The Horror Show

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The Horror Show
The Horror Show poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Isaac
David Blyth (fired; uncredited)
Produced by Sean S. Cunningham
Written by Allyn Warner (as Alan Smithee)
Leslie Bohem
Music by Harry Manfredini
Cinematography Mac Ahlberg
Edited by Edward Anton
Sean S. Cunningham Films
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
28 April 1989
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,738,897 (USA)

The Horror Show (also released as House III: The Horror Show and La Casa 7)[1] is a 1989 supernatural horror film starring Lance Henriksen and Brion James. Although marketed as a sequel to the film House for the non-US market, its connection to the other House films is limited to the crew it shares (producer Sean S. Cunningham, cinematographer Mac Ahlberg and composer Harry Manfredini, among others) and the premise of a killer haunting a house. The third "true" House film was named House IV in reference to the existence of this film. A similar movie called Shocker was released in October of 1989, when this was released in April 1989. The plot points of both movies are almost identical, including a serial killer, execution via electric chair, and said killer making a deal with the Devil. Shocker later became a cult classic. Kane Hodder was the stunt coordinator on the film.


Detective Lucas McCarthy (Lance Henriksen) finally catches the serial killer named "Meat Cleaver Max" (Brion James) who killed over 100 people and watches his execution. McCarthy and the others watching the execution are shocked to see the electric chair send enough voltage through him to physically burn Max's body before finally dying. Max, however, has made a deal with the devil in order to return from the grave and frame Lucas for a series of grisly murders. He also scares the McCarthy family (who have moved into a new house) and the parapsychologist they hire. Lucas' only hope of stopping Max for good is to destroy his spirit before Max destroys his life and family.


  • Tom Bray as Peter Campbell

Missing Gore Scenes[edit]

The movie was heavily cut for R rating. Not only that some scenes were cut down but also some scenes were removed completely to avoid getting X rating by the MPAA. Although there is a European version which includes some extra gore and violent scenes, the full uncut version was never released. Some stills show some scenes which were deleted and not included in any version of the movie; Bonnie's birthday scene where blood spills out of her birthday cake, scene showing Bonnie's dead boyfriend being torn in half, and scene where Lucas pulls his chest open and then his heart is shown. [2]

Critical reception[edit]

Critical reception for The Horror Show was overwhelmingly negative and the movie holds a rating of 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 7 reviews.[3] Noted film critic Roger Ebert gave the film one out of four stars.[4] The New York Times wrote, "The Horror Show builds up a good head of suspense, then squanders it in mechanical, poorly staged splatter."[5] AllMovie wrote, "this film consists of long periods of tedium punctuated by outbursts of graphic gore and surreal effects."[6] John Kenneth Muir also panned the film overall, stating that it was "one of those horror movies where the missed potential just cannot escape notice" and that it was also too similar to Wes Craven's Shocker, which released that same year.[7]


  • The film was released theatrically on April 28, 1989 and first released on VHS later that same year in November.
  • Originally released on VHS with its sequel, House IV on September 1, 1998, the film has been out of print for several years.
  • Scream Factory released the film in a Blu-ray and DVD combo pack on November 26, 2013.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ J.C. Maçek III (2013-04-26). "Books of the Dead: The Followers and Clones of 'The Evil Dead'". PopMatters. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "The Horror Show (House 3) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (28 April 1989). "Horror Show :: :: Reviews". Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Holden, Stephen (29 April 1989). "The Horror Show". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Binion, Cavett. "The Horror Show (1989) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Muir, John Kenneth (2012). Horror Films of the 1980s. McFarland. pp. 741–742. ISBN 0786472987. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 

External links[edit]