The Horror Show (1989/Blu-ray+DVD Combo/Scream Factory)

From what I have gathered this film was lumped into the House franchise. Luckily in the United States it was released under the title The Horror Show because aside from the supernatural aspect this is nothing like the first two House films. The one thing I remember best is the VHS cover, aside from that I don't think I ever had a chance to watch this film before. One thing I can say is where has this film been all my life and why did I ever pass it up on my hundreds of trips to the rental store while growing up. Let this autopsy begin!

116 people are dead at the hands of Max Jenke (Brion James Blade Runner, Crimewave) and his trusty meat cleaver. Now, justice is about to be served as Jenke is sentenced to the electric chair. But from the first high voltage blast, it becomes clear that Max is no ordinary serial killer. With a blood-chilling laugh from the depths of hell, Max enters our world, transformed into a supernatural force by the high-voltage blast of electricity. Max vows revenge on the cop who captured him. Well-aware of the maniacal killer’s passion to destroy, Detective Lucas McCarthy (Lance Henriksen Pumpkinhead, Aliens) can only begin to imagine the horror that awaits him and his family.
I have seen a couple of films in which this type of scenario happens, those films are "Shocker" and "Ghost In The Machine".  Shocker was pretty much a rip-off of The Horror Show and really is no where near as good when it comes to the story or the characters. Ghost In The Machine basically is quite a bit different, but does stand up on it's own and is a good film. Now when it comes to The Horror Show they did an amazing job with bringing a damn good film together. There is alot of elements that this film has that keeps it entertaining and fresh throughout. The best part for me besides the over the top and insane moments when Lucas keeps seeing Max after he dies and becomes a supernatural force is the characters and cast.
The two characters that just steal the show and every scene that they are in are none other than twisted serial killer Max Janke who is played the very talented Brion James and detective Lucas McCarthy who is played by none other than iconic actor Lance Henriksen. These two paired up against one another is by far one of the best rivalries I have seen in a horror film in quite some time. The characters feed off one another as well as the actors know how to take their characters into something more than just stereotypical cop and villain. Brion James who I remember first seeing in Enemy Mine when I was a kid does a phenomenal job at playing a very sadistic psychopath and he even takes it up and notch and I think if it came to it could of give Freddy Kruger a run for his money. Lance  Henriksen I actually first saw back when he played as the father in Pumpkinhead and from there he continued to impress me the more I seen him on screen.
Really when it comes to the characters those two are the ones that really do stand out the most, but that is not to say that I didn't like the rest of Lucas' family or any of the other characters because I did. Now some of those characters did seem to be kinda stereotypical, but that was fine because when it comes down to it this film really is based around the cat and mouse game between Max and Lucas. Like I mentioned before that this was lumped into the House series of films and was made by the same people who did those films and after looking at it I can say that in ways it doesn't fit too bad in this series if you look at it from a certain stand point. If you have seen the first House film it follows a writer who is haunted by his past and must face a supernatural force in order for him to save his son and his sanity. If you go by that then The Horror Show works fine as a sequel in ways.
Another thing that stands out as well to me was the amazing special effects that they used. From the gore to the bizarre appearances by Max. When Max gets out his meat cleaver and hacks at his victims lets just say the blood flies and the gore shines. There is one scene that I loved when Lucas is carving a turkey and it starts to change and it has Max's head on it and it speaks to him, that just reminds me of a Freddy moments, but it is done with some bad ass practical effects. Despite having some great special effects this film does have some great suspense and twists that when you take all that I have mentioned and mix it together you get one hell of a fun and great film.
If you are looking to watch a film that is unique, entertaining, and is a lost gem in the horror genre then look no further and pick The Horror Show up! One last thing I want to talk about is the presentation and special features. The presentation looks excellent and is more than an upgrade from your old worn out VHS tape. The picture is clear and the detail is high and best of all it's not destroyed by DNR or edge enhancement. Now for those who absolutely need to have a 5.1 HD MA soundtrack well I am sorry to say that all you get here is a DTS-HD Stereo MA. I think the audio is very clear and damn good. As for the extras you get interviews with stuntman/actor Kane Hodder as well as one with actress Rita Taggart. Also there is a theatrical trailer. Even though there is not a tone of special features that doesn't bother me at all when it comes to how awesome the film that you get is!

-Daniel "Damnation" Lee

Director: James Isaac
Lead Actor/Actress: Brion James & Lance Henriksen
Genre: Horror
Blu-ray Release Year: 2013
Theatrical Release Year: 1989
Time Length: 95 mins.
Rating: R
Region Code: Region 1 & A
Release Company: Scream Factory
Website: www.shoutfactory.com