HOUSE WEEK DAY 3: House III: The Horror Show (Part of the House: The Collection box set) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots


Released by: Arrow Video

Release Date: April 28th, 1989 (Theatrical)
                        March 27, 2017 (Blu-ray)

Region Code: REGION FREE (Blu-ray)
                        REGION TWO (DVD)

Run Time: 1h 35m (European Version)
                    1h 34m (U.S. Version)

Audio: LPCM 2.0 (English)
             DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English)

Video: 1080p (1.85:1 Aspect Ratio) (Blu-ray)
            480p (1.85:1 Aspect Ratio) (DVD)


THE FEATURES ⭐⭐⭐

The Horror Show aka House III title card

The Show Must Go On (11m 8s, HD)

Here we have an interview with stuntman Kane Hodder. Hodder is one of the only people to work on all four House films and he brings a lot to the table. He was still starring as Jason in the Friday the 13th films as well as doing the stunts here. His big scene is a high fall that could have gone horribly wrong because of the way his body turned in mid-air. Hodder speaks very highly of his working relationship with producer Sean S. Cunningham. He also says that Brion James was his favorite actor to double because James had a lot of respect for stuntmen. This interview is from the Scream Factory version of The Horror Show.

House Mother (10m 54s, HD)

Here we have interview with actress Rita Taggart, who played Lance Henriksen’s wife in the film. She doesn’t really like horror films and took the role to work with Henriksen and ousted director David Blythe. She loved working with Henriksen, but said that after Blythe was fired the set became a lot less fun to work on. This interview is also from the Scream Factory version of The Horror Show.

Slaughter Inc. (16m 1s, HD)

This is the only new featurette on this disc and in involves KNB, who did the effects for the film. Robert Kurtzman, Greg Nicotero, and Howard Berger are on hand to talk about their experiences on the film. This is the first film that had a nice budget that KNB worked on. We also find out that this was really Kurtzman’s show as he took the head of the bigger effects in the film. We do get to see some nice behind the scenes footage, including footage from effects that didn’t make it into the film.

Behind-the-Scenes Footage (20m 57s, Upconverted HD)

This is video that the guys from KNB shot during the making of The Horror Show. We get to see how some of the effects were done, as well as seeing the effects as they happen. There is some comradery with the cast and crew and everyone looks like they are having fun, especially Brion James

Still Gallery (5m 19s, HD)

Photos from the film, behind the scenes photos, as well as different posters used for the film are shown while a song plays from the film.

Trailer (1m 31s, HD)

Audio Commentary with Sean S. Cunningham, moderated by Michael Flescher from Red Shirt Pictures

This is a pretty good commentary track. Flescher asks the question and Cunningham answers them. It seems like the two men like each other and they play off of one another very well. This track is miles better than the track on the House II disc.

THE PACKAGING ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Note: House III is part of House: The Complete Collection


This is the best of the commissioned artwork from the Collection
The front cover is a reversible cover, with the original theatrical post on one side and the newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn on the other. The new artwork is really nice and Mr. Osbourn should be commended for his work. The theatrical poster calls the film House III with no subtitle, while the Osbourn artwork has the “The Horror Show” subtitle.


The back cover gives up a synopsis of the film along with a listing of the special features.


There are two discs here: one blu-ray, one dvd and they both get some of the Osbourn artwork. The 
blu-ray gets Jenke and the DVD gets Henriksen,

The blu-ray is REGION FREE and the DVD is REGION TWO

THE PICTURE ⭐⭐⭐

I don't think that they can fit any more blood into that head

Both versions of the film come from the same source, but there is a slight difference in the picture. The European version has a nice level of grain to it, where are the U.S. version does not. Everything else is pretty good. This film is not a colorful film, but the transfer handles the darkness just fine. I do think that the film is not good looking in the first place, so anything done to the transfer is not going to help out in that area. There is also a softness to the picture that stems from how the film was shot. Overall, the transfer is as good as we are going to get.

THE SOUND ⭐⭐1/2

wow. Adults having a conversation in a 80's horror film. Unbelievable

The sound here is good, but not great. Dialogue is clean and clear and there are no distortions, but the film could have used a better track. The score comes through great, but there is no oomph to the track. While the track is good it could have been better.

THE FILM ⭐⭐


I think that there might be something wrong with the turkey

Let’s get this out of the way first: The Horror Show is NOT a House film. It was only named that in foreign markets because the House name still held water. There is no connection to any of the House films and just because a big chunk of the film takes place in a house, does not make it a House film.

That being said, The Horror Show is an ok film. The first thirty or so minutes are very strong, but the film gets lost in its own muddled screenplay. There is no history as to why Jenke is able to show up whenever he wants through electricity. That part of the film makes no sense. The rest of the film would have been a bit better if they had left out the electricity angle.

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?

This film is famous in the horror community for two things: pairing horror icons Lance Henriksen and Brion James together and the gore.

On the first note: Henriksen and James are both well known for playing the villain. In many of the films that James made in the late 80’s into the mid 90’s, he played the bad guy or a bad guy. Henriksen had more hero roles to his credit, but when he was allowed to play the bad guy, he would go for it with full gusto. Henriksen has a deep, grovely voice and James had the eyes of a mad man.
James has said that this is his favorite role and it shows. From the first time that we see him we know that this guy is not a guy to be messed with. One of the first things he does is he cuts his face with a meat cleaver resulting in a nasty scar. The electrocution scene is the best James scene in the film. They electrocute him, go to check to see if he is  dead, James looks up and says “All that did was give me a hard-on” the scene gets more intense until James breaks free of his shackles, starts on fire, and walks towards Henriksen before dying.

Henriksen dives into this role too, as a cop who is haunted by Jenke. This leads to some great scenes with Henriksen seeing things that he should know aren’t real, but buys into them anyway. One of these things is Jenke’s face in a turkey. It is one of the most bizarre things that I have ever seen in a mainstream film.

The second note is the gore. The Horror Show is very famous for having most of its gore trimmed from the film in order to secure an R-rating. Only a minute was cut out of the film, but watching both version back-to-back, you can see that the European cut is the way to go. The electrocution scene alone takes up most of the time cut and it shows. In the European cut, Jenke face and arms expand to horrific sights and his finger break open. I had not seen this version of the scene before, but I was taken aback by how violent it is. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a great scene, but I wasn’t expecting what I saw.

The rest of the film is a standard slasher film with Jenke showing up whenever he wants to so that he can kill whoever the film says he has to kill. The last hour is mostly confusing which leads to boredom because you give up trying to figure the film out. I wanted to like this film because of Henriksen and James, but I couldn’t. They bring their A-games to the film and the effects are amazing, but the film isn’t very good.

OVERALL ⭐⭐⭐

smoky scene in a horror film #5001


The Horror Show is not a great film, but it isn’t as bad as people say it is. The first thirty or so minutes are great and if the film stopped after the electrocution scene, then it would have been a nice short film for an anthology. The rest of the film isn’t all that great, but we do get to see Henriksen and James go at it, with James eating the scenery around him. The blu-ray from Arrow is pretty good as well. We get two cuts of the film, a small amount of pretty good special features, and A/V quality that could have been better, but also been a lot worse. I would say check this film out just for the acting and effects.
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