House III: The Horror Show comes with two versions on the same disc – a US Theatrical version (94 mins, 19 seconds) and an uncut European version (95 mins, 16 seconds). Since I’ve not seen either before, I watched the latter. Also, note that in Europe, the film was known as House III, but the US release was called The Horror Show, as both versions show here. That’s because the studio wanted to reboot the franchise.
Either way, you can’t say no to a Lance Henriksen movie!
He plays cop Lucas McCarthy, who’s just about to put down evil baddie Max Jenke (Brion James), who won’t go down without a fight in the electric chair, and promises “I’ll come back and fuck you up!”. This, of course, all sounds very implausible, but if it was, then it’d be a very short movie, and there’s still 3/4 of it to go at this point.
In this murder thriller, there’s a cast to die for (ahem). Not only have we got Henriksen and James, but his daughter Bonnie is played by the lovely Dedee Pfeiffer, in typical ’80s pop socks and curly hair (check out The All-Nighter for more, where she stars alongside Susanna Hoffs, while Reservoir Dogs‘ Joe, aka Lawrence Tierney, takes the brief role of the prison warden.
While House was played more for scare, and House II more for comedy, House III goes more for gore as Jenke likes to dispatch his victims with a surprisingly sharp meat cleaver. Sometimes he uses it to chop off someone’s arms! That said, it looks more like a flesh wound… 😉
There’s also some decent special effects in this, and while it’s never a great film, it’s always worth watching.
The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, and while it’s occasionally a little soft, for the majority, like the second movie, it looks pretty damn good.
The audio options include a new DTS HD-MA 5.1 soundtrack, but while Arrow have fixed the ‘wandering dialogue’ with this one, I struggled to tell any difference from a basic stereo soundtrack.
The extras are as follows:
- The Show Must Go On (11:08): There isn’t another big, long documentary this time, but they start with an interview with actor/stuntman Kane Hodder, who doubled for Brion James, also had a role in House II as the gorilla!
- House Mother (10:54): An interview with Rita McTaggart, who played Lucas’ wife, Donna. And I didn’t realise that the original director on this was fired.
- Slaughter, Inc. (16:01): Chat from special make-up effects guys Robert Kurtzman, Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger.
- Behind the scenes footage (20:57): A great selection of one-set footage during filming, including the mincer.
- Workprint trims (1:23): Work-in-progress with partial audio.
- Stills gallery (5:19): Pics aplenty with one approx every five seconds.
- Audio commentary: with producer Sean S Cunningham and DVD producer and filmmaker Michael Felcher. This is on both versions of the film, and I haven’t watched any more than a couple of minutes of either, so I don’t know if they reference certain points of one version at precise times.
And while I just received a check disc for this movie, the one you buy will also include a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn.
The main menu features a short piece of The Things I Have Done To Our Love by Gleaming Spires set to clips from the film, there’s a bog-standard 12 chapters and subtitles are in English… oh, and about those chapters, they’re set miles apart up until the point when there’s 10 minutes to go, and there’s 3 in quick succession! Come on, Arrow, if you can chapter the last few moments properly, you can do it for the rest!
Running time: 96 mins
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: December 11th 2017
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio
Widescreen: 1.85:1 (35 mm)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: James Isaac and David Blyth (fired, uncredited)
Producer: Sean S Cunningham
Screenplay: Leslie Bohem and Allyn Warner (as Alan Smithee)
Music: Harry Manfredini
Detective Lucas McCarthy: Lance Henriksen
Max Jenke: Brion James
Donna McCarthy: Rita Taggart
Bonnie McCarthy: Dedee Pfeiffer
Scott McCarthy: Aron Eisenberg
Peter Campbell: Thom Bray
Dr. Tower: Matt Clark
Vinnie: David Oliver
Casey: Terry Alexander
Lt. Miller: Lewis Arquette
Warden: Lawrence Tierney
Chili Salesman: Alvy Moore
Executioner: Zane W Levitt
Morgue Doctor: Stephen A Henry
Little Girl: Meshell Dillon
Tom Ippolito: Greg Finley
Delivery Man: Greg Kean
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.