For those familiar with the famed House franchise, you’ll be well aware that each of the four entries in the series are largely unrelated bar the fact that the action of each film centres around a mysterious creepy house. Well, each of the four entries bar House III, that is. And now, that third franchise entry is getting a new Blu-ray release from the fantastic crew over at Arrow Video.
Plot-wise, House III: The Horror Show revolves around a vicious serial killer and the detective on his trail. When Brion James’ ominously-named Meat Cleaver Max is finally brought down by Lance Henriksen’s Detective McCarthy, the crazed killer doesn’t even let a small matter like death stop him from continuing his bloody rampage. Despite meeting his maker courtesy of a stint in the electric chair, Max returns from the grave intent on piling up his body count and getting some brutal revenge on McCarthy.
Initially released in the US as simply The Horror Show – free from the ties of the House franchise name – the film has now taken its place as a straight-up part of the House series. Regardless of whether it’s in or out of the franchise, there’s no escaping the fact that House III is a stinker of a movie. Lance Henriksen does his best with what he has to work with, but you could put in an Oscar-worthy performance and still not make a smidge of difference to a film like House III. As for the rest of the cast, their performances range from excessively hammy to outright awful. One huge plus point, though, is the effects work on display. With greats such as Robert Kurtzman, Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger working their magic with the explosive and excessively graphic scenes dotted throughout The Horror Show, it’s this SFX work that is the hands-down best part of this threequel. As the old saying goes, however, you can’t polish a turd, and no matter how great the practical make-up and effects, there’s no dressing up just how disappointing a picture this is.
When it comes down to it, House III: The Horror Show is easily the weakest entry in the House franchise and sadly seems like nothing more than a desperate attempt to draw in an audience purely based on gore and profanities. Of course, here at STARBRUST we love us some bloodshed and we swear like a sailor for the most part, but House III just seems like excessive blood ‘n’ guts and strong language simply for shock value – ultimately feeling like a cheap gimmick to compensate for a poor story. And considering that the House franchise was built on family-friendly scares with a warm, humourous charm to them, The Horror Show just feels completely out of synch with the rest of the series. So much so, you almost wish the powers-that-be stuck to their original plan of releasing The Horror Show as a standalone picture not associated with the House franchise.
As for the special features included on this release, the major highlight is The Show Must Go On; an interview with legendary stuntman and franchise mainstay Kane Hodder. And in case you were wondering, yes, this release of House III: The Horror Show is the same Blu-ray that was included earlier this year in Arrow Video’s House: The Complete Collection boxset – just now, like the rest of the franchise, the film is getting a solo Blu-ray release.
Special Features: Audio commentary / Slaughter, Inc. featurette / Two interviews / Behind-the-scenes footage / Workprint footage / Trailer / Stills gallery
HOUSE III: THE HORROR SHOW / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JAMES ISAAC / SCREENPLAY: LESLIE BOHEM, ALLYN WARNER / STARRING: LANCE HENRIKSEN, BRION JAMES, RITA TAGGART, DEDEE PFEIFFER, ARON EISENBERG / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW