The Stepfather was one of my favorite scary movies in my early teenage years. Terry O’Quinn (Lost) plays such a creepy guy, desperately searching for his “perfect” family. When his family disappoints him, they are brutally murdered & he moves onto the next unsuspecting divorcee or widow.
The film begins with Terry O’Quinn changing up his appearance & leaving his brutally butchered family behind. We fast forward a year later and we meet a new family, Susan & her teenage daughter, Stephanie, and the newest member of the family, the stepfather, Jerry Blake. Stephanie, of course, wants nothing to do with her new stepfather & acts out in defiance. She becomes suspicious of him after seeing his reaction to an article in the paper about the manhunt for Henry Morrison, the stepfather that murdered his family. Once Jerry gets wind that he is about to be found out, he abruptly quits his job & begins preparing a new life in another town as Bill Hodgkins. He plans to rid himself of Susan & Stephanie & they are left to try to survive his brutal attacks.
The movie is a great 80s slasher type film, but certain aspects of Jerry’s attempts at creating new identities only hold up because the internet doesn’t exist. For example, when Stephanie suspects Jerry is really Henry Morrison, she writes a letter to the newspaper to request a picture of him. Said picture is mailed to her house, which Jerry is able to intercept & he switches out his photo. Stephanie is none the wiser. A simple Google search would have easily pulled up Henry’s photo, especially considering he only moves a quick ferry ride over to a new town. The guy doesn’t even try for a different state. That would never be able to happen today.
Terry O’Quinn is what makes this movie. He is utterly charming and creepy all at the same time. His goal of having the “perfect” family & witnessing the rage inside him when the family disappoints him is quite scary. I considered binging all the sequels as well, but then I remembered how terrible they were.