Like I said, y’all know I love trash. GREASE 2, SHOWGIRLS 2,
AVATAR THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 4. These are subpar films that inexplicitly bring me joy, despite their critical or audience negative reactions.
STEPFATHER 3 also falls into this category. THE STEPFATHER films all follow a basic formula. The titular madman (his name/alias changes in each film so the actual name isn’t important) finds a single mother, played by a former TV actress, woos her, marries her, becomes creepily attached to her kid and when shit goes wrong he proceeds to kill them before moving on to the next family.
Terry O’Quinn gave a brilliant performance in the first 2 films as the Stepfather. His maniacal grimace in each scene is in stark contrast to his duplicitous murderous nature. O’Quinn declined to reprise his role in the third entry, which for his sake was probably a good thing. Instead of cancelling the project altogether a new actor, Robert Whightman, assumed the role. Whightman’s performance was more effective than common reception tells. He was more of a dorky asshole than downright terrifying. Whightman’s Stepfather seemed like a genuinely good guy when needed and became downright scary when the blood needed to flow. He wasn’t as terrifying as Terry O’Quinn from the first two films, but then again, very few things in life are. The subtle and slow-burning nature of the first film is replaced by more blood, more violence, and more early-90s sleaze. If the first STEPFATHER film is the polished sister who became a psychiatrist then part 2 is the less competent sister who went into real estate while the third film is the adderall-addicted youngest sister who shows up to the wedding drunk and proceeds to give a handjob to the groom’s father in the bathroom. (We’ve all been 19 once.) In this entry, the Stepfather not only marries Terri from THREE’S COMPANY but becomes an emotionally abusive father to a wheelchair-bound preteen who had to be gay when he got older. As if this family wasn’t enough, he begins shacking up with another single mom who has a young son. He’ll do anything to find the perfect family and will destroy anyone who gets in his way. He even kills-SPOILER ALERT FOR A 26-YEAR OLD FILM-a priest! Unlucky for him that the gay wheelchair-bound preteen is a detective in the making and is on to him so early in the film you forget what triggered him.
The kills are fairly tame but enjoyable and the acting is fairly impressive. While the film lacked tension, fully developed characters, production values, people of color (I swear if the Stepfather would real he’d be a Trump supporter) and nudity (even the original showed some 1987 peen from Terry O’Quinn) STEPFATHER 3 isn’t the disaster that its reputation lent itself. Or maybe it does. All I know is the few martinis I downed during this 1 hour and 44 minute film were delicious. The scene where the Stepfather and Terri Susan Hubley discovered they couldn’t have children and he gave her the stare of death on the ride home should’ve been terrifying but all I could do was cackle. And pour another martini.
Check out THE STEPFATHER 3 currently streaming on Amazon.