Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story (1995)
Escape from a Stamper
After going for a job as a secretary for the Stamper Oil Company, 23 year old Teresa Walden (Maria Pitillo - Godzilla) meets the handsome Paul Stamper (Adam Storke - Death Becomes Her) who after a short while starts courting her leading to them eventually getting married in a Las Vegas chapel. But soon after Teresa feels the force of Paul's violent side leading to her fleeing back home to her mum. Despite this Paul wins her back with a beautiful home and they have a daughter together. But once again Teresa feels the force of Paul's temper and jealousy after she learns that not only is he stealing parts from the people he fixes oil pumps for but is also doing drugs. After ending up in hospital Teresa files for divorce and a restraining order but that is just the start of her trouble as even when Paul ends up in prison he escapes and terrorizes his ex wife who has started to date an old friend.
When I sat down to watch "Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story" I guessed by the title that we were in true story territory and was expecting a gritty drama about a woman who was abused and escaped from that terror, her husband. But unlike other made for TV movies from the mid 90s which deal with the subject of domestic abuse this one is different as the story plays out in a different manner to the norm which gives it a different tone. As such and to review "Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story" properly I had better say spoiler alert because I will have to mention things I left out in the synopsis.
Now basically the first half of the movie is the synopsis I wrote as we watch Teresa fall for Paul, marry him and then after encountering his violent side escapes from him through the courts. But there is more to this than I mentioned with Teresa finding out Paul gives her job away after they marry and then recording death threats from him when she tries to leave him. Plus there is the drama which sees Paul end up behind bars and escape from prison where upon he takes up an alias but still terrorizes Teresa. All of which leads to the police putting Paul Stamper's picture on the TV show "Unsolved Mysteries" where people call in who recognize him as someone else.
As I said the way this story plays out turns "Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story" from being purely a movie about an abused wife to one about an abusive husband with a violent streak being caught after he escapes from prison. That doesn't mean it doesn't do the abuse side justice, the scenes where we witness Paul hitting Teresa are shocking due to their brief but violent nature but as I said it expands the story into something more, dare I say something which wants to be entertaining as well as hard hitting.
What this all boils down to is that "Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story" whilst based on a true story about an abused wife is different to other similar made for TV movies from the 90s due to the way the story expands beyond the abuse and veers towards entertainment.
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