The Stepford Sequels (1980)(1987)(1996)

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Friday, July 19, 2013

The Stepford Sequels (1980)(1987)(1996)

The Stepford Wives is a 1972 satirical thriller novel by Ira Levin.  The story concerns Joanna Eberhart, a photographer and young mother who begins to suspect that the frighteningly submissive housewives in her new idyllic Connecticut neighborhood may be robots created by their husbands.

Two films of the same name have been adapted from the novel; the first starred Katharine Ross and was released in 1975, while a remake starring Nicole Kidman appeared in 2004.  Edgar J. Scherick produced the 1975 version, all three sequels, and was posthumously credited as producer in the 2004 remake.

The term "Stepford wife", which is often used in popular culture, stemmed from the novel, and is usually a reference to a submissive and docile housewife.

Revenge of the Stepford Wives (1980)

Actors: Sharon Gless, Julie Kavner, Audra Lindley, Don Johnson
Directors: Robert Fuest
Format: NTSC, Color, Dolby
Language: English
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Embassy Home Entertainment
VHS Release Date: February 23, 1989
Run Time: 95 minutes

Revenge of the Stepford Wives is a 1980 made-for-television sci-fi/horror film inspired by the Ira Levin novel “The Stepford Wives.”  It was directed by Robert Fuest with a screenplay by David Wiltse. Sharon Gless, Julie Kavner, Don Johnson, Arthur Hill, and Audra Lindley starred in the film.  It is the first in a series of sequels inspired by the 1971 novel and the original 1975 film.

The film first aired on October 12, 1980.  Despite the suburban Connecticut setting, it was filmed in California as is evident by the presence of palm trees and canyons.

This is the first sequel in a string of stories suggested by, but not necessarily true to the original concept of the novel.  Although the feel, costumes, and even music suggest the original film, a new and different twist is written for the sequel.

A TV reporter arrives in Stepford to do a story on the American town with the lowest crime and divorce rates and the tightest real-estate market (no one ever leaves).  She needs an assistant, and after  interviewing the seemingly-plastic women of Stepford, jumps at the chance to hire the down-to-earth Megan, who's married to a newly-hired cop who hasn't yet moved into the town.  Four times a day a siren sounds and every woman in town takes a pill (they each claim it's a thyroid condition).  Accidents start to happen, Megan disappears for a couple of days, and the reporter realizes something is amiss.  When Megan returns as a full-fledged Stepford wife, it's time for action.

The Stepford Children (1987)

Actors: Barbara Eden, Don Murray, Tammy Lauren, Pat Corley
Directors: Alan J. Levi
Writers: Ira Levin, William Bleich
Producers: Edgar J. Scherick, Gary Hoffman
Format: NTSC
Language: English
Run Time: 96 minutes

The Stepford Children is the second of three made-for-television sequels to the 1975 cult film The Stepford Wives. The film premiered on the NBC network on March 15, 1987.  The film was directed by Alan J. Levi and written by William Bleich.

Kenny, the boy kidnapped on the lake early in the film would later become famous as Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

The robots evolved from the original depiction in the first film, who closely resembled mannequins or the animatronics found at Disneyland.  The advanced versions resemble "the Visible Man" toy, and this design was similarly recreated in the 2004 remake of The Stepford Wives.

In this sequel to The Stepford Wives, Steven and Laura Harding (along with their kids David and Mary) have moved to the quiet community of Stepford, CT.  Steven joins the men's club, which is still assimilating their wives into robots.  This time, they have begun to turn their out of control teens into robots as well.  Once they are assimilated, they are obedient, homework loving, big band dancing droids.  Laura, David, and Mary stumble onto this mystery, and they must avoid Steven's plans to turn them into robots.

The Stepford Husbands (1996)

Actors: Donna Mills, Michael Ontkean, Cindy Williams, Sarah Douglas
Directors: Fred Walton
Writers: Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat
Producers: Cynthia S. Holladay, Edgar J. Scherick, Mitch Engel, Natalie Hart, Sollace Mitchell
Format: Color, NTSC
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
VHS Release Date: May 18, 1999
Run Time: 120 minutes

The Stepford Husbands is a 1996 made-for-television thriller film inspired by the Ira Levin novel The Stepford Wives. It was directed by Fred Walton with a screenplay by brothers Ken Wheat and Jim Wheat.  It stars Donna Mills, Michael Ontkean, Cindy Williams, Sarah Douglas, and Louise Fletcher.  It is the third in a series of sequels inspired by the 1971 novel and the original 1975 film The Stepford Wives.

The film first aired on May 14, 1996. It was filmed in North Carolina.

This is the third sequel in a string of stories based on the original concept of the novel.  The first sequel, Revenge of the Stepford Wives (1980) starred Don Johnson, Sharon Gless, and Julie Kavner and suggested a similar drug induced compliance.  The second sequel, The Stepford Children (1987) starred Barbara Eden and hewed closer to the original.  This third sequel basically reverses the roles, with the women being the oppressors. Louise Fletcher's role, in particular, recalls the role of "Diz", the Men's Club President, in the original.

The Executive Producer for the film is Edgar J. Scherick, who produced the first film.

Jodi (Donna Mills) and Mick Davison (Michael Ontkean) move to Stepford, Connecticut, hoping that the change of scenery will help rejuvenate their marriage.  What they do not know is that the women of the town have plotted to mold their husbands into their versions of perfect men--sometimes with deadly results.

Newcomer Jodi is duped by her friend Caroline (Cindy Williams) into believing that her husband has serious problems that can be cured by spending time at the Stepford Institute for Human Behavior.  So Mick checks in to the clinic, where he is given an extra dose of behavioral therapy along with some psychotropic drugs.  When Jodi finally catches on to what's happening, she begins a desperate quest to rescue her husband from the hands of these manipulative people--before it's too late.

There also a documentary of the same name on the DVD of 2004’s The Stepford Wives.  It is a behind the scenes and making of type thing.

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