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Thursday, August 4, 2016


     A great underrated thriller from the 80's is THE STEPFATHER starring Terry O'Quinn, Jill Schoelen, and Shelley Hack. It's a curious film, as it's not sure at times whether it's a suspense/thriller or a slasher, but always manages to be entertaining and suspenseful. Terry O'Quinn is fantastic as a good old-fashioned family values man who murders his wife and children in cold blood after discovering they weren't perfect. He changes his identity and soon finds himself another family, and here's where Shelley Hack and Jill Schoelen step in.

     THE STEPFATHER is one of the more memorable horror films to come out of the late 80's, if you ask me. Jill Schoelen is always welcome on screen, and Joseph Reuben assuredly directs the shenanigans. More FATAL ATTRACTION than FRIDAY THE 13TH, THE STEPFATHER was a refreshing change of pace at this time in horror. By the film's release in 1987, we had been bombarded with all the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and FRIDAY THE 13TH films- which are great and all- but it was nice to see a more realistic story brought to screen. THE STEPFATHER could absolutely happen- it has happened before, and that's one of the reasons why this little film works so well.

     Obviously THE STEPFATHER made an impact on pop culture, as it spawned two sequels and a 2000's remake. However, like most remakes, it simply wasn't needed. Terry's maniacal performance is timeless, and the film surprisingly holds up better than I expected today. It hasn't dated that much, even with Shelley Hack in a lead role, haha.

     THE STEPFATHER is a great film to watch in the fall, with many shots of fall foliage and raking leaves. It's a rather stylish film, with lots of genuine suspense and some occasional black humor. Much more of a psychological thriller than out and out horror movie, but Terry is creepy enough to warrant the film a spot in any horror section.

     For some reason, I find the early 80's to be a much more rich and creative time period of the decade than the latter part- I don't know how to explain it, really. To me personally, the horror films released between 1980 and 1984 are by far the best of the decade, but once in a while a gem would emerge after 1985. THE STEPFATHER is one of those gems, kids. Indeed.

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