31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Stepford Wives

Based on the novel by Ira Levin and directed by Bryan Forbes, this dark science-fiction horror film has inspired parodies, two made for TV sequels and a bad remake in 2004.

Joanna Eberhart (Katharine Ross) and her husband Walter (Peter Masterson) along with their two children move from New York to the little suburb of Stepford. Joanna is an independent woman who wants to be a photographer and finds the town a little unsettling. All the men belong to the Men’s Association and all the women just want to look pretty and do housework.

Joanne befriends another new resident Bobbie Markowe (Paula Prentiss) and soon they both befriend Charmaine Wimperis (Tina Louise). They try to form their own Women’s Lib group but all the other women only want to talk about problems with cleaning stuff. Later Charmaine returns from a trip changed. No longer loving tennis but again obsessed with looking pretty and cleaning the house.

Joanne and Bobbie start investigating and decide to maybe leave town. Joanne wins a photography contest and when she goes to tell Bobbie she finds Bobbie has changed as well. Joanne fights with her husband Walter. She goes to a psychiatrist who tells she should leave. When Joanne gets home she finds that her children are missing. Then she discovers a horrifying secret.

The film has gained a cult following over the years and is well embedded in pop culture. It’s a little slow moving but the final act makes up for the leisurely pace.

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