The stepfather

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German title The stepfather
Original title The stepfather
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1987
length 85 (shortened 82) minutes
Age rating FSK 18 (shortened 16)
Director Joseph Ruben
script Donald E. Westlake
production Jay Benson
music Patrick Moraz
camera John Lindley
cut George Bowers

The Stepfather (alternative title: Kill, Daddy, Kill ; Spur in den Tod 2 ) is an American thriller from 1987. Directed by Joseph Ruben , the screenplay was written by Donald E. Westlake .


Jerry stands bloodied in front of the mirror of his neat suburban house. He washes himself, takes off his beard, changes his appearance and cleans up toys that are still lying around on the way out. The fact that his wife and children are stabbed to death everywhere does not move him. He disappears.

A year later he (Engl. In a neighboring town seemingly perfect husband and stepfather stepfather ). He married the attractive widow Susan, they live in a renovated old house. But Susan's daughter Stephanie doesn't like him. After her stepfather has a weird fit of rage because of a triviality , she asks her psychologist, who is supposed to help her over the loss of her real father, to put Jerry under the microscope. The psychologist introduces himself to Jerry under a false name and gossips about family values. Jerry can't keep his temper under control for long, he kills the psychologist and makes his corpse disappear.

Meanwhile, Jim Ogilvie, the brother of Jerry's former wife, is looking for him and finds out that he has married single mothers several times and built a second existence under new names. But sooner or later he always killed his family and disappeared. Desperate, the brother intensifies his efforts and finally finds Jerry and his new family too - only to be killed by Jerry too.

So far, Jerry has been lucky in his murders, but the ground is getting too hot under his feet. His wife is starting to suspect that something is wrong with him, and the police seem to have a few questions too. So he comes to the point of saying goodbye to another family. He ambushes Susan in the house and knocks her down with a phone receiver. Then he goes after Stephanie, she takes refuge in the attic. In the pursuit, Jerry breaks through the rotten ground. Limping, he continues the hunt, but on the stairs of the house Stephanie and the awakened Susan can put the madman out of action.


Roger Ebert wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times of March 2, 1987 that the "blood-soaked" thriller was "uneven" but "haunting". While watching, Ebert thought of the “syndrome of idiotic action” - only an idiot would make some mistakes. A few weeks later he thinks of the "effective" portrayal of Terry O'Quinn, who gives the character played "all kinds of creepy dimensions".

Variety magazine wrote that the "captivating" thriller was refreshing because it didn't lead the audience on the wrong track. It works thanks to the credibility of the action ("what makes The Stepfather work is its believability").

The lexicon of international films wrote: “Exciting thriller that makes visible the fragility of bourgeois notions of happiness; rather for die-hard friends of the genre because of its nerve-wracking and bloody finale. "


Jill Schoelen won an award from the Sitges Festival Internacional de Cinema de Catalunya in 1987 . She and the film for Best Horror Film were nominated for the Young Artist Award in 1988 . Terry O'Quinn was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award and the Saturn Award in 1988 . Joseph Ruben won the Critics' Prize of the Cognac Festival du Film Policier in 1988 and was nominated for the International Fantasy Film Award of the Fantasporto Festival in 1990. Donald E. Westlake was nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1988 .


The film was shot in Seattle and Vancouver . It grossed approximately $ 2.49 million in US cinemas . In 1989 the sequel Stepfather II appeared , in which Terry O'Quinn took on the role of stepfather again. 1992 appeared with Father's Day - Stepfather III another sequel, in which, however, Robert Wightman played the stepfather.

In 2009 a remake was produced with Stepfather .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Film review by Roger Ebert, accessed December 5, 2007
  2. Variety, accessed on December 5, 2007  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  3. ^ The Stepfather in the Lexicon of International Films , accessed on March 2, 2017 Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used
  4. ^ Filming locations for The Stepfather, accessed December 5, 2007
  5. Box office / business for The Stepfather, accessed December 5, 2007