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The Horror Show(1989)
Detective Lucas McCarthy finally apprehends "Meat Cleaver Max" and watches the electric chair execution from the audience. But killing Max Jenke only elevated him to another level of reality. Now Lucas' family is under attack, his sanity in question, and his house haunted. Aided by a disreputable college professor, can Lucas reclaim his mind, house, and family?
For more about The Horror Show and the The Horror Show Blu-ray release, see the The Horror Show Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on December 12, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Starring: Lance Henriksen, Brion James, Dedee Pfeiffer, Aron Eisenberg, Lawrence Tierney, Terry Alexander
Director: James Isaac
» See full cast & crew
The Horror Show Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, December 12, 2013
Lance Henriksen and Brion James are two of the most intense actors of the past several decades, and one would think that a pairing of the two in a horror film would make for viscerally exciting entertainment. Something went seriously off the rails (or, considering the film's emphasis on electricity, perhaps it's better to say off the third rail) with this kind of tepid shocker (pun intended) dealing with a mass murderer who manages to morph into pure eeeevil energy after he's consigned to the electric chair. Two well known horror maestros actually trafficked in much the same material in 1989. Wes Craven came up with Shocker while Sean S. Cunningham, known for his hand in the original Friday the 13th, predated Craven's effort by a few months with The Horror Show. Both of these films are rightly considered low points for their various "creatives", and it would be a tough call to conclusively decide which is worse.
Henriksen plays no nonsense cop Lucas McCarthy, who has spent untold time trying to bring a vicious serial killer charmingly nicknamed "Meat Cleaver" Max Jenke (Brion James) to justice. Unfortunately for McCarthy, Max has figured out a way to cheat death—kind of. His electricity-based spirit manages to continue to wreak havoc on McCarthy and his family, as the film trundles (incredibly slowly) to the expected final showdown. The Horror Story is almost perplexingly unscary most of the time, with not even much in the way of jump cuts and loud sound effects to create any putative sweaty palms and raised blood pressure. The only thing shocking about The Horror Show is that it got made at all.
The Horror Show Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Horror Show is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Scream Factory, an imprint of Shout! Factory, with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1. This is a rare misfire by Shout!, which has done generally stellar work with any number of cult items over the past couple of years. Undoubtedly some of what troubles this transfer is inherent in the elements— things like scratches and other damage—but there are also compression artifacts as well as what I would term an overly processed looking image. Contrast and black levels are spotty at best (see screenshot 2), and fine detail rarely rises much above minimally acceptable levels, though occasionally in extreme close-ups finally registers relatively well (again, see screenshot 2). The general softness here is attributable to the source elements, but while this high definition presentation isn't horrible, it's also not very good.
The Horror Show Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Horror Show's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix is a much better experience than the generally lackluster looking video element. Dialogue is cleanly presented and the film's score also sounds fine. The mix isn't quite as bombastic as some horror films tend to be, and that ironically may help this relatively narrow affair to sound better.
The Horror Show Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Horror Show Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A lot of the recent glut of Scream Factory offerings have been decided cult items with at least a modicum of a following. I'd be truly surprised if there were many people who even remember The Horror Show, let alone want to own it. The video quality here is a letdown, at least when compared to other Scream Factory outings, but the audio and the Cunningham commentary and interviews help to at least partially make up for that. The film is frankly a mess.
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The Horror Show Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Horror Show Coming to Blu-ray in November - July 12, 2013
Scream Factory, the horror-thriller offshoot of independent film distributor Shout Factory, has revealed that it will release a combo pack edition of director James Isaac's The Horror Show (1989), starring Lance Henriksen, Brion James, and Rita Taggart. The release ...
The Horror Show Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
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