Drive-In Review: THE HORROR SHOW (1989)

Are you ready for a show? A Horror show? We knew you would be and boy howdy do we have a beauty. Scream Factory has done it again by giving us a sleek new transfer for this Lance Henriksen starring scare flick, The Horror Show. Dig the review below and pass the popcorn.

the-horror-show-blu-ray-sThe Horror Show (1989)

Director: James Isaac

Starring: Lance Henriksen, Brion James, Aaron Eisenberg and Rita Taggart

Format: Blu-Ray

MPAA Rating: R

Runtime: 95min

Distributed By: Scream Factory


Most serial killers spend years in prison after being apprehended and never see the electric chair, or even lethal injection for their crimes. Some say, this is a fate worse than death but if you’re serial killer “Meat Clever” Max Jenke you welcome the chair.  Did we mention that he made a deal with the devil to get the cop who put him there? Yeah, The Horror Show brings all that craziness to the screen.


Also known in foreign territories as the third entry in the House franchise, The Horror Show charts the exploits of Max (played by the creepy James), a near superhuman murderer brought down by Detective Lucas McCarthy (Henriksen). After getting zapped to death in Ol’ Sparky (it takes a few good jolts to put him down too), McCarthy moves on with his life, settling down in a new house with his wife Donna (Taggart), daughter Bonnie (Pfeiffer), and son Scott (Eisenberg). Before too long, strange events begin to plague the home while a series of brutal murders crop up – murders which will eventually be pinned to McCarthy. You see, Max has returned from the grave to wreak havoc on McCarthy’s life, and will stop at nothing to tear his world, his family, and his very sanity apart. Dun Dun DUNNNNN!

Henriksen makes the most of his otherwise two-dimensional character, James hams it up while managing to remain menacing, and the rest of the cast members do solid enough work to support the film. However, though the setup is intriguing enough, the film eventually becomes an incoherent collection of effects-driven setpieces by its final act, leading to a finale that’s as nonsensical as it is enjoyable. But hey, we dig it.


Isaac’s direction in the film keeps it moving along at a brisk pace, and there are plenty of interesting moments throughout.(Isaac’s sadly passed away in 2012)

Drive-In Totals

10 Dead Bodies

Gun Fu

Machete Fu

Meat Clever Fu

Electric Chair Fu



And a Turkey dinner scene that will have you double checking your next Thanksgiving meal.


Scream Factory has done right by this film with its Blu-ray/DVD combo pack release. In addition to the Blu’s decent image (some occasional softness and print damage can be noticed) and solid 2.0 audio track, we get a good collection of bonus features that look back on the making of the film.

Included on the Blu are: an audio commentary featuring Show producer Sean S. Cunningham (he of Friday the 13th fame), moderated by Red Shirt’s Michael Felsher; a fun interview with Kane Hodder, who acted as the film’s stunt coordinator (he has a great story about locking eyes with Henriksen during a take – all while engulfed in flames); and an interview with Rita Taggart, who provides some fun anecdotes from the film’s making. The package is wrapped up with the theatrical trailer, which is a great, silly blast (”If you thought Freddy was a howl, and Jason was a scream, wait ‘til you meet Max – he’s a cut above the rest!” – down right hilarious!).


Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with Producer Sean S. Cunningham
  • Interview with Stunt Coordinator Kane Hodder
  • Interview with Actress Rita Taggart
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Horror Show won’t be on everyone’s list of classic horror but it is a fun 80’s popcorn flick and a must for fans of that style.

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