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THE STEPFATHER (1987) – Episode 197 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“All we need is a little order around here.” And Jerry Blake is just the guy to make that happen! Join your faithful Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr along with Vanessa Thompson –  as they revel in Terry O’Quinn’s stellar performance in The Stepfather (1987).

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 197 – The Stepfather (1987)

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After murdering his entire family, a man marries a widow with a teenage daughter in another town and prepares to do it all over again.


The Stepfather is Bill’s pick and he is still super impressed by Terry O’Quinn’s performance in the title role, a character who is one step ahead of every other character in the film. What makes it even more chilling for Bill is that the story could really happen and indeed, it did. Chad is also wowed by O’Quinn’s performance which includes everything from subtle touches to all-out, over-the-top insanity. Crystal wasn’t available for this episode but Decades of Horror 1980s alumnus, Vanessa, stepped up to participate. She loves the opening scene and recognizes O’Quinn’s fantastic, unhinged performance as the driving force in The Stepfather, a film that is very uncomfortable to watch and puts the viewer on edge in a subtle way. Much to Jeff’s liking, The Stepfather puts its big reveal in the opening scene, leaving the audience in suspense while the other characters are unsuspecting of the potential violence and evil they are facing. Of course, he, too, loves the nuances and outright insanity of O’Quinn’s performance.

The Decades of Horror 1980s Grue-Crew are universally impressed with The Stepfather and highly recommend a watch, whether for the first time or a rewatch. As of this writing, The Stepfather is available for streaming from Shudder, Kanopy, and Peacock as well as other streaming services, and on physical media as a Blu-ray from Shout! Factory.

Every two weeks, Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1980s podcast will cover another horror film from the 1980s. The next episode’s film, chosen by Crystal, will be Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982).  

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Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.