The Stepfather 3 (1992)
Director: Guy Maguar
The Stepfather having once again survived his death at the end of part 2, (it made good money) gets a new face courtesy of a sleazy plastic surgeon (Terry O'Quinn bailed out on this one) and continues his search for the perfect family. He hooks up with Christine (Barnes) and her wheelchair bound son Andy (Tom) and does his best to be the ideal daddy. They eventually disappoint him and faster than you can say "pimp" he begins "macking" this other broad (Hubley) and her son. Things get complicated and our beloved nutso dad decides to settle it all with a big axe and other garden tools. Father does know best.
The Stepfather hasn’t evolved much since his last two forays in parenting. He still reads "Suburbia Family", he still builds model houses, he still vents out on inanimate objects when nobody’s around and he still won’t give it up unless he’s married to the chick. Those elements, all present in the previous films were used as honest character development then but now feel more like candy coating, there for the sake of being there. The movie lacks the depth the 2 previous movies have, the characters don't seem as real, the Stepfather hops on the "one liner" bandwagon after each kill and for a man obsessed with the perfect family he sure knows how to pick 'em, I doubt that The Stepfather would chose a woman with a kid in a wheelchair…handicapped children are not part of the "American Dream" concept. And he really lucks out on this one cause the kid winds up being a nosy brat who loves solving crimes with his computer (he once hacked into police files). What made the first Stepfather special was that the characters were "normal average Americans", therefore making the movie much more brutal, here they’re elaborate setups to eventually get into Stepdada’s way. This is a poor imitation of a way better film. Lets polish up the knife…
Lots of it. Since this is part 3 we need more gore to camouflage the fact that the storyline is redundant and the script weak. The opening surgery sequence is very effective (because the director filmed an ACTUAL surgery and cut it into the film) it made me cringe and all the murders are very violent and full of FAKE blood.
Taking over Terry O Quinn’s role is suicide, any actor would pale in comparison, it’s his part. Robert Wightman (Keith) tries and fails. First off he looks like "Conan O Brien" with rabies, sounds like he has a cold and is way too young to be The Stepfather (I mean this was no Beverly Hills surgeon). Wightman said in interview that he didn’t want to imitate Quinn’s performance but do it his own way. "His own way" sure comes across like a sorry imitation of the original and lacks the complexity that Quinn gave us in part 1 and 2. Priscilla Barnes (Christine), who in my younger days was responsible for many lonely fantasies (she played Terry the nurse in Three’s Company) does what she can here. She comes out of it ok. David Tom’s (Andy) performance is good but his character is annoying. He cries very well. Season Hubley (Jennifer) has a sweet behind and great soccer balls…they do most of the acting.
T & A
Quick glimpse of Priscilla Barnes’s breasts when she gets into the bath and Robert Wightman takes off his shirt to prove to us that he’s out of shape.
When the surgeon buys it, the director uses some of the worst slow motion I have ever seen (it’s slow and the picture is doubled), I’m happy to say it’s the only time he uses that gimmick. The love scene looks more like a "Penthouse" video than a horror flick. The director has tendency to over direct, which is not what a film like this needs.
A reworking of the original one. It’s passable.
This sequel is a "cartoon" version of the original. If you take it as a continuation of part two, you will hate it cause the mood and quality is different. If you take it as a "stand alone" film you will be mildly entertained: some nice gore, a few funny parts and minor tension. In my book the REAL Stepfather died at the end of part two.
Where’s Terry O'Quinn when you need him?