Escape from a Stamper
After going for a job as a secretary at the Stamper Oil Company, 23 year old Teresa Walden (Maria Pitillo - Flight of the Reindeer) meets the handsome Paul Stamper (Adam Storke - Death Becomes Her) who after a short while starts courting her which eventually leads to them getting married in a Las Vegas chapel. But soon after Teresa feels the full 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 troubles 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 subjected to the horrors of domestic abuse and, as the title suggests, 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 this a different tone. As such 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 "Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story" is the synopsis 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 learning that Paul gave her job away after they marry and then she was wise enough to recors death threats from him when she tries to leave him. Plus there is the drama which sees Paul end up in prison but escapes and uses a fake identity as he continues to terrorize Teresa. All of which leads to the police putting Paul Stamper's picture on the TV show "Unsolved Mysteries" leading to people calling in who recognize him but under a different name.
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 domestic abuse side of the story justice, the scenes featuring the abuse are disturbing 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 and not just 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 domestic abuse and shifts its focus on the husband being caught after he escapes from prison.