Stepfather III – USA, 1992

‘Daddy’s been working in the garden… again!’

Stepfather III – aka Stepfather III: Father’s Day – is a 1992 made-for-TV British-American slasher horror feature film directed by co-producer Guy Magar (Children of the Corn: Revelation; Retribution) from a screenplay co-written with Marc B. Ray (The Severed ArmScream Bloody Murder). It is also known as Stepfather 3.

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The movie stars Robert Wightman (Impulse), Priscilla Barnes (Trailer Park of TerrorEd Gein; The Devil’s Rejects), David Tom (The Hazing), Season Hubley (Children of the Corn V; Humanoids from the Deep, 1996) and Christa Miller.

Gene Clifford (Robert Wightman), escapes from the same institution in Puget Sound, Washington he was placed in four years ago. He seeks out a back alley plastic surgeon (Mario Roccuzzo) to alter his appearance, using no anesthesia.

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After a few days, Gene kills the doctor by slitting his throat with a bone saw and makes his way to Deer View, California, where he acquires a new identity, “Keith Grant”, as well as a small cottage and a job at a plant nursery.

Nine months after crafting his new life, Keith meets divorced school principal Christine Davis (Priscilla Barnes) and her psychosomatically paralyzed son Andy (David Tom). Keith and Christine begin dating.

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When Christine’s possessive ex-boyfriend Mark Wraynal (Stephen Mendel) follows Keith home and confronts him, Keith offers to have a chat. Keith kills him with a shovel and buries the body in his garden…

Reviews:

“Wightman, with that prissy, scary, whiny voice makes a good fist of it, and seems more barmy than ever. The violence is genuinely gory, and climaxes with a death in a garden threshing-machine that surely defies all efforts at restorative surgery.” Time Out

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“Film lurches on without much credibility. Young David’s plight works up some tension, but characters are mostly flat (though Barnes makes the hard-luck Christine almost acceptable), motivations telegraphed, the story predictable. As for dialogue, it’s routine horror pic stuff.” Tony Scott, Variety

” …poorly scripted, all-too-familiar chiller — continuing a serial killer’s search for the perfect family — with gory plastic surgery, savage violence, and even some effective Boo! scenes. But robotic Wightman … is a weak substitute for previous death-dealing dad Terry O’Quinn.” Entertainment Weekly

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“Ultimately the movie’s faults come down to Wightman, who is no substitute for O’Quinn. Stepfather III is a 110 minute bad joke. Insipid acting, laughable dialogue and an incredibly cliched story. At times it overcompensates with it’s gore, to make up for it’s lack of everything else.” Robert Grimes, Unseen Films

 

“The script by director Guy Magar and Marc B. Ray fails to exploit a sub-plot in which Wightman’s new stepson suspects him and uses his home computer to investigate. The use of a leaf mulcher does provide this excursion into bloody violence with a memorably sickening climax.” John Stanley, Creature Features

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Cast and characters:

  • Robert Wightman as The Stepfather/Keith Grant
  • Priscilla Barnes as Christine Davis
  • Season Hubley as Jennifer Ashley
  • David Tom as Andy Davis
  • John Ingle as Father Ernest Thomas Brennan
  • Dennis Paladino as Mr. Thompson
  • Stephen Mendel as Mark Wraynal
  • Jay Acovone as Steve Davis
  • Christa Miller as Beth Davis
  • Mario Roccuzzo as Plastic Surgeon
  • Joan Dareth as Bernice
  • Jennifer Bassey as Doctor Brady
  • Adam Ryen as Nicholas Ashley
  • Mindy Ann Martin as Tiffany Davis
  • Joel Carlson as Pete Davis
  • Sumer Stamper as Maggie Davis
  • Brenda Strong as Lauren Sutliffe
  • Mort Lewis as Funeral Priest
  • Adam Wylie as Easter Party Boy

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