Now available on DVD
Terry O’Quinn as the Stepfather
Meg Foster as Carol
Caroline Williams as Matty
Henry Brown as Dr. Danvers
Jonathan Brandis as Todd
Miriam Byrd-Nethery as Sally
Directed by John Burr
Watching Terry O’Quinn in Stepfather 2 is like watching one of those Locke flashback episodes on Lost where they try to make O’Quinn younger by giving him hair or a pair of glasses or whatever.
It is actually quite interesting to see O’Quinn in earlier roles given how much a TV star he now is thanks to Lost. Long before that, he starred in the horror thrillers Stepfather and Stepfather 2, the tale of a dude who just can’t seem to settle down with anyone. It might have to do with the fact he kills everyone before they get close to anyone but, hey, semantics.
Stepfather 2 begins with the Stepfather (whose real name we really never know because he has so many of them) in a mental institution/prison following the events of the first film where he terrorized his wife and step-daughter after murdering a handful of people in order to protect his real past. Of course, he had done this before and fooling everyone he was able to win the hearts of the woman until she found out the truth, stabbing him in the chest.
He survived and was taken off to jail where a shrink works on him trying to figure out what makes him tick. Bad idea as the Stepfather uses this as a way to escape the prison killing a guard and the shrink along the way. At a hotel (after offing an unlucky commuter), he sees a game show offering up a house in a sunny new neighborhood in Southern California and sees it as the chance to get away from the Seattle area and start a new family.
Of course, this being a sequel, the stakes are higher, the body count is larger and the thrills more intense. Okay, for what thrills there are. Unfortunately, the thriller horror genre has always had an issue in actually scaring anyone. You usually see the frights coming a mile away and in a sequel it is equally as hard because you already know the punch line – something the crew of the film talk about in the retrospective featurette on the DVD.
Arriving in SoCal and finding new digs to call home, the Stepfather works on the one thing he yearns for â a family of his own. But with his deadly past, it is something that can never happen. Once again when he wins the heart of Carol (They Live‘s Meg Foster) and her son, he must do so at the cost of numerous lives including the brutal killing of Carol’s ex-husband who wants a second chance and the nosey Post Office mailwoman that just can’t help but go through the Stepfather’s mail. In one hilarious bit, she finds a letter welcoming “Gene” (as he is known now) back to his high school reunion. The only issue is that the Gene in the letter is black â that’s a bit of a stretch even for the oft appearance-changing serial killer.
The bloody finale takes place during the day of the wedding between Carol and the Stepfather as the one link to the killings and the serial killer comes to play in the form of a tune whistled by the killer after doing the deeds. Unfortunately, the Stepfather decided to teach it to Carol’s son who gives up the info to Carol right before the vows are exchanged.
The re-imagining (I hate that term) of the original Stepfather is coming to theaters soon thus the re-release of the sequel onto DVD and the new digital cut is alright, it isn’t anything special but it improves the quality of the first cut and the old VHS cuts that are floating around. So if you are a fan of the film it is definitely worth checking out and especially for those that love a nice horror thriller but gorehounds and traditionalist horror fans will probably be bored by the sometimes slow pace of the film.
The big special feature on the DVD is the new featurette, “The Stepfather Chronicles: Daddy’s New Home,” which functions as both a retrospective on the film and a look at the behind-the-scenes into making it. Some really good stuff in this retrospective because we learn some good things about how they wanted to originally have a dog and a little girl as part of the family as well but because of budget they nixed the idea. However, the posters still had on a wedding cake the dog and the girl because they had done the posters before getting final approval on the budget. They also talk a lot about O’Quinn’s performance in the first one and he was not bound by a contract to have to come back and do a second film but decided to anyway. Meg Foster also got the gig about two days prior to shooting, an interesting bit of trivia, and had to learn everything right quick in order to be up for the part. This retrospective featurette is the best of the extras by far and an interesting look to the film so many years later.
Other special features include deleted scenes, an audio commentary and trailers.