Spooktober – Day 25: The Stepford Wives (1975)

What is Stepford Wives?

An urban aspirant photographer, Joanna Eberhart moves from Manhattan to the small town of Stepford, Connecticut with her family. She and her husband Walter Eberhart decided to live in a calm suburb, but the town seems perfect, maybe a little too perfect and there’s something not quite right with the suburb’s women. Joanna teams up with another newcomer, Bobby, to investigate the mystery of Stepford’s wives and makes a horrific discovery. The Stepford Wives stars Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Peter Masterson and it is directed by Bryan Forbes. It spawned a remake in 2004 starring Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler, and Matthew Broderick.

Why do I recommend it?

Even if you have never have seen The Stepford Wives, surely you have heard the phrase the title spawned and you probably seen at least one of the many parodies the movie subsequently created. In that regard, the film is quite iconic, but I feel the phrase “The Stepford Wives” and the parodies have outgrown the film itself in their popularity. That most people who have used the phrase, have never even seen the movie that’s how popular it is. I just now feel like the movie is getting the attention it deserves, because of Jordan Pele’s drawing inspiration from it for his own horror classic, Get Out. Yes, if you didn’t know The Stepford Wives did for feminism what Get Out did for racism. That’s the easiest way to describe this film to someone who hasn’t seen it. Based on Ira Levin’s book, the film deals with these suburb wives and our main protagonist, Joanna knows that something isn’t quite right about them and spoiler alert, she’s right! The movie isn’t scary in way of there’s a serial killer on the loose killing each wife off, but there’s an eeriness to it, because of what is happening to the wives and the fact it’s happening at all.

It’s hard to get into depth about The Stepford Wives without reaching over into spoiler territory, but I’ll try nevertheless. The movie deals with the themes of feminism and conformity and those very themes are what make the movie a horror movie. Like I said before, there is no murder, just a bunch of suburb wives and you may ask what’s so creepy about them? Oh, and I would respond with lots. It’s a chilling film because the wives aren’t only not acting like themselves, they aren’t acting human. Even in the 70s, not all wives were home jobless, cooking dinner, watching the kids while the husbands worked. Take our protagonist Joanna, she has a job as a photographer while also being a wife and mother. That’s why she notices immediately, there’s something very wrong with the Stepford wives and that’s why she continuously seeks out to find out what’s happening to them and why. The movie isn’t meant to frighten people by what’s happening on the screen, it’s more about scaring us the viewers with the ideas it presents. What’s even more frightening about the film is how ahead of it’s time it is. The book was released in 1972 and the film in 1975. The idea is revolutionary even by today, all you have to do is look at what Get Out did for audiences in 2017 and see that The Stepford Wives is still such an important story that so many still have yet to discover.

7 Extra Great Horror Movies

  • Night of the Demon (1957)
  • Carnival of Souls (1962)
  • House (1977)
  • Fright Night (1985)
  • In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
  • Inland Empire (2006)
  • Haunt (2019)

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