Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Horror Show, The (1989)

...aka: Horror House
...aka: House III: The Horror Show

Directed by:
James Isaacs

Sadistic mass murderer Max Jenke (Brion James) decides to get even with Detective Lucas McCarthy (Lance Henriksen); the guy responsible for putting him away. The only catch is that Jenke is already dead, having somehow bypassed death row in an incredibly (and unrealistically) short amount of time and ushered straight on to the electric chair. Turns out that being dead can't even stop old Max as he lashes out at Lucas and his family from beyond the grave. James can be very good with the right material, such as his fun comic turn in the decent horror-comedy MOM (1990), but you won't believe his scenery-chewing overacting in this film. I don't really hold it against him since he's saddled with such pathetic "comic" one-liners. He's matched by awkward, uneven performances from most of the supporting cast, who are basically filling roles of very unpleasant and/or annoying stereotypes. Henriksen is the only person to really come out of this muck with dignity intact, somehow managing to make a strong impression as the haunted cop hero. That's really a testament to his talents as an actor, because you should hear the lines he's given and see the ridiculous situations he's put in to see what I'm talking about. And he does it all in such a professional, straight-faced manner that you've gotta admire the guy, even when he's appearing in junk like this.

Rita Taggart, Dedee Pfeiffer (Michelle's sister, who has a nude shower scene) and Aron Eisenberg (a strange-looking adult who usually played 11/12 year old boys and was also in AMITYVILLE 4 and PUPPET MASTER III) comprise the family. Also with Thom Bray as Henriksen's partner, Matt Clark as a doctor, Lewis Arquette (father of Patricia, David, etc.) as a police lieutenant and Terry Alexander (from DAY OF THE DEAD). Brief cameos by Lawrence Tierney as a prison warden and Alvy Moore as a chili salesman. In Europe, this was released as HOUSE III, although it has nothing to do with the other films in that series.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...