54 user 71 critic

The Horror Show (1989)

R | | Horror | 28 April 1989 (USA)
Detective McCarthy finally catches "Meat Cleaver Max", a serial killer, who promises revenge during his execution. Nonetheless, a parapsychologist tells the detective that the only hope of stopping Max for good is to destroy his spirit.


James Isaac, David Blyth (uncredited)


Allyn Warner (as Alan Smithee), Leslie Bohem
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Lance Henriksen ... Detective Lucas McCarthy
Brion James ... Max Jenke
Rita Taggart ... Donna McCarthy
Dedee Pfeiffer ... Bonnie McCarthy
Aron Eisenberg ... Scott McCarthy
Thom Bray ... Peter Campbell
Matt Clark ... Dr. Tower
David Oliver ... Vinnie
Lewis Arquette ... Lt. Miller
Terry Alexander ... Casey
Armand Asselin Armand Asselin ... Escort guard
Robert V. Barron ... Death-a-Thon announcer
Bobby Collins Bobby Collins ... TV comedian
Meshell Dillon ... Little Girl
Greg Finley ... Tom Ippolito


Detective Lucas McCarthy finally apprehends "Meat Cleaver Max" and watches the electric chair execution from the audience. But killing Max Jenke only elevated him to another level of reality. Now Lucas' family is under attack, his sanity in question, and his house haunted. Aided by a disreputable college professor, can Lucas reclaim his mind, house, and family? Features Lance Henriksen as Lucas McCarthy and Brion James as Max Jenke. One of the few movies featuring these actors as main characters, if not the only one. Written by Matrix <matrix@rio.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Go to Hell. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The stand-up comedian the family is watching on TV is actual stand-up comedian, Bobby Collins. See more »


When Bonnie is taking a shower, an overhead shot shows that she has rinsed all of the lather out of her hair. However, the next shot from outside the shower curtain shows her with lather still in her hair. See more »


Max Jenke: [in a squeaky voice] Don't look now, but your family's dead... just kidding.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The U.S print was cut to receive an R-rating with edits to shots of severed legs in a meat grinder, Max's electrocution scene, the staircase fight and some bloody shootings. The UK Anchor Bay DVD (in the "House Collection" box set) featured the cut print though earlier UK video releases plus the Hollywood DVD budget release all feature the full unrated print. See more »


Referenced in Who Is Alan Smithee? (2002) See more »


The Things I Have Done To Our Love
Written by Leslie Bohem (as Les Bohem) and David Kendrick
Performed by Gleaming Spires
See more »

User Reviews

Great Lead Characters Makes the Film
6 September 2017 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Horror Show (1989)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Detective Lucas McCarthy (Lance Henriksen) finally manages to arrest the notorious serial killer known as Meat Cleaver Max (Brion James). However, at the electrocution, something goes wrong but finally Max is pronounced dead. This should be the end of Lucas but instead he becomes convinced that Max has somehow survived and is coming after his family.

THE HORROR SHOW, for some reason, got released in certain parts of the world as HOUSE III even though it has absolutely nothing to do with that series. I stayed away from this film for quite a while just thinking that it was some sort of cheap horror film but it actually turned out to be much better than I expected thanks to some good characters and some bloody effects.

I really thought the character development for the lead detective was quite good and Hendriksen is such a fine actor that even though this is a horror film you don't mind going along for the ride. I thought the screenplay was quite good, if cliché, and it managed to hold you attention through the various scenes where the lead character is basically questioning his own sanity. The detective character was a good one but so was the serial killer. He was certainly a demented character and after the opening sequence and a certain bit of violence, you know this guy is for real and a nut.

Both actors did a very good job with their roles and this certainly helps makes this a bit more than your average slasher. It also doesn't hurt that there are some very good special effects and especially if you're watching the uncut European version, which restores some of the gore that was cut out of the U.S. theatrical release. The film also offers up some nice cinematography and a good music score.

THE HORROR SHOW isn't a masterpiece but it's certainly much better than what you typically get with a film like this. The two lead performances really sell the story and this is very much worth watching.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 54 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

28 April 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

House III See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$773,348, 30 April 1989

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed