The Horror Show (1989)
Director: James Isaac
Bad teeth, goatee abusing and giggling whore serial killer Max “The Cleaver” Jenkins (James) is fried in the electric chair but comes back to haunt the cop (Henriksen) that sent him there and f*ck with his family.
Nothing worthy on the big screen these days so I decided to tackle an oldie, one I hadn't seen since its initial release. Am yapping about James Isaac's directorial debut THE HORROR SHOW (which was released as HOUSE 3 outside of North America, so when the real HOUSE 3 came out, they called it HOUSE 4 worldwide...). Now horror often works in trends and in the late 80s, early 90s, it was the “killer whacked but back for ghostly revenge thang that was hot. Am talking PRISON (1988), THE CHAIR (1988), SHOCKER (1989), and THE FIRST POWER (1990). FALLEN tried to give the premise a comeback in 1998, but the Box Office didn't agree with it, so that was that on that.
So yup, THE HORROR SHOW was one of those. I once was told that THE HORROR SHOW ripped off NIGHTMARE ELM STREET, so Wes Craven ripped off THE HORROR SHOW in return with SHOCKER. Not sure how much validity there is to that claim (both films came out the same year, which was the chicken and which was the egg, who knows); but I found it funny none the less hence the mention. So how did THE HORROR SHOW fare after all these years? Let me give ya one of my trains of thoughts reviews. Here's what went through my hollow melon as I clocked this bad ass!
-No meat grinder opening? Ah shit, I'm watching the cut version. NOTE: The MPAA went to town on The Horror Show for it to get an R. All kinds of great gore gags were chopped out…grrr… f*cking Nazis.
-Yeah I got 3 bucks and a quarter on the table that the black partner won't last too long.
-Why is he apologizing after getting both his arms chopped off? It's all good dude, you did your best, die with some dignity. LOL!
-And the Elm Street rips begin! Surreal dream sequence and even a haunted furnace that spits fire in the basement. Not too subtle there...
-Lance Henriksen is selling this shit like nobody’s business! Good for him! Happy that his Bishop role in Aliens (1986) opened up his casting to also play good guys.
-Any chance of Brian James being scary has been ruined by that asinine laugh he's overdoing. Hey at least its making me chuckle and he’s hamming it up like a champ so he's entertaining to watch...LOL!
-WTF is Lance's son in the film wearing? He looks like a chubby drag queen on too much LSD. Man peeps dressed like shit in the 80's.
-DeeDee Pfeiffer shower scene...DAMN! Now THAT'S a pair of titties!
-Am digging the gore in this flick (even in its cut form) and the mean streak it has (that rape scene was wrong) is rubbing me the right way...
-The practical effects are pretty f*cking tight here, even on a low budget...oh shit... was that his face on a turkey! DOPEEEE! Very Cronenberg (one of James Isaac's mentors BTW) meets The Thing. KNB was whooping that ass even back then!
-Sorry but peeps walking down blueish lit hallways for 5 minutes does not result in suspense. This is hurting the pace of the film.
-This one's keeping to the easy horror movie one-two: fake scare then real scare. Not helping the tension factor, too see through.
-The cinematography and visual style are mucho polished. I love the look of the movie! James Isaac was very confident with his first feature.
-Really man? That's how you explain the killer's powers? Lame! Just him being a ghost would have sufficed. You didn't need to go further that that.
-Am grooving on this score by Harry “Ki Ki Ki, Ma Ma Ma” Manfredini.
-Kind of a dumb way to wrap it up but hey had a good time with it all none the less.
Son a whole, THE HORROR SHOW made for a fun watch. Lance Henriksen held it together, Brion James spiced it up with his kooky show, the effects/gore were solid, visuals polished. Too bad the plot was meh, the Elm Street rips shameless and the tension bits so laggy that they killed any chance of tension ever happening. No masterpiece but a slick ride anyways!
Even this cut version went buck nuts on the red stuff; ripped off arms, severed heads, open chest, melted ear and more! I hear the uncut version is five times gorier.
T & A
Body double or not DeeDee Pfeiffer's shower scene was one for the books of boing! You see that ta-tas on that Panda! Niche! NOTE: DeeDee was in Playboy, I doubt it was a double. The chicks get a buff Eric Freeman look-alike shirtless.
If you were raised in the 80's THE HORROR SHOW will come with that oh so sweet nostalgic factor, the one that makes average films go down even better. Which is why I am giving it a 3 instead of the 2.5 it really deserves. Gotta love them 80's man! There was a purity in the horror then. On its own; the flick was entertaining, gory, deliciously cruel and it showcased two stand out shows by Lance Henriksen and Brion James. Too bad the Elm Street rips were a tad too blatant, that the plot was yawn and the tension bits even more tedious. I do think that every horror fan should see this at least once though; cause to some degree, it's one of them little diamonds in the rough. If you find the uncut version, TAP IT and...HOOK ME UP!
Producer Sean S. Cunningham, cinematographer Mac Ahlberg and composer Harry Manfredini also worked on the first two HOUSE movies.
Co Screenwriter Leslie Bohem also worked on Nightmare on Elm Street 5 which was also released in 1989.
Director David Blyth ( Death Warmed Up,1984), was replaced by James Isaac a couple of days into shooting.
Screenwriter Allyn Warner took an Alan Smithee credit on the flick. I checked her filmography; it’s the only flick of notice she ever wrote…