Tuesday, November 5, 2013

THE HORROR SHOW (Scream Factory Blu-ray) - The Unforgotten Shocker is in the House (part III)

While you weren’t paying attention, Wes Craven and Sean Cunningham had a battle using an electric chair and the most psychotic killers you can imagine come back from the dead, post-execution with senses of humor and debauch fully intact. Sean Cunningham put out The Horror Show aka House III in 1989 (though directed by James Isaac who is a star genre filmmaker in his own right). Wes Craven put out Shocker in 1989. Coincidence? I suppose it is. Both of these fellas worked on Last House on the Left and would later, independently create two of the most successful horror franchises of the 1980’s. It seems only fitting that some sort of fouled up mind-meld should see them create two visions of convicted killers still going strong in the afterlife, both a joy to watch and, unfortunately, one clearly more successful than the other. The Horror Show has been a buried film for some time. Fans have been eager for a release, and Scream Factory has answered their cries with an impressive disc that allows The Horror Show to attain the cult status over 20 years later; the same cult status enjoyed by Shocker when it was released.

Synopsis from Scream Factory

116 people are dead at the hands of Max Jenke 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 (can only begin to imagine the horror that awaits him and his family.


As House III

There is little not to enjoy in The Horror Show. Let’s start with the obvious. Lance Henriksen leads the charge to put big bad Max Jenke (Brion James) behind bars. By this point we’ve seen Henriksen become a cult movie star in his own right. Pumpkinhead and Aliens are perfect intros into his career (if not go watch Mansion of the Doomed that recently screened at Exhumed Films’ 24 Hour offering). He plays a bad ass cop with a big ol’ set of balls, a big ol’ heart and a loving family for whom he is afraid. Henriksen plays sympathetic well even when showing you that he won’t take any shit. Brion James is the next casting miracle. His role as Max Jenke is Freddy Kruger funny but with an added gore and perversity that the “gloved one” never quite had. He’s got a sneer that says, “laugh at me… I’ll let you… until you realize that I’ve removed your intestines and you’re eating them with sour kraut on a bun”. He’s greasy and grimy. The perfect maniac.

The gore and effects work is intense, pure KNB magic. Guts and gore from every corner in the style of the 80’s. That means think unrealistic, over the top effects pieces that are as much fun to look at as they are to squirm away from. One of the extras includes an interview with Kane Hodder who discusses the stunt work he did on the film. They hired the right guy because The Horror Show is a high powered, action packed show. Hodder is always a pleasure to listen to in interviews, wise and funny (as well as humble).

The Horror Show comes with the aforementioned interview with Hodder as well as an interview with actress, Rita Taggart who plays Henriksen’s wife. Sean Cunningham provides the commentary. Also included are the theatrical trailer and the original cover art with a nice reverse of one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Viva Death-a-thon! This is a Blu-ray/DVD combo back. 1080p Hi-Def on the Blu-ray in widescreen format with a DTS-HD audio. It’s a Scream Factory disc with enough extras to satisfy fans of this movie who have waited long enough to see a proper release.

The Horror Show is a movie that I’ve seen and enjoyed before, but somehow forgot that I had even seen it before. It played cable TV a long time ago from what I can remember. I’m glad to get the chance to see it in this beautiful transfer with these extras and fully appreciate it now. I’d recommend it to fans of Shocker who must see the Cunningham side of the coin as well as fans of gory good 80’s horror.

You can pre-order The Horror Show from Scream Factory NOW! Release


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