Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Stepfather (1987)

Before there was the hit TV series Lost, Terry O'Quinn [Silver Bullet, Primal Fear] had built an impressive resume beginning in the 1980's.  The Stepfather was the prefect vehicle for him to "do crazy" as he portrays the "family values" stepfather to his new  daughter Stephanie and his new wife Susan.  Jill Schoelen [Phantom of the Opera 1989, Popcorn] gives a nice performance as the daughter who suspects very early on in the movie that something is not quite right with her step dad.  Shelley Hack [Charlie's Angels, Annie Hall] fits the bill as the clueless mom who doesn't catch on until its almost too late.

Director Joseph Ruben doesn't bring too much excitement in terms of interesting camera work or establishing the mood through atmosphere.  This is pretty plain directing, the kind we would expect from a 1980's After School Special. [Ouch!]  Thankfully, the actors give us something worth watching.  Without them The Stepfather would be in serious trouble.  

Overall, this film is pretty low-key except for the moments when O'Quinn's character goes bat shit crazy for a few minutes at a time.  These are definitely the most interesting moments of the film and they leave the viewer wanting more of them.  

A remake of The Stepfather was done in 2009 which I thought was pretty good.  It ups the tension and suspense considerably and replaces the daughter with a troubled son.  I thought it actually worked better in terms of storytelling.  The director of the sequel was able to up the domestic violence scenes in a way that the audience would not have tolerated if the stepkid was female.

RATING: Good.

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

2 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of Terry O'Quinn, and I used to see this in the video shop all the time back in the day, but I'm ashamed to say I've never seen it. Didn't this get remade in the last 2-3 years?

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  2. Yes, it was remade in 2009. See my review for more details.

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