The Stepfather


by Tuna

As the film opens, we see Terry O'Quinn, who has just sliced and diced his family with the kitchen knives, calmly showering, changing his appearance, and leaving on foot. The story jumps forward a year, when he is remarried to a widow in another town. His new step-daughter (Jill Schoelen) is not impressed with him, which makes his dream of having the perfect family seem remote. Add to the mix the fact that the brother of his last victim is on his tail. It is clear almost from the beginning that Schoelen will send him over the edge, and there is no telling who will survive.

Jill Schoelen is outstanding in her role, and The Stepfather is a nifty thriller in general, deriving all of the suspense from the conflict, and building steadily until the end.


By Scoop (Johnny Web)

The Stepfather spawned a sequel in 1989, and is currently being remade. Lord knows why.

You may have forgotten since it was so long ago, but in 1989, shortly after this film was lensed, Jill Schoelen was engaged for a few months to a guy you may have heard of - Hollywood super-hunk Brad Pitt! They worked together in a low-budget horror film called Cutting Class. (Hey, Pitt wasn't always a big shot.)

Schoelen later hooked up with a composer, married him, bore two children, and disappeared from acting for about a decade (1996-2004) to raise their kids. She re-emerged briefly with a lead in a 2004 thriller, then disappeared again.


Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Unexpectedly good thriller.


  • Jill Schoelen showed her bum and her breasts in a shower scene

  • Terry O'Quinn shows his bum in the opening scene.



It received several minor award nominations with two wins in acting and best picture categories.

2.5 Roger Ebert (of 4 stars)
87 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)

Roger Ebert was part of a tiny minority on this one. There are 23 reviews archived at RT: twenty positive, three negative. Ebert is one of the negatives. (More precisely, his review is not really negative, but mixed.)



Box Office Mojo. It grossed $2.5 million in a maximum of 164 theaters.



6.6 IMDB summary (of 10)


The Stepfather (1987)

DVD: All-region, PAL format. Click image above for info.