Corny one-liners and an overall lack of threat take the bite out of Terry O’Quinn’s original “Stepfather” character.
Jerry Blake survived his last family and escaped a mental institution in search of a new wife and son. Let’s dig into 1989’s STEPFATHER 2, directed by Jeff Burr!
As I See It
The original Stepfather film was a surprisingly good movie. I didn’t want to like it and admittedly went in with a bias, but it was a strong, tightly structured delight. It was harsh and contained a level of menace that is almost completely absent from the sequel.
Terry O’Quinn somehow survived being shot and stabbed, and now he’s off to torture some more unassuming single mothers. He had to escape a mental institution first, but that was the easiest of tasks for him.
“You wouldn’t hit me again, would you slugger?” feels about as eighties as possible.
As Carol and Todd walk into the wedding ceremony drenched in blood, there is a missed opportunity to draw out the scene and have her proceed slowly as if she was actually walking down the aisle, desecrating the sanctity of the sacrament.
The happy ending is scored with ominous key tones that threaten a sequel if enough money is made (apparently, it was).
Terry O’Quinn dumped the insurance salesman’s hair for a rougher look in this hit TV series from JJ Abrams, Lost.
Meg Foster (Carol) played a witch in Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem, Evil-Lyn in the live-action Masters of the Universe, and Holly in John Carpenter’s They Live.
Jonathan Brandis (Todd) was a teen heartthrob in many seminal nineties flicks. He played the young Bill in the original version of Stephen King’s IT, starred alongside Rodney Dangerfield in the soccer comedy Ladybugs, and Chuck Norris in Sidekicks before tragically taking his own life at just twenty-seven.
Caroline Williams (Matty) is a bit of a big deal playing the lead (Stretch) in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, in one of my favorite scream queen performances. She will also have a role in the upcoming Renfield film alongside Nicolas Cage.
Of Gratuitous Nature
I guess the juxtaposition of Gene/Jerry having sex with Carol right before murdering her best friend seems impactful. It probably is the better plot point than any other thing I could think of at the moment, but it is certainly a very romance-novel twist.
Meg Foster’s stunning blue eyes cut like razor-shop icicles through your heart.
Ripe for a Remake
The tension in the original film was raw. There may have been some campy moments, but they were not intentional. Here, Terry O’Quinn goes full Krueger with his one-liners. I suppose with the rising popularity of the Dad joke, a tongue-in-cheek remake could be in order.
A made-for-TV sequel to complete the Stepfather trilogy was released on HBO in 1992 and recast the main character.
Where to Watch
German EYK Media released a Blu-Ray with a very eighties paperback cover option. The most recent US release was a DVD in 2009 by Synapse Films.