Home > Fantasy >

The Horror Show

The Horror Show (1989)

April. 28,1989
| Fantasy Horror Thriller

Vowing revenge on the detective who apprehended him, serial killer "Meat Cleaver" Max Jenke returns from beyond the grave to launch a whole new reign of terror.


Watch Trailer




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.


What a lame title. Seriously. This only promotes the next Nicholas Sparks movie to be named: The Sappy Love Story or Tyler Perry starring in Madea's Transgender Fight with Trump.This unofficial House Part III was such typical 80s horror VHS sequel, it's a shocker it went to the Silver Screen. Further, like the other horror flick, Ocra, I'm also shocked this didn't get sued for blatantly stealing from A Nightmare on Elm Street or the upcoming, at the time, Shocker, from producer Sean S. Cunningham's friend Wes Craven.I digress, this movie was okay and actually had its moments, but overall it was horribly miscast, from the Bishop lead to his horribly bland wife to his National Lampoon's Vacation kids to the "stupid-laugh" villain.Stepping back a bit. No offense against actress Rita Taggart who played our "hero's" wife, but damn, she was awful to look at in this movie. Not talking about her looks, but how bland she was and uninterested she looked to be in this feature. I'm sure Taggart went onto better projects, and hey! She appeared in Where the Bears Are! Good for her!I digress, again. Captured serial killer gets the electric chair only to return to haunt the family of the cop who brought him down. Sound familiar? Well, granted Shocker hadn't come out at the point of The Horror Show's release, but given this movie centers around a deceased serial killer who cuts open his victims and after death comes back via basement furnace to haunt teenagers and the final battle (spoiler, sorry) ends in a broiler room that eventually brings the killer back to the real world. Huh. I would think Sean's friend, Wes, would be a little less flattered and more egging to call his attorney back then. It's certainly not the worst movie I've seen, but at least it got the House series back to horror and an R-Rating. Even when the audience didn't know this was part of the House series.***Final thoughts: This is probably my first movie I've seen from the writer: Alan Smithee. Man, if we had internet back then, this Smithee thing would never have flown. (Too long of a story to explain. Look it up, you movie amateurs. Haha.)


First of all, this has been mentioned many a times before, but this film is not a part of "The House" series. I could go on explaining why, but just watch all four films and you will understand.This is a different movie in style and tone. It is very reminiscent of Wes Craven's Shocker (which was also made in 1989 and despite being a low-budget film itself is much better and more entertaining). Basically it is a horror thriller about a tough cop and a killer he wouldn't stay dead even after being executed. There is, of course, a professor with some totally stupid theory about how pure evil can be transformed to electricity and so electrocuting someone just makes them immortal and omnipotent ... you can clearly see the writers were pulling this plot point out of their asses. They simply saw "Shocker" and thought "Hey, this is a neat idea, let's use it in our movie". As the killer gets stronger, the cop's world start falling apart, he becomes the main suspect in the new killings, the usual clichés are thrown at us one at a time. You can even play the guessing game which one comes next.What bothered me the most were the constant flashbacks and nightmares. The film actually starts with a flashback in a dream that's really happening in another dream. Wrap your head around that one.What are really liked about it were the two main actors Lance Henriksen and Brion James. It was fun to watch them as they are both talented actors and were great in their roles. The rest of the cast is OK, even though forgettable.So, did I like the film? Yes, I did. It was fun to watch (if you can look past its flaws and plot holes). It's not a part of House trilogy and is a story of its own. Take it for what it is and you too can spend enjoyable 90 minutes.


Director James Issac who also created another classic flick, Pig Hunt 2008 has created another gem in The Horror Show.Starring Lance Henriksen who has also been in other classic flicks, Bone Dry 2007, Abominable 2006, AVP: Alien vs. Predator 2004, One Point O 2004, Mimic: Sentinel 2003, Dead Man 1995, Hard Target 1993, Stone Cold 1991, Hit List 1989, Pumpkinhead 1988, Near Dark 1987, Aliens 1986, The Terminator 1984, The Right Stuff 1983 and Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977.Also starring Brion James who has also been in other classic flicks, The Underground 1997, Steel Frontier 1995, Nemesis 1992, Silverado 1985, Blade Runner 1982 and Southern Comfort 1981.Also starring Rita Taggart.I enjoyed the special effects.If you enjoyed this as much as I did then check out other classic haunted house flicks, Amityville II: The Possession 1982, Amityville 1992: It's About Time 1992, The Amityville Horror 2005, Dead Birds 2004, The Haunting 1963, The City of the Dead 1960, House 1986, Insidious 2010, The Legend of Hell House 1973, The Conjuring 2013, Insidious: Chapter 2 2013, Insidious: Chapter 3 2015, Housebound 2014, The Conjuring 2 2016, The Pact 2012 and Poltergeist 1982.