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Reviews & Ratings for
The Horror Show More at IMDbPro »

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:


Author: Prolox from Canada
3 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this third instalment to the HOUSE series, LUCAS McCARTHY (LANCE HENRIKSEN) is trying to get on with his life after capturing vicious mass murder MAX JENKE (played with sadistic glee by the late BRION JAMES) who butchered 115 people, including his partner & a young girl he sees beheaded by Jenke, when he tries to save her from the killer. Jenke is given the death penalty & at his at execution, the killer swears he'll come back to tear McCarthy's life apart. Despite the extreme difficulties in executing him (they have to turn the voltage up as high as it can go, to the point it literally cooks the maniac before he dies) it looks like the terror is over & the detective can move on with his life. However after the execution, he is persuaded by an expert of the occult, who says Jenke is not dead & will return. McCarthy shrugs it off at first, but is soon plagued by demonic visions of Jenke's spirit taunting him. Jenke's mass murder spree is just beginning, returning as a malevolent spirit that surges through electrical equipment. Jenke swears vengeance on the detective who brought him in. Soon McCarthy is being blamed for the vicious killing spree, as he attempts to clear his name, save his family & stop Jenke's reign of terror. I highly enjoyed THE HORROR SHOW (HOUSE III) It was such a fun little horror film. My introduction to the film came by accident. For years despite having seen HOUSE I, II & IV in every video store I could never find Part III, much less a film review of it in any reference guide. Years later, while thumbing through an old video guide book, I found out the film was named THE HORROR SHOW in Canada & U.S & re-named HOUSE III in other countries, supposedly to avoid confusion with another film bearing THE HORROR SHOW title. when it came time to film the real HOUSE III, the true sequel to the first film, the film-maker's had to re-title it as the fourth film, to then avoid confusion of giving countries outside the states & Canada another HOUSE III. THE HORROR SHOW was never meant as a sequel to the HOUSE series & none of this surprising, since the HOUSE III (as it's now being re-titled as) bears no resemblance to the other films. The previous two & unrelated sequel to follow this, were a series of rubbery monster effects, ghosts & slapstick humour, none of these are prevalent here, since HOUSE III is a dead serious horror film produced by SEAN CUNNINGHAM (producer of the previous two & fourth films) & made as a rip-off of his pal WES CRAVEN'S SHOCKER that was set to be released at the same time. THE FIRST POWER was also being made in the hopes to not only start another horror franchise, but also to cash in on what Hollywood thought was going to be a big hit. What came as a "shocker" to Hollywood is the fact that Craven's film came & went from theatres & THE FIRST POWER & THE HORROR SHOW didn't fare any better either & any plans for a new franchise with either three of these new movie monsters went down the drain. To be honest (& this is just my opinion) I thought out of all the rip-offs Cunningham has done of better movies, THE HORROR SHOW arguably turned out to be better than SHOCKER. In fact it's arguably the better film of the HOUSE series! The performances by the actors are great, the special effects pretty gruelling, with hacked off limbs & heads, blood & guts shot all over the place, turkey monsters, & a killer emerging from inside Michelle Pfeiffers sister DEDEE stomach (I guess Max is not a fan of the Pfeiffers) etc. all courtesy of K.N.B. & the villain is more terrifying than Craven's killer, with the late BRION JAMES really making Max Jenke a far more horrifying fiend to deal with than a Freddy Kruger or Horace Pinker (SHOCKER). The direction although credited to the late JIM ISAAC (JASON X) is pretty decent, but noticeably the direction differs in areas & that is because the film was originally halfway into film-ming when the original & uncredited director David BLYTHE was jettisoned. Since Thankfully it doesn't weigh the film down as is the case with many films this happens to. Since the film remains a fun & gruelling ride for horror fans through out, while SHOCKER opted for more optical & computer effects (though it did have it's fair share of gore as well) SHOCKER discards those & decides to get it's hands good & bloody with a series of vicious killings. Since A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET served as the basis of Craven's SHOCKER, it comes to no surprise THE HORROR SHOW shares many of the same elements. In fact one could argue that although it's a rip-off of SHOCKER, it could be Cunningham's own take on A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Since the film bares some strong similarities, such as the killers connection to the protagonist, the killer turning up in visions had by the lead character & in the main character's nightmares, inflicting wounds in their dreams that appear on their skin in the waking world etc. In the end THE HORROR SHOW (Or as I call it HOUSE III) is a really fun horror movie that horror fans just have to see, true some of it's plot points may get a tad silly, but it's made with heart & the villain is pretty fun to watch & you really feel for the characters since they are not only well written but acted to & hope they make it through the terror. Highly recommended. Followed by the unrelated HOUSE IV.

**** stars

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

This flick is great!

