The Stepford Children (1987)

If a film brings in the money, is received well by the critics, and like so many over the years, becomes ingrained in the cultural subconscious, the studios will inevitably spawn a sequel, or five, though as Police Academy proved, sequel multiplied, equals badness. Muchos, muchos badness.

Although some of the best follow ups to many cult movies are relatively unknown, such as Rosemary’s Baby’s imaginatively titled sequel, Rosemary’s Child, and The Hills Have Eyes 2, which followed … well you get the picture, which is a shame, because The Wish Master and Friday the 13th franchises are churned out ad nauseum to this day.

The Harding family has moved to the town as a way of letting Daddy reconnect with his very shady, Stepford youth. Kids are very well behaved there, which is making it difficult for the Harding teens in their standard eighties rebellion phase to blend in with the knee length skirts and khaki brigade (though backcombing your hair within an inch of its life and stonewash jeans will have that effect), and the evil Men’s Association has an excellent solution for any wife or child that poses a problem for their warped utopian creation, and it isn’t reverse psychology, that’s for sure.

The Stepford Children is my favourite in the series, as the early eighties sequel Revenge of the Stepford Wives and the woeful Stepford Husbands in the nineties, fall very flat in terms of mere watchability, but all of them remain quite rare and obscure even to horror fans.

(We do not, however, speak of the noughties attempt at a reboot, as what Nicole Kidman and Ferris Bueller did to the Stepfordverse was unspeakable, in my eyes.)

While it has dated rather badly compared to other films of the decade, and is at times unbelievably silly, it does manage to muster up some creepy moments, and even some intensity, in scenes involving the Stepford Patriarchy. You aren’t going to be blown away by the scripts or the acting skills of any one of the players, but as sequels go, this one isn’t half bad.

It isn’t half good either, but when you’re watching a sequel with such a lazy title you should be smart enough not to expect much more.

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