Directed by Joseph Ruben
Written by Donald E. Westlake
Cinematography by John Lindley
Music by Patrick Moraz
Cast: Terry O’Quinn, Jill Schoelen, Susan Hack, Charles Lanyer, Stephen Shellen
1987/89 Mins/Color/Stereo Surround Sound
1.85:1 anamorphic/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Review from Shout! Factory DVD
Jerry Blake (Terry O’Quinn) has just killed his former family. You see he is looking for the perfect family. And, he thinks he has found it with his new wife, Susan (Shelly Hack). But, her daughter Stephanie’s (80’s horror fav Jill Schoelen) begins to be very suspicious of him. Meanwhile, her behavior is unacceptable in his eyes of what the perfect family should be like. And, when things aren’t going the way he thinks they should he starts killing again, eliminating all those who threaten to ruin his perfect family.
Recently remade THE STEPFATHER has been long overdue on DVD. In fact, the best thing to come out of the remake is the fact that it finally got released last year. Filmmaker Joseph Rubin gives us a tightly directed, suspenseful, and enthralling film. The movie’s plot manages to keep you on the edge of your seat and completely captivated by what is happening. The climax, in particular, is exciting and nail-biting horror at its’ best.
So good is the script by Patrick Moraz, that you want everything to be perfect. You don’t want Blake to snap and kill. He comes off as a great guy; well, at least when he ain’t bashing someone in with a 2 x 4, that is. This is, of course, due to Terry O’Quinn’s excellent acting. He is just down right creepy whenever he loses it! The most chilling moment in the movie has to be when he goes bonkers in the basement. It’s a scary moment that captures that old fear that one has of sometimes not really knowing someone, the way you thought you did. The rest of the cast give strong performances, as well. The lovely Ms. Schoelen was always one of my favorites and this movie is of added interest to her fans. Because, she does not just give a great performance, but she’s nude in it, too!
Meanwhile, the cinematography by John Lindley is beautiful. I simply love the opening shot of the film. The movie really captures that dream suburban life that one would imagine that Blake would most desire to live in. In all, THE STEPFATHER is one of the best horror films of the 80s and a must own movie.
THE STEPFATHER joins our DVD family courtesy of Shout! Factory. Presented in 1.85:1 anamophic widescreen, it’s a beautiful transfer with vibrant colors and rich, thick blacks that make the movie look brand new. There are a few pops on the screen and a few parts where it looks a little soft but nothing major. The stereo sound is crisp and clear.
“The Stepfather Chronicles” is a great documentary that features interviews with the crew and Schoelen. There are some interesting talks about the real life case that inspired the film, as well as talking about the movie, itself. Jill Schoelen is still absolutely beautiful and a real treat to see on the docu. There is one major disappointment I have with it though, no Terry O’Quinn! What the fuck?! There is also an excellent running commentary conducted by Fangoria scribe Michael Gingold with Joseph Ruben. It’s a relaxed conversation that is also very entertaining. The whole discussion never comes off as boring and is highly revealing, definitely a must hear!
The disc comes in a transparent colored keepcase. In it comes a booklet with great linear notes by Cliff MacMillan. Sadly, the chapters are not listed on it, but are accessible from the awesome interactive menu. Also, on the downside the trailer to the film is not included.
This Film Features:
Review by Giovanni Ddeldio. All Right Reserved. 2010. ©
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