Can you keep a good stepfather down, despite him being shot and stabbed in the heart multiple times? Of course not. That’s why even if Terry O’Quinn isn’t coming back, his character definitely will in this made for HBO movie.
Yes, Gene Clifford has survived being stabbed with a clawhammer in the heart and went right back into the same mental institution in Puget Sound. And he escapes it all over again, finding a back alley surgeon to change his appearance, all with no anesthesia, before killing that very same doctor.
Oh yeah — now the stepfather is played by Robert Wightman, who is best known for taking over the role of John-Boy Walton from Richard Thomas.
Now, he’s Keith Grant, a gardener who dresses up as the Easter Bunny for a church party. There, he meets Christine Davis (Priscilla Barnes from TV’s Three’s Company) and her son Andy, who has been in a wheelchair since an accident. He even takes care of Christine’s psycho ex, Mark, by killing him with a shovel. Once that body is buried in the garden, Keith is free to marry Christine and Andy goes away to stay with his dad, Steve.
It turns out that Christine can’t have children any longer, so Keith begins courting another woman, Jennifer (Season Hubley, Vice Squad) and her son Nicholas. His boss totally picks up on this, so that guy has to die.
Andy is back home and he’s well versed in true crime. So he starts researching Keith and his history. He’s surprised when his new dad misidentifies him as Nicholas, so the typical stepfather behavior has started as he begins forgetting his identity and killing anyone who learns the truth, like that troublemaking priest!
Will the stepfather find true love? Will Andy walk again? Can even the stepfather survive falling into a woodchipper? All of these questions and probably a few more will be answered by the end of this movie.
If you watch this movie without looking at the screen, you may think that Terry O’Quinn is still in it. The voice is very close. But once you watch it, the acting isn’t as good. In fact, Wightman is quite wooden, particularly in a sex scene with Barnes where she’s sweaty and super into it. I don’t mean that as a pun. But sure, you can take it that way.
Andy is also the exact opposite — overacted to the extreme and given to fits of screaming. There’s a near hilarious scene where they attempt to play football together that had me laughing in a completely inappropriate way. At least there’s plenty of gore to make up for all the cheese.