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September 28, 2011

Movie Review: The Stepfather II: Make Room For Daddy

Joseph Ruben's The Stepfather was a sleeper hit in 1987. It’s near perfect character study of psychopath, Jerry Blake(Terry O'Quinn), a man who just wants to have the perfect Ozzie and Harriet family. That can't be a lot to ask. I guess it's just how Jerry goes about it - the man has a short fuse. It always seems to end with Jerry butchering the family and moving onto the next . Jerry meets his match though by the end of The Stepfather and even get a giant butcher knife to the chest. Was that the end of Jerry's journey? Not at all, just a minor diversion that lands him wounded and in a mental hospital. This is how Jeff Burr's(Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, The Offspring) Stepfather II: Make Room For Daddy opens, with Jerry Blake just fine and dandy - ready to whistle some more in Synapse Films special edition DVD release.


After the obligatory flashbacks from the finale of The Stepfather, Jerry Blake is lying not so comfortably in a bed at the local institution pondering an escape. As we know by now, Jerry, is a smart cat. It doesn't take too long before he kills a few prison employees, disguise himself in a security uniform and be off to find his dream family. Carol ( Meg Foster, They Live, Welcome To Arrow Beach) and her son Todd (the late Jonathan Brandis) are Jerry's focus now. This lonely real estate agent sees Jerry as not only a polite, handsome gentleman but a potential quality role-model for her so Todd - who's still damaged by the divorce. What Carol doesn't know is her best gal-pal Maddy(Caroline Williams) is onto Jerry's scheme. Why not let sleeping Stepfathers lie? Amazingly, Jerry has such a lock on Carol's heart that they take that "extra" step get engage. Do they even make it to the wedding, or does Carol have second thoughts that sway Jerry in his decision in even letting her and Todd breathe another second?

The supplements in Synapse Film's release actually turn out to be much more extensive than what you see on the back cover: We get a 30 minute featurette on the making of The Stepfather produced by Red Shirt Pictures and Synapse. This is a solid extra, very smoothly edited and full of information on how Jeff Burr and Producer, Darin Scott came aboard. The Stepfather II, followed their production of The Offspring, with a lot of the same crew. There are also several alternate and extended scenes. These are pretty cool, as we do get to see some interesting character development and also some extra blood-shed - including an extended throat slashing and an alternate death of Maddy. Burr points out that after his issues with the MPAA on Stepfather II, that he seriously came down on him on his next feature, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. If you enjoyed the featurette and the alternate scenes you're likely going to enjoy the commentary with Scott and Burr. Burr and Scott both show much appreciation for the talent of Terry O'Quinn - even going so far as to say he could win an oscar if given the right role. I whole-heartedly agree.

The Stepfather II is anamorphic and really looks gorgeous. There are no noticeable issues with the materials. Colors are very rich and their are no noticeable issues with a transfer. The sound is also top-notch in Dolby Digital Surround Sound.

Synapse has done an excellent job on The Stepfather II . The generous amount of extra features are a big plus and only add to what’s a very sharp transfer of one of the better horror sequels to come out of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

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