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The Stepfather

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Like many films that became franchises, The Stepfather, a 1987 horror-thriller about a serial killer who marries widows with children and then kills them, first led to a series of sequels and now is the subject of a remake of the original that attempts to re-start the series from scratch, with Jason Cardone's 2009 screenplay based on Donald E. Westlake's original. This soundtrack album of hard rock tracks dating back to 1999 provides no obvious connection to the film it accompanies, beyond its overall tone of menace and song titles that include "What Is Real" and "Secret Things." (In Cardone's version of the story, there is an initial uncertainty about whether the serial killer is a serial killer or simply misunderstood, which makes it more reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt; in the first version, there was never any question about the title character's character.) The tracks range from outright heavy metal ("Platinum Camelot," by Lightning Swords of Death, which features a prototypical metal vocal howl) to somewhat poppier fare (Blurtonia's "Never Less Than Perfect" and the catchy "Eternal Summer," by Red Means Go), with punk (C'mon's "Safer When") and synth pop (Ken Andrews' "Secret Things") variations. Still, the big guitar riffs never let up for long, and the disc comes to a close with an extremely sinister new reading of the old Turtles hit "Happy Together" agonizingly realized by Filter.

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