Trailer Terrors: Morgan Stewart's Coming Home (1987)

He was just Ducky in "Pretty in Pink". Now he's crazy rich... and it's all his parents' fault.

Opening with your typically upbeat 80s comedy score, the first image in Morgan Stewarts Coming Home (1987) is a glorious shot of Fulci's iconic Zombie. The camera then pans down to reveal a monster mask, a poster of Peter Lorre, a zombified portrait of Mona Lisa, and oodles more horror paraphenelia. Yes, my friends, Morgan Stewart is a fellow horror fanatic.

Played by Jon Cryer (Pretty in Pink, Two and a Half Men), Morgan Stewart is the son of a senator father and socialite mother who have decided to forgo their Thanksgiving festivities which leaves young Morgan stuck in boarding school. Strangely enough, however, young Morgan finds himself called back home only weeks later at the bequest of his parents. Thus begins an "epic" quest to rediscover his estranged homestead.

As he packs for his timely departure, Morgan introduces us to his prize possession: a Tobe Hooper-autographed chainsaw. It's little touches like this, scattered all throughout the sets and wardrobe, that made this film such a pleasure to watch. Soon thereafter, Morgan's mother (who is hereby to be reffered to as "The Bitch") arrives via helicopter to pick him up. She seems surprisingly appalled to see the her son's horror bounty adorning the dorm walls, yet inexplicably unflinches at the thought of storming shower stalls full of young men in the buff. Go figure, the girl's got her priorities.

Welcome to the "Den on Iniquity," a horror shrine worthy of cinematic preservation.

A short airlift later and Morgan finds his anticipated homecoming somewhat lacking as "The Bitch" rushes off to a hair appointment (again, in the helicopter) and leaves him alone on the roof. He's also later tackled by an overenthusiastic chauffeur. As it turns out, his return is actually the result of his an ambitious aide named Jay (Paul Gleason) who has conviced Morgan's parents to use him as an asset for his father's re-election campaign. Worst yet, his parents seem all too happy at the idea, trying to "hook him up" with equally prissy socialite succubi and even *shudder* incinerating his horror movie posters and props, the last remnants of his self-proclaimed "Den of Iniquity."

It's at this point that Morgan resolves to take a stand against his parent's oppressive regime and his efforts serendipitously lead him to Leggett Mall where a rather young-looking George Romero is signing autographs at Walden Books. It's also at this point where the film's love interest, a nerd-girl hottie named Emily, is introduced. Seems that Emily shares Morgan's passion for a good fright flick and has him head over heels in love. So much so that, in short order, he's stealing his father's car, staying up late and basking in an authentic family dinner. Oh yeah, and their first date is a midnight screening of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (oh yeah!).

The face of true love has never been so... wrinkly.

Their relationship climaxes in one of the most kick-ass moments in a romantic comedy I've ever seen wherein Morgan and Emily (both clad in their undies) don monster masks for a brief shower together (Emily has to be the coolest date ever!). Unfortunately, their fun is cut short by the untimely arrival of "The Bitch" who, in overly-dramatic fashion, frightens away a half-naked and ashamed Emily. Time to break out that Tobe Hooper chainsaw I mentioned earlier and cue some Twisted Sister, this sh*t just got real.

Beyond this point the film pretty much plays it by the numbers: Morgan escapes to see his lady love, they uncover a villainous plot by Jay to blackmail Morgan's father and then wild antics ensue as Morgan and Emily attempt to save his father's reputation. It's your standard happy Hollywood fluff, exactly what one would expect from a comedy, but it doesn't stop me from wishing there was a little more horror at play aside from some well-placed camera shots and obscure tshirt references. For me, Morgan Stewarts Coming Home is the equivalent of Robert Hall's Lightning Bug if you subtracted all the dark and dreary drama which, quite honesly, is what made that film so good. Come to think of it, as hard as Morgam Stewarts Coming Home was to find, just save yourself some time and watch Lighting Bug again. You'll be glad you did.


  1. This review seems more entertaining to me than the movie might. Although that shot of the shower in masks does arouse something in me . . . . .

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    It's funny, that same image is what initially led to me wanting to see it in the first place.

    While the film is most certainly a product of its generation, there are a few moments of true horror fandom such as the George Romero mall-signing that reek of awesome, but overall this one is more for the Meatballs crowd.

  1. Paxton said...:

    Totally saw this in the theater and was not impressed. I liked the small horror references, but nothing else stood out. Part of the problem was Cryer was a watered down Broderick in Ferris Bueller. It felt too familiar.

    It's funny, I just watched Pretty in Pink for the first time all the way through like two nights ago. Man, that movie is not good. Cryer's Ducky is really annoying. I love Spader as the asshole though.

    For me, Hughes was at his best for Sixteen Candles, Weird Science and Vacation.

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    @Paxton: Weird Science! Now there's a film that's begging for me to watch again. I also rather enjoyed the tv series for awhile when it was part of USA's late night block with Duckman.

    I enjoyed Cryer slightly more in this movie than I did in Pretty in Pink, but you're dead on that its essentially just a riff of Broderick's Ferris Bueller.

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