Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Horror Show (1989)

The HorrorShow was, in some parts of the world, released as House III - which is extremely stupid. Expect the producer Sean S. Cunningham they have nothing in common, except genre movies of course. What this movie is could be described as a better, for the time, film in the Nightmare on Elm Street-franchise. Like Shocker, this also managed to much more interesting and violent than the lazy sequels churned out from New Line Cinema.

Lance "The Man" Henriksen is Detective Lucas McCarthy who finally, finally after many years manages to catch the brutal serial killer Max Jenke (Brion James). Many lives has been lost and now's the time for Jenke to go to hell with the help of the electric chair. But Jenke has been a good boy and learned black magic - and suddenly he comes back as a demon killing everyone in his path to take revenge on McCarthy and his adorable all-American family!

The Horror Show is so much darker and violent than the Elm Street-movies from the same time, and maybe that plus the stupid title-change to House 3 scared away the horror-starving audience. I watched the R-rated version, and even this one is really violent and graphic with some fantastic and gory special effects that outdoes Mr Krueger in every way possible. It would have been very easy to make this a horror comedy, or include pointless one-liners, but The Horror Show is a nasty treat and much of the nastiness comes from the intensive performance by Brion James as Jenke.

Another fine reason to watch The Horror Show is the stellar performance by Lance Henriksen. First of all, he's a god damn powerhouse of acting and gives everything, at least at this time, in the parts he's playing. Here he's taking over the screen, from softer family moments to action and horror. It also strikes me what a body he has - up there with Charles Bronson, carved in stone and loaded with a very manly, but without being macho, energy. Watch out for the excellent Terry Alexander (Day of the Dead) in a smaller part as Henriksen's partner. But he's afro-American, shows up in the beginning and bites the dust faster than you can say "stereotypical ending for a black character". A pity.

The gore and Freddy Krueger-esque (for example the chicken/dinner-sequence) effects is very fine, but they are clearly shortened for this R-rated version (because obviously MPAA think us grown-up's can't handle rubbery effects and fantasy violence). The DVD I have is the Scandinavian release, but I'm gonna get myself the cheap Hollywood DVD release from the UK, still available and more complete.

The Horror Show is an underrated horror flick from the last trembling moments of the eighties, well worth seeking up for you who actually can ignore the incompetent review-ramblings of people who have no clue what they're doing. 

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