Author: 2kilo7 from Canada
17 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I remember seeing this movie when I was a about 15 and it was great. A lot of people are taking this movie too seriously, stuff like "it has nothing to do with the other house movies" Who cares? Shut your brain off for about 90 minutes and enjoy. You can't go wrong with Lance Hendrikson and Brion James! Spending time fighting over house movies, give me a break. It kind of makes me feel better about my Startrek fetish. Ha Ha Ha Ha! Seriously the part when McCarthy and Jenke are in the car and McCarthy says "I really f!&%ed you up didn't I" and Jenke says back "thats right!" I don't care what anybody says that moment is hilarious. If you have the chance to see this movie do it! If you do not like it you will never have to watch it again and likely will not have the chance anyway. Hopefully some company will put out a DVD release of this some time they may be pleasantly surprised how well it would sell!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

No Spoilers- Just Kudos

Author: Tom D Backman ( from Hollywood, California, USA
14 October 2008

I just learned (reading these IMDb reviews) that this is a supposed "House" iteration... I never would have guessed it- In fact, I've been a fan of this film for years, and never even considered it had anything to do with the "House" films (I've only seen the US release, which is NOT titled 'House III', obviously)- Lance Henrickson is his usual, intense, (in my opinion, Excellent) self, we see a young Dedee Pfiefer being, well, herself- and Brion James at his most foreboding since 'Leon' in Bladerunner... (not going to talk about Tango & Cash here...). As for the 'Shocker' similarities- check the dates... this one came out first- Because of this, (all deference to Mitch Pileggi, of whom I'm also a big fan) I've always felt that Shocker was the rip-off, of a MUCH more intense and, pardon the pun, Shocking film... (I was really surprised to see a "Smithee" attached to this film anywhere- my guess is... politics. But hey, that's Hollyweird for ya). Yup, there's gore, and oh yeah- swearing galore, but this movie is one I look forward to dusting off every October, as my "must watch list" approaches "psycho-killer week"... (quick plug here- if you haven't decided whether or not to watch "Behind the Mask- The Rise of Leslie Vernon"- do yourself a Big favor, and check it out- it defies classification; funny, sharp, and actually Scary!).

If you're looking for a horror movie that may make you wince (talking about Horror Show)- this one could be a winner for you- It certainly is for me.

TDB in Hollywood

Quick P.S.- Fans of Lance- If Vampire movies are more your speed, a MUST-See is "Near Dark"- Honestly one of the Coolest Fang-pics I've ever seen... Happy Haunting!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

House III: The Horror Show

Author: Rautus from United Kingdom
12 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In America this film is just called The Horror Show but because the makers of House did this film the title was changed to House III: The Horror Show in the UK and Austraila, although it isn't a true sequel to House it is actually a great entertaining movie. Although it is more serious it does have a few humorous scenes like the turkey and the T.V show. The acting is great especially from the two leads, Lance Henriksen and Brion James.

The film sees Detective Lucas McCarthy (Lance Henriksen) catching Max Jenke (Brion James), a psychopathic killer who has murders people with his meat clever, that's why people call him Meat Cleaver Max. Lucas keeps having nightmares about him so he wants to go to his execution so he's nightmares can end, but during the electrocution he's still alive and tells Lucas that he'll tear his world apart then Max is dead. A scientist who knows about Max checks his body then a electric surge happens and Max's soul goes to Lucas's house and goes into the furness, Lucas thinks it's all over but soon Max starts haunting him and changing his reality making him see thinks that are not really happening and causing Lucas to question his sanity, soon the scientist meets with Lucas and explains to him that Max has been electrocuted himself so he becomes more immune to the electric chair, and with the electric energy he can bend our realty and the only way to bring him into our realty is to electrocute him with enough power he'll be forced into our world. So Lucas needs to find Max and stop him before he gets him and his family.

The Horror Show or House III: The Horror Show is a great horror film. Check it out. 10/10

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Not the best, but not the worst

Author: ( from Yucaipa, CA
24 February 2000

I waited a long time to see a third House movie, and once I heard it was called The Horror Show, I had to rent it. The Horror Show is a pretty cool film.True it has no relation to House, but neither did the second, or fourth ones, and they were still good. Brian James makes a great bad guy.Good story, and o.k. acting.*** out of *****.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Ding, dong, you're dead... from swearing and cursing.

Author: questclub from Riga, Latvia
16 November 2004

And once again I'll promote the first (and the very best) House: Ding, Ding. You're Dead. Go, see my review on it.

So, The Horror Show, as many call it, is different from other three House creations. Some even claim, that initially it wasn't created as a part of the whole series. And I might as well agree with them.

First of all, I need to warn you. The Horror Show characters use an unrealistic amount of swearwords. They swear and curse on every single occasion. So the movie resembles a mess of dirty dialogue, soft but scary horror and some grotesque humour - quite well put together.

The main characters - a good guy - cop Luke - and a bad guy - serial killer Jenke. This Jenke gets electrocuted and his bloodthirsty spirit travels to an oven in the basement of Luke's house. And here we go.

The movie's intense. It doesn't let you go till the very end. It would have been a classic if not for unnecessary swearing, horrible acting and lack of chop-chop violence.

Overall, this is not a bad movie. It doesn't have the charm of the first episode, but it is not as hopeless as the other two episodes. So, if you need a midnight movie, then this mild snack might be for you.

