Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

The Stepmother

The Stepmother

Cinema Monolith: 2/10 This film is part of the Cinema Monolith collection!
IMDb: 4/10
Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide: *½ out of 4

Released on October 26, 1972
Rated R
94 minutes

Directed by Hikmet L. Avedis

Written by Hikmet L. Avedis

Cast: Alejandro Rey, Catherine Justice, Larry Linville, Marlene Schmidt, John D. Garfield, Claudia Jennings, John Anderson, Duncan McLeod, Mike Kulcsar, Rudy Herrera Jr, David Renard, Priscilla Garcia

Let’s see…a husband arrives home to find his wife post-sacktime with another man; the husband strangles the man, buries him, then…well, after that I didn’t know what was going on. Apparently, this was a story about relationships and infidelity, and maybe even a little wife swapping, but it seemed to be wrapped in the guise of a murder mystery; trysts, affairs, and hook-ups were the going thing among these fun-loving adults, while killing was something you did in the meantime.

And stuck in the middle of it all was Alejandro Rey, recently graduated from the Ricardo Montalban School of Fine Acting, playing Delgado, a mixed-up architect whose lack of tolerance for his wife’s catting around resulted in not one but two senseless murders; the two-man police force somehow had a whale of a time tagging him with the crime, even though dozens of clues pointing right at him were as obvious as signal flares. Soon enough, I was bored out of my mind, but I couldn’t look away, only because I was afraid I might miss something vitally important that would make sense of it all.

Trust me, this movie was extremely odd, even by drive-in standards, and based on the lame way the title connected to the story, this could’ve been called The Cabin or The Shovel and made just as much sense. Hikmet L. Avedis—which surprisingly is not an anagram—directed as if he’d never watched a film in his life, and his work on the screenplay was strictly amateur hour. Scenes played out far too casually, seemingly without a destination, then suddenly everything took a hard left turn to an entirely unrelated conclusion, leaving the story we’d invested 70 minutes in behind.

Also, the use of camera tricks, like the dozen or so baffling and obnoxious freeze-frames, were either hilarious or a nuisance, depending on your current disposition. And speaking of baffling: Larry Linville took a break from M*A*S*H, Claudia Jennings took a break from Playboy, and—hold on to your antacid—the film took a break from reality by being nominated for an Academy Award, for Best Original Song (I kid you not!). The least entertaining—so far—from my Drive-In Cult Classics collection.  (2/10)


9 comments on “The Stepmother

  1. Tyson Carter

    Nice write up Todd. Not one I’ve seen and don’t think I’ll bother 🙂


  2. Todd Benefiel

    Thanks Tyson, and I’m glad I could save you from wasting 94 minutes of your valuable time…time, by the way, that could be better spent fulfilling that promise you made to hook me up with Lori Loughlin!

    I don’t know what it is with these crappy drive-in exploitation films from the ’60s and ’70s, but I get such a perverse kick out of watching them. Who knows, maybe it’s the look, locations, and bygone atmosphere of the 1970s that gives me a nostalgic pang for my childhood. Or, maybe I’m just nuts.


    • Tyson Carter

      I’ve called her people, just waiting for the reply 😉


      • Todd Benefiel

        I’m waiting with baited breath! (Well, fresh breath of course, in case she stops by, but you know what I mean…)


  3. grandrapidsgirl

    What a great review. And of course I mean the review and not the movie! Won’t be lookin’ on pay-per-view for this one that’s for sure. But now I’m curious… just who is Lori Loughlin???


  4. Todd Benefiel

    Well, you don’t have to actually LOOK for it, but if you stumble upon it one boring night while skimming through some low-end cable channels, you should check it out, and see if you can make heads or tails of it!

    And Lori Loughlin was an actress I liked from a couple of movies I saw back in the 1980s, The New Kids and Secret Admirer. She then went on to co-star in the TV series Full House, which is where most people know her from. I loved her character in Secret Admirer–a perfect example of my cinematic dream date–and as hinted to in the comment above, my friend Tyson from Head in a Vice said he’d try his best to hook us up!


  5. Julie Dunning

    Love it! Thanks!


  6. Nearly 10 years years later I get to comment. LOL. Best thing about this film seems the joyful google search images of Claudia Jennings in Playboy. OH my days!

    The film sounds total lunatic and I will give it a wide berth but will award you the Medal of Gallantry for your arduous film watching efforts for all mankind. Say what!!!! “Academy Award, for Best Original Song” wowzers!!


    • Todd B

      Hey, better late than never, Mikey! Thanks for checking it out, and about that Medal of Gallantry…you’re welcome.

      And ‘OH my days’ indeed…though now that it’s been so many years since I’ve seen it, I honestly can’t remember any of her scenes in the movie! Guess I’ll have to earn another medal…


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From the Monolith: 130

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