Halloween White Elephant: Stepfather III (1992)


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From Damon–“I recently saw this last entry in the franchise for the first time and absolutely fell in love with every last minute. From the wheelchair bound kid with an affinity for neon clothes to the pretty creepy actions of the ‘new’ titular character. He’s no Terry O’Quinn, but who is? As a bonus Priscilla Barnes plays the wife, which kind of makes a Three’s Company connection with Ritter in one of the other movies I picked for Brian. Also, BK picked a part three film for me so I thought it only fair.”

There’s something to be said for being committed enough to doing some sort of justice to a series that you cast your lead role based on vocal similarities to the star of the previous entries. While there’s no proof that that’s the case with the choice to replace Terry O’Quinn with Robert Wightman, the fact that Wightman’s biggest credit prior to Stepfather III was a three season stint as John Boy during the twilight years of The Waltons indicates something other than the desire to sell this made-for-video threequel based on star power. Premiering on HBO in 1992, Stepfather III is a lean sequel that ditches atmosphere and character development for a bare-bones endgame to the psychotic stepfather’s story.

Terror Tuesday Report: The Stepfather (1987)


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The Film

The Stepfather opens with a calm but blood-covered man ritualistically removing his beard and showering. He swaps his glasses for contacts, packs a few belongings, and leaves his home walking without acknowledging the horror of what he has left behind laying on the floor and covering the walls and furniture. After stopping briefly and nonchalantly to pick up the morning paper from his lawn, he walks off to a new life.

Six months later, Jerry Blake (Terry O’Quinn) is living in a new home with his girlfriend, Susan (Shelley Hack), and Susan’s daughter Stephanie. While Susan is unable to see past Jerry’s meticulously crafted facade, Stephanie is (as stepchildren usually are) suspicious of Jerry. It is her watchful eye and snooping that start to pry at tiny cracks in Jerry’s psyche. When he realizes his struggle to maintain a wholesome family are in vain (again), he begins preparations to move on to a yet another fresh start which includes getting rid of the one he is going to leave behind.




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