Stephen King Reccomends This “Terrifying” Free-to-Stream Chiller


Stephen King, 1995, (c)Laurel Entertainment Inc./courtesy Everett Collection

Joseph Ruben’s The Stepfather has one of those enduringly creepy conceits. Terry O’Quinn’s titular stepfather, assuming different identities and names, carves his way through suburbia in search of the perfect family. At first, things go swimmingly, but as the family fractures and their foibles are centered, his serial killer instincts take over.

He opts to simply murder them before moving on to the next. It’s a deliciously grim, aggressively raw (the violence hits hard) portrait of domestic ideals, the nuclear family, and oppressive cultural constraints mandating allegedly right and wrong ways to live. As a result, it remains a horror classic, developing a cult following, two sequels, and a 2009 sequel worth recommending for Penn Badgley’s pecs alone. The original, too, is one of Stephen King’s favorite horror movies.

Per Tubi: After murdering his entire family, a man remarries a widow with a teenage daughter in another town and prepares to do it all over again.

In 2017, the British Film Institute (BFI) curated a season of King on Screen, culling both adaptations and recommendations from the master of horror that ran for a month at the BFI Southbank. King selected The Stepfather as one title to screen, remarking after a conversation on The Hitcher, “While we’re talking about terrifying men who come from nowhere, there’s The Stepfather, with Terry O’Quinn as the murderous (but charming) psycho looking for a family to love him.”

King expanded later in the announcement, adding, “There’s that classic moment when he goes blank and says, ‘Saaay, who am I this time?’ before bludgeoning his wife with a telephone.” It’s a classic scene, and O’Quinn sells it remarkably well.

If you’re looking to heed Stephen King’s recommendation and check out The Stepfather, you can now catch it streaming for free on Tubi, Crackle, and Peacock.

What do you think? Do you think The Stepfather is a classic? Let me know over on Twitter @Chadiscollins.



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