STEPFATHER III: MAKE FROOM FOR DADDY
The new director this time is Guy Magar, an Egyptian-born director who emerged out of tv with the horror film Retribution (1987) and has only ever made one film subsequently with Children of the Corn: Revelation (2001). While The Stepfather was made with an intelligence of writing and carried by both Joseph Rubens direction and Terry OQuinns performance, Stepfather III slips down to being no more than a cheap B movie. Robert Wightman, an actor who has never done anything of distinction before or since, is bland in the role. Indeed, in Wightmans nervously hesitant playing, there is nothing of the dangerous sharpness that there was in Terry OQuinns performance the performances are so far apart that it is impossible to believe that the two actors are playing someone who is supposed to be the same person.
On the other hand, even had Stepfather III come with Terry OQuinn in the central role again, it is far too poorly written and directed to be anything more than cheap hackwork. Guy Magar pushes everything towards being more of a slasher film, featuring a series of gory set-piece despatches Dennis Paladino gets a rake impaled in his face, Stephen Mendel a shovel in the stomach and so on. Certainly, on one level it is possible to believe that there were the elements of potential in the script at times, Stepfather III heads back in the direction of the first film far more than Stepfather II did. There are some decent twists in the script like having Robert Wightman thinking all is turning to custard when the son wants to go and stay with his adopted father and starting to groom another divorcee after she rents his home, which gets turned on its head when the two women meet up. On the other hand, there are some extremely shabby pieces of writing like the enormous cliche of the kid who is psychosomatically crippled and regains his feet at the crucial climactic moment.
Stepfather III proved to be the end of the Stepfather franchise. The original was later poorly remade as The Stepfather (2009).