Friday, June 1, 2012

SUMMER OF 87 #4: The Stepfather

 The cover of my VHS copy of The Stepfather

4.30pm, Day 1:
The Stepfather
Director: Joseph Ruben
Starring: Terry O'Quinn, Jill Schoelen, Shelley Hack
Format: VHS (Virgin)

Plot: A family-values man named Jerry Blake (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 (Hack), who sees him as the ideal surrogate father for her teenage daughter Stephanie (Schoelen), and he is soon up to his old tricks when she proves to be too much of a troublesome teen to handle.

NOTE: I was originally going to watch Ghoulies II in this spot, and in fact did watch about 40 minutes of it. But then I realised two things: I'd already seen it, and it was released in 1988, not 1987. The strange thing is my VHS copy says 1987, but every reference online says 1988. It didn't feel right to continue so I stopped Ghoulies II and moved onto the next movie in the marathon. I'll find something else to make up for it at the end of day two, to still hit my target of 12 films.
- I haven't seen this. It's one I've been wanting to watch for years but just have never gotten around to it.
- I know Terry O'Quinn is best known these days from his time on the TV series Lost, but I never watched that show. I know him from TOMBSTONE (one of my favourite movies) and from the TV show MILLENNIUM.
- Shelley Hack is best known for her short stint on Charlie's Angels in 1979.
- Okay, so I didn't write many notes while watching this movie. Mainly because it's not the kind of movie you can make wisecracks about, and also it's the kind of movie you just want to sit back and watch.

Overall thoughts: I know most people have seen this movie and I was late to the party finally getting to see it, so I don't need to say to much about it. It's just a really good psychological thriller, which is carried by a fantastic acting performance by Terry O'Quinn. He's brilliant because he looks so innocuous most of the time, but through subtle movements and looks he begins to show what lies beneath, until finally he goes nuts. If you're into these kinds of slow-burner thrillers and you haven't seen The Stepfather, definitely hunt it out.

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