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.
While driving a van through Mexico looking for a location for shooting a low-budget porn, Alphonse, Steve, Dallas, Debbie, the alcoholic Daisy and the pothead Jimbo get lost and meet a ... See full summary »
The relationship between Eric and Stephanie is floundering. They decide to leave for the Republic of Santiago to visit the famous ruins. Once there, they learn that a serial killer rages on steep roads of the region, eliminating drunk drivers.
Piggy Banks tells the story of two charming and brilliant brothers who finance their lifestyle by robbing and murdering pretty much anyone foolish enough to get in the car with them. They ... See full summary »
Morgan J. Freeman
A young psychic on the run from himself is recruited by a government agency experimenting with the use of the dream-sharing technology and is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of the U.S. president.
Max von Sydow,
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
Run Between the Raindrops
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 »
"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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