The Stepfather (1987)

stepfather poster 1987 movie terry oquinn
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Terry O'Quinn, fun story

Cheap looking

Movie Info

Movie Name:   The Stepfather

Studio:   ITC Productions

Genre(s):   Horror

Release Date(s):   January 23, 1987

MPAA Rating:  R

stepfather 1987 terry oquinn beard

Blood in my beard!  What a nightmare!

He wants the perfect family…and as Jerry Blake (Terry O’Quinn) will kill to get it.  Marrying a recent widow named Susan (Shelley Hack), Jerry finds that his new stepdaughter Stephanie (Jill Schoelen) could be a problem for his dream.  As Jerry begins killing to protect his world, Jim Ogilvie (Stephen Shellen) is out to find the man who killed his sister and her family…but Jerry might need to move on before he can succeed!

Directed by Joseph Ruben, The Stepfather is a horror thriller.  The movie was released to relatively positive reviews and gained a cult following over the years.

The Stepfather was one of those movies that was violent enough to feel R-Rated but easy enough to clean up to be on network TV (or at least over-the-air)…and as a result it felt like it was on a lot.  I can remember seeing The Stepfather a number of times and it does hold up as a fun thriller.

stepfather jill schoelen

I hate how my new Dad wants to kill everyone I know

The movie is one of those movies that would struggle to work today in the format it is told.  The fact there is no internet, no sensationalized murder coverage, and no cellphones are the only way that this story holds together.  Despite a minor disguise, Jerry looks pretty much like he does in every role he takes as a new man to find his new family.  It unrolls like a lot of psychological thrillers from the time with random people coming close to uncovering his identity…and meeting death.  I have to say the poor Jim really serves little purpose other than to bring a gun to the end…and it took up a large part of the plot.

Terry O’Quinn is good as the psychotic stepfather.  He oozes the sincerity (or lack thereof) of a salesman selling not only houses but himself to everyone around, but he also can play psycho great (and carried on with this tone in things like Lost).  Jill Schoelen holds her own as Stephanie and Shelley Hack fortunately isn’t a complete idiot when it comes to the new guy in her life (he goes crazy a lot during the course of the movie so that even she questions him).

stepfather terry oquinn dog

Remember to spay or neuter your pets

Visually, the movie is an ’80s movie and a relatively low budget one at that.  It looks kind of cheap and almost takes on a TV movie feel at points.  That is unfortunate because it does hurt the product…of course, if the movie was more dynamic, the over-the-top nature of it might feel forced too.

The Stepfather is a short horror film that holds up.  It is the type of movie that kind of crosses genres with drama and suspense-thrills, but it also dips its toe in the ’80s slasher pool.  The movie started a franchise and was also remade in 2009.  The Stepfather was followed by Stepfather II in 1989.

Related Links:

Stepfather II (1989)

Stepfather III (1992)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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