While The Horror Show is not exactly a sequel to House or House II: The Second Story, it was marketed internationally outside the United States as House III: The Horror Show. Sequel or not, The Horror Show had nothing to do whatsoever with those previously mentioned movies and would be a film unto itself. In fact, though the setting would primarily be in a house, it was not the house that was haunted, but the family that lived there. As for why it is mentioned as a part of the franchise was probably due to financial reasons at the time and now, years later, it remains so.
The story concerns a cop named Lucas as played by Lance Henriksen. He has finally caught an infamous serial killer who has plagued him for quite some time and he is only too happy to see the man executed for his crimes. As Max Jenke is being electrocuted, he swears revenge upon Lucas from beyond the grave, not only on Lucas, but his family as well. Not long after as Max does indeed do what he promised, Lucas thinks himself going crazy until he can no longer refute the fact and has to face the man, or ghost, once again.
Bringing a dead man back to life required a few special effects and for the most part, they worked extremely well. Though the film was not especially scary, there was at least one gruesome, though dramatic moment where Lucas’ daughter would seem to have some sort of creature within her stomach trying to break free, which would then be revealed to be Max himself. Though frightening as it was, the standout scene of the entire affair which would really showcase the best effects of the picture would take place during the first act of the film where Max is electrocuted, and it would take more than the required amount to take the man down. Sadly, the movie would draw comparisons to Wes Craven’s picture Shocker, released the very same year. There is much that is similar between the two, whether by chance or done so purposely and it took a lot of wind out of this film’s sails when released. Suffice it to say, if you simply judged this feature on its own merits, it is not all that bad and tends to be more of a thriller than a horror, though horror it is.
Making it all worthwhile is Henriksen who can make any film worth watching and the truly animated performance of Brion James. There are a couple of moments where the two might overdo it a little, but who is to say how a person would act when faced with the ire of a literal dead man. Once it is all said and done, there is that realization that the house has ultimately nothing to do with anything, so why try and tie it into the series at all? That being said while The Horror Show was not the best movie ever made, it was at the very least, a fun experience.
3 out of 5