Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Rare Flix: House III- The Horror Show

Oh, the Horror!  After a couple of years away, I finally watched the third film in the House series.  Why so long?  No reason, really.  I added House III to my Instant Queue a long time ago...but just never watched it. All of a sudden, a bunch of my film options were about to expire, including this one.  I said 'Well, I've got two days to watch this crap.  Which is the most important?"  I chose this one- as opposed to Panga or Terrorvision-, so let's see how good my judgement call is?  House III is not actually House III- it's just The Horror Show.  However, the film was marketed overseas as such and the next *actual* sequel was forced to be called House IV.  So while it may not be House III, the next film is still House IV.  If this one doesn't count, is House III in the same boat as Leonard: Parts 1-5?  What is the film about?  Well, a guy is terrorized in his House- hence the title- by the ghost of a killer that he caught and get sent to 'the chair.'  No, this isn't Shocker.  Both films were released in the same year and both did not exactly set the world on fire financially.  However, this film *technically* had a Sequel, allowing it to best its rival.  I can't tell you which is better until I actually see Shocker- which should happen soon enough.  Until then, let's see if this Lance Henriksen 'sequel' to a film he wasn't in is better than The Mangler 2, Mimic III or Damien: The Omen II.  We're setting the bar nice and low here, so let's see if he can limbo under it...
As the film opens with fake home movies of Lance and company, we see the first warning sign: this writing credit...
I soldiered on anyhow and we see a man named Max Jenke (pronounced like the singular form of that Scooby-Doo catchphrase) has killed a bunch of people.  Thanks to some confusing transitions and use of dreams, we're not sure what is happening.  This is especially true...
...when the man appears in bed dressed as Lance's wife.  Ew.
As it turns out, *most* of what Lance dreamed was true.  The man is sent to 'the chair,' but doesn't go down his easy.  Seriously, this dude defies all of the laws of nature here...but he's only just gotten started.
Thanks to, um, being evil or something, his spirit leaves his dead body and begins to make our hero think he's crazy.  Cue a whole slew of Freddy Kreuger-style actions like this weird sight gag below.

Just to note: Shocker is the one made by Wes Craven.  This film is just ripping him off...while he may or may not be ripping them off.  Confused?
The Police think that the daughter's boyfriend was killed by Lance since his body was found in the basement.

I should also mention that the guy is tricked and killed just like in Amityville 1992, which would come later.  I mention that since the son was in Amityville the same year as this film.  Weird.
After a lot of weird visuals and fake-outs, he attacks the family directly...with illusions.  I get that you like making crazy visuals, but some real things happening would be nice.
On the plus side, this guy's head blows up.  That's one thing off of the check list.
In The End, the villain is beaten when his spirit is zapped with a dream world and his real body is shot to death.  I guess a man's corpse suddenly re-appearing clears you...although he is dead again.

The film ends with the missing cat being found and this freeze frame.  We aren't really going to have TWO Aron Eisenberg films about ghosts in houses end with the 'evil cat' bit are we?  Really?!?
For a Horror Show, I wasn't that bothered.  The film is kind of a mixed bag, to be honest.  What makes it interesting is often what causes the problems with it too.  The crazy visuals and tricks are interesting.  You see stuff like that guy's head explode, a decapitated head cry out and a serial killer's face on a cooked turkey.  The problem is that the drama is really hurt by this.  While Elm Street balanced these out a bit, this film just goes full-tilt crazy with them.  I didn't hate them- I just didn't feel much for the drama either.  The film is also full of little things that are either not explained properly or just feel silly.  In one scene, ghost Jenke shows up in the Interrogation Room and splits the table.  When the Cops come by later, the table is broken in two still and NOBODY asks Lance what happened to it!  Do you guys not see that?!?  There's also a weird sub-plot involving the son making fake complaints to get paid off in free samples.  Where does that go?  Nowhere.  What does it lead to?  Nothing.  Why.  Is.  That.  Here?!?  The film does have a great villain, even if his motivations are nothing more than 'Me be evil' and his powers come, being really evil.  Hopefully Shocker explains this shit, since this film didn't.  The late James Isaac made a really neat-looking film...but it's easy to see why it never quite made the most lasting impression.  Take us away, thing that makes this REALLY House III...
Next up, a film for everyone that liked The Omen, but wished that it was also The China Syndrome.  For all three of you, I've got the film for you!

1 comment:

  1. Silly flick, about as pointless as the annoying Shocker.

    The advertising for this movie was insane, at least here in Austria. I remember huge "House III" posters and flyers in two of our local rental stores back in the days.