4 Shots From 4 Films: Evil Dead II, Near Dark, Stage Fright, The Stepfather

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, we’re using 4 Shots From 4 Films to look at some of the best years that horror has to offer!

4 Shots From 4 1987 Horror Films

Evil Dead II (1987, dir by Sam Raimi)

Near Dark (1987, dir by Kathryn Bigelow)

Stage Fright (1987, dir by Michele Soavi)

The Stepfather (1987, dir by Joseph Ruben)

Horror Film Review: The Stepfather (dir by Joseph Ruben)

Who is Jerry Blake?

That is the question at the heart of the classic 1987 horror thriller, The Stepfather.

Most of the people who know Jerry (brilliantly played by Terry O’Quinn) would say that he’s just a really nice guy.  He’s responsible.  He’s a good employee.  He can be trusted.  He works in real estate and spends his days selling perfect homes to perfect families.  Jerry always has a friendly smile and hearty manner.  He’s the perfect neighbor, precisely because he’s so boring.  You don’t have to worry about Jerry not taking care of his yard or throwing a loud party or … well, doing anything anyone else would do.  Sure, Jerry seems to be a little bit old-fashioned and sure, sometimes he’s a little bit too good to be believed.  But what’s wrong with that?  I mean, the man makes birdhouses!  Jerry is so dedicated to creating perfect families that he even tries to make the perfect home for the birds in his back yard!

In fact, the only person who seems to have any doubts about Jerry is his new stepdaughter, Stephanie (Jill Schoelen).  Stephanie is a teenager so, occasionally, she’s less than perfect.  Sometimes, she gets into a fight at school.  Sometimes, she talks back.  To be honest, to me, nothing she does seems like it’s really that big of a deal.  But Jerry simply cannot handle the fact that Stephanie is making his new family just a little less than perfect.  When Jerry catches Stephanie and her boyfriend sharing a very chaste kiss, he freaks out.  KISSING!?  Why that could only lead to one thing…

But it’s not just that Jerry is kind of controlling and seems to be living in a 1950s sitcom.  There’s also the fact that sometimes, Jerry goes down in the basement and just starts yelling and throwing stuff.  That’s what Jerry does when he gets angry.  He hides in the basement and he totally loses control.  When Stephanie overhears him, Jerry just gives her a bland smile and says that he was blowing off some steam.

Stephanie suspects that something’s wrong with Jerry but, of course, no one believes her.  However, we know that Stephanie’s right to be suspicious.  At the start of the film, we saw Jerry walking out of his old house, leaving behind the dead bodies of his wife and children.  At that time, of course, Jerry’s name was Henry Morrison.  Henry’s previous family disappointed him so he killed them and then vanished, changing his identity and marrying Stephanie’s mother, Susan (Shelley Hack).

Jerry wants everything to be perfect.  He’s an old-fashioned guy with old-fashioned values and, whenever anyone disappoints him, he kills them and changes his identity once again.  He’s the type who will kill you but then make sure that your seat belt is fastened when he puts you back in your car.  “Buckle up for safety,” Jerry says.

There’s a 2009 remake of The Stepfather.  For some reason, it regularly shows up on Lifetime.  Ignore the remake and track down the original.  Long before he played John Locke on Lost, Terry O’Quinn gave a simply amazing performance in the role of Jerry Blake.  Jerry is so friendly and likable that, even though we know he’s a murderer, it’s still hard not to fall under his spell.

Why, we wonder, can’t the world be as perfect as Jerry wants it to be?

Because Jerry’s world is not the real world.  In the real world, family are never perfect but they love each other anyway.  In Jerry’s world, it’s more important that things appear to be perfect than that anyone actually be honest or, for that matter, happy.

The Stepfather is a chillingly effective thriller, featuring a brilliant performance from Terry O’Quinn.  If you haven’t seen it, see it!

Let’s Second Guess The Academy: 1987 Best Picture


It’s time for another edition of Let’s Second Guess the Academy!  This time, we’re taking a second look at the race for Best Picture of 1987.

Can you remember which film won Best Picture for 1987?  Don’t feel bad if you can’t because Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor is one of the lesser known Oscar winners.  The film’s relative obscurity leads to one natural question: was it truly the best film released in 1987?

Or should the Oscar have gone to one of the other films nominated — Broadcast News, Hope and Glory, Fatal Attraction, or Moonstruck?

Let your voice be heard by voting below!

After voting for which nominated film you think should have won, give some thought to some of the 1987 films that were not nominated.  Was Moonstruck truly a better film than Near Dark or Full Metal jacket?  Ask yourself what would have happened if The Last Emperor hadn’t been released in the United States or what if Fatal Attraction hadn’t been a huge box office smash.  What if none of the five best picture nominees had been eligible to be nominated in 1987?  Which five films would you have nominated in their place?

Let us know by voting below.  As always, you can vote for up to five alternative nominees and write-ins are accepted!

Happy voting!


“What’s Wrong?” He asked. “I’m late,” I replied as we watched 6 more trailers…

Hi there!

Yes, I’m late.  Usually, whenever I utter those words, I’m greeted with a look of terror.  But, luckily, this time I’m just running a day late with the latest edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film Trailers. 

Saturday was our big sister’s birthday so me and Dazzling Erin spent almost the entire weekend hanging out in a strange city called Ft. Worth.  Erin even sang the longest karaoke version of American Pie ever!  (And she sang it beautifully, by the way!) It was good fun but unfortunately, I couldn’t put a trailer post together while singing and drinking.  However, we are back home and, without further ado, here’s 6 more trailers!

1) The Stepfather (1987)

Almost in time for Father’s Day, here’s the original Stepfather, starring a pre-Lost Terry O’Quinn.

2) The Stepfather Part II (1989)

You can’t keep a good stepfather down…

3) The Stepfather Part III (1992)

Wait — that’s not Terry O’Quinn!

4) Double Agent 73 (1974)

This film was directed by the famous Doris Wishman.  “Watch out for her booby traps…”

5) The Ghastly Ones (1968)

Speaking of famous and notorious directors, this trailer is for a film directed by Andy Milligan.

6) The Rats Are Coming, The Werewolves Are Here! (1972)

Actually, I think I’ll close this entry with yet another Milligan film.  He’s been underrepresented in my trailer posts so far and that’s a shame because if any director screams “grindhouse,” it’s Andy Milligan.