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House III: The Horror Show

Author: Phil Hubbs from UK
12 February 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Originally this wasn't anything to do with the 'House' horror franchise so I've read. It seems the same crew made this film but it was an independent horror flick, I'm not really sure why they gave it the title 'House III', confusing and odd state of affairs.

Anyway this film doesn't revolve around a haunted house but mainly a serial killer in the form of Brion James. Horror/sci-fi legend Lance Henriksen is the cop who captures Jenke but when he gets electrocuted in the chair it seems to zap him into another dimension or reality where he can continue his killing ways much like Freddy Krueger.

This film did in fact come out in the same year as Craven thriller 'Shocker' and the results are suspiciously the same I must say. It seems director Isaac may have borrowed a few elements from Craven's world for this film.

The first 'House' film was a horror thriller with slight comedy, the second film was a horror comedy adventure, now this third film is a straight horror thriller. Its not terrifying or particularly original (as I have mentioned) but its not for the younger audience and does include some gore. The sequence where Jenke is executed is easily the most horrific moment with some vain popping effects that remind you of 'Scanners' and make you wince at the same time. There are some good body part moments also that are kind hokey but add to the atmosphere.

The film is totally saved by James as the killer Jenke and Henriksen as the cop, if it wasn't for these two top actors the film would be pants. James hams it up hugely but does come across as menacing despite his annoying laugh, while Henriksen's lean greyhound like physic and face always seems to fit any role.

This still feels like a TV movie of sorts for some reason, doesn't have that true film like quality if that makes any sense. Its not a bad film either, not scary despite more blood and gore than the previous films, but more towards plain silly with enjoyable moments. I guess one of the funniest things is seeing Henriksen giving his all (as he always does) despite being cast in such an average forgettable film. Its still solid stuff if your a horror fan.


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Nowhere near as entertaining as I remember it being

Author: ersinkdotcom from United States
13 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although "The Horror Show" was marketed outside of the U.S. as a sequel to the "House" movies, it has nothing to do with either of the previous entries in the series. The only thing in common with those two is the movie's production crew and the fact that it's about a house in which supernatural happenings occur. There are a few unintentionally hilarious parts to be found in the film, but overall it's a mess that really comes unraveled in the end.

After seemingly dying in the electric chair, mass murderer Max Jenke (Brion James) returns from the dead seeking revenge on the detective who captured him, Lucas McCarthy (Lance Henriksen). The killer is now in spirit form and able to manifest himself anywhere he pleases. He begins terrorizing McCarthy's family with every intention of killing them one by one. The desperate McCarthy must find a way to put a stop to Jenke's bloody trail of retribution.

"The Horror Show" is rated R for violence, gore, adult situations, nudity, and language. It's pretty much par for the course when it comes to horror movies of the 1980s and 1990s. I'm positive it was mandatory to have at least one nude scene in all of these types of films during that era.

There are those who say it's all about the journey and not where you're going. If that's a mantra you live by, "The Horror Show" may be worth a watch for you. I would like to mention that throughout the film, Lance Henriksen and Brion James do pour their hearts into their respective roles. All I can say is it's nowhere near as entertaining as I remember it being when I first saw it on cable back in the day. I'm rather lenient when it comes to my horror and slasher films, but this was a bigger mess than I'm able to make excuses for and just accept.

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The first of 1989's "Crazy Killer Survives the Chair" movies

Author: FilmFatale from Carnival of Souls-ville
9 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Detective Lucas McCarthy finally catches crazy killer Max Jenke, putting an end to his bloody reign of terror. Lucas goes to watch Jenke's execution and is shocked to see Jenke withstand multiple electrocutions. Finally, he does die but swears revenge on Lucas before he goes. Jenke's spirit takes flight and apparently ends up in the furnace in the basement of McCarthy's home. A few murders are committed and McCarthy is blamed for one, McCarthy's family is threatened, and it all leads to an electrifying final showdown between McCarthy and Jenke.

I don't hate The Horror Show, but it never seems to really come together. Brion James is clearly having a ball, and it's always nice to see Lance Henriksen as a good guy. There's also some decent gore and I like the idea that the McCarthy family both genuinely seems to love AND like one another. Also, considering the history of this film and Wes Craven's Shocker (from October of 1989, about 6 months after this one), I was surprised to find The Horror Show felt more like a Craven flick with its weird lighting and animated turkey and dreamy quality. I need to revisit Shocker to compare and contrast.

All in all, The Horror Show (known as House III in some markets, but having nothing plot-wise to do with the House franchise) isn't a movie I'd go out of my way to watch again, but I wouldn't dash for the remote should I stumble across it in the future.

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Author: wildatart78 from United Kingdom
20 October 2012

I got this when i was eleven, and being a kid who loved freddy, jason etc i was always on the look out for another similar villain to get my teeth into, and for me, max jenke delivered. Around the same time, horace pinker came into play with 'shocker', and although good in his own way, the movie became a little too silly with the jumping in and out of TV shows. The two movies were almost the same story, but in max there was a much more evil guy, almost made for brion james, and if it wasn't tied in with the 'house' films i believe it would have had more impact. Bottom line is, if you enjoyed 'shocker' i doubt very much this would disappoint.

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