The Stepfather (1987)


With the Fall 2009 release of The Stepfather I thought it would be a good time to take a “step” back and look at the movie that started it all.  My proclivity for reviewing the original films plus this movie’s strange, almost cult like status on Internal Bleeding makes it a grand candidate!  Let’s expand a little on the last comment.  For the last year or so we have received a lot of hits for people looking for “Terry O’Quinn nude”.  Now I must say to each his/her own; but really?  It just doesn’t seem like a huge topic on Google so it’s amazing we get so many hits for it.  But it all relates back to when I reviewed Mischief which starred Terry O’Quinn, and also a young and smoking hot Kelly Preston.  She was nude in the movie, and anyone who knows anything about search engines knows that is where we get our hits from!  But we love the traffic to the site, so the more the merrier… just one question, is there a movie where Terry O’Quinn is nude?!?!

Stepfather-Jerry-1Not more than 5 minutes into the movie and my question is answered!  Hank Morrison stands in front of a mirror completely nude after just having slaughtered his family.  He is washing off all the blood and changing his appearance in an effort to escape the scene of the crime.  He hops a ferry boat out of town.  Everyone knows he did it, but no one knows where he went.  That is until he shows up a year later as Jerry Blake, a real estate agent who is living with this new wife Susan and her teenage daughter Stephanie.  Jerry is hoping the new puppy he brought home will sweeten things up between him and Stephanie.  Even though mom is smitten she doesn’t quite approve and is apprehensive of Jerry.  She even goes as far as to get kicked out of High School so she can get sent to boarding school.  But Jerry isn’t having it, he wants to keep his new family together, at least until he can split them apart… with his axe!

Back at the old Morrison house two men discuss the murder and the fact that Hank was never caught.  One is a reporter who wrote a story about the murder, the other is Hank’s brother-in-law Jim.  He was in the military when the murder happened and he is having trouble letting go.  He gets the reporter to rerun the story, and it just so happens Jerry sees it and freaks the hell out!  He goes down to the basement to let off some steam in typical maniac fashion.  Stephanie is there to witness the whole thing as he talking to himself and answering his own questions.  Luckily he is a smooth talker and thinks he has her fooled and that he was just ranting about work.  Stephanie gets curious about the article and decides to write the newspaper to get a picture of Hank.  This should tell her once and for all if Jerry is someone she has to worry about right?  But sneaky Jerry intercepts the picture and replaces it with someone else.  So after seeing the fake picture and a little more convincing from mom, Stephanie is on board and all is well.

Stepfather-Jerry-2Jim continues to dig and is getting closer to finding Hank/Jerry.  But he doesn’t have much time.  The things that are leading Jim closer are starting to happen again.  Jerry has quit his job without telling his family and is out searching for a new family to fill his needs.  And what a better way to find a new family than taking a job as Bill Hodgkins, life insurance salesman?  Susan becomes concerned when she calls Jerry’s office and is told he quit weeks ago.  She confronts him about it and Jerry finally reaches his psychopathic breaking point and tells her the new girl keeps screwing up his name… Hodgkins!  Susan is confused and Jerry stops and says the most hilarious, yet scary line in the movie: “Wait a minute, who am I here?”  He can’t lie anymore and the real Jerry/Hank/Bill comes out to finish the job he started a year ago!

The real appeal to this movie isn’t necessarily the story because it’s been done before.  Supposedly this was based on a true story which definitely sounds like something that could have happened.  What makes this movie so creepy is how calculated O’Quinn’s character is throughout the movie.  He always has a plan; he always has an alias.  It isn’t until his one slipup that you realize this is probably not the second family he has attempted to murder.  Like most serial killers he has been sick his whole life and he has finally cracked under the pressure of keeping it all straight.  O’Quinn’s demeanor and acting skills nail the character perfectly.  I’ve always been a fan of his, but it wasn’t until this movie that I saw the same brilliance in his acting that I see in his Lost character, John Locke.  You won’t be scared out of your seat, but when you realize that there are people in the world as devious as Jerry Blake you’ll think twice before you let a strange man who doesn’t talk about his past into your home!  I give The Stepfather 4 nude shower scenes out of 5.  Actually there are only two shower scenes, but the second one is much better and stars Stephanie, played by Jill Schoelen!

The Stepfather is available on DVD at Amazon along with a series of sequels which you may see here on IB down the road.

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