence is nothing short of chilling, especially considering how calmly O'Quinn plays it. There is a fair amount of gore here, as well as some T & A supplied by Ms. Schoelen. The "Who am I here?" moment has become fairly iconic.
O'Quinn reprised his role for the first sequel, but for the third movie, it was recast with Robert Wightman.
Nine out of 10.
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