So when I was doing my reviews for House and House II: The Second Story, I learned that there were 2 more sequels that I had never seen before. Now obviously this just wouldn’t do and, since I enjoyed the first two movies so much, I decided to track down and buy these two movies. Thanks to Ebay, I found them and managed to buy them so I started looking into the movies themselves and learned that today’s movie is actually a sequel in name only, which is a bit of a disappointment. Hopefully I can put that aside as I watch today’s movie, House III: The Horror Show.
The plot: Detective Lucas McCarthy and his family are videotaping a family cookout to send to the kids’ grandmother. That night, Lucas is woken up by a noise and starts checking out the house, eventually making his way to the basement, where he sees flames billowing up from the furnace. As he stares into the flames, he flashes back to the night he and his partner Casey arrive at the place where a patrol car spotted a serial killer known as Meat Cleaver Max. Not seeing the officers waiting for them, Lucas and Casey split up, with Lucas checking the diner while Casey checks out a warehouse. Lucas finds the bodies of the officers and tries to warn Casey but when he gets no response, he heads to the warehouse and finds Casey’s mutilated body. Looking through the warehouse, Lucas finds Max holding a girl hostage and when Lucas drops his gun in exchange for the girl’s life, Max cuts her head off and throws it to him. Lucas wakes up from the nightmare he was having only to find that he was choking his wife Donna. In the morning, Lucas get’s ready to go see Max’s execution and Donna questions why he was going, considering what happened the night before. When Lucas arrives at the prison, he is interviewed by some of the reporters outside but only gives a few answers before walking inside. When Max is placed in the chair, he tells Lucas he is glad he showed up. After being given his last rites, the switch is thrown and Max is electrocuted but he doesn’t die so they increase the voltage. As his body starts to catch fire from the voltage, Max breaks free from his restraints and approaches Lucas, where he says that he is coming back for him, before he drops dead onto the floor. After the body is taken away, Peter Campbell, a discredited professor that attended the execution, heads down to the morgue to check the body and witnesses Max’s spirit leave his body and enter the electrical outlet. Meanwhile, Lucas is talking to the police therapist about getting reinstated to the force and when he leaves, he finds Peter waiting by his car, warning him about Max coming back for him but Lucas dismisses him. Back at the McCarthy house, Donna chastises their son Scott for scamming companies into giving him free stuff, then gets ready to go to dinner with Lucas. Meanwhile, their daughter Bonnie goes down into the basement to look for a dress and is surprised that her boyfriend Vinnie is hiding there, as he was supposed to show up after her parents left. The two kiss for a few minutes and then Bonnie heads back upstairs when her mom calls her. Lucas is making his way back home when he keeps having flashbacks to when he caught Max, nearly causing him to wreck. As he catches his breath on the side of the road, he sees Max sitting in the car next to him, taunting him. Back at the house, Vinnie hears Bonnie teasing him and convincing him to start taking his clothes off but when he does, Max appears, speaking in Bonnie’s voice, and kills him, then hides the body when Bonnie comes downstairs. Later that night, when everyone is asleep, Bonnie gets Scott to help her find Vinnie but they hide when they see Lucas head to the basement. In the basement, Lucas hears Max’s voice coming from the furnace, taunting him about Bonnie and yells at him to stay away from her. Bonnie and Scott hear his yelling and think that he found Vinnie but when they question him about who he was talking to, he says that nobody was there. Lucas continues to have visions of Max taunting him, which causes a strain with his family, with Donna considering leaving him after he shoots the TV. Lucas talks to the police therapist about what is happening but he is unable to help him. Lucas heads to Max’s apartment and looks around only to be surprised by Peter, who tries to convince him to let him help. When Lucas gets frustrated with him, Peter points out that Max had made an electric chair and was testing himself with it in order to build up a resistance to being electrocuted. At the McCarthy house, Bonnie receives a call from Vinnie saying that he left his wallet on the furnace and asks her to grab it but when she heads into the basement, she finds Vinnie’s body. Lucas returns home to find the place surrounded by cops and when he sees Vinnie’s body being carried out, goes in to check on his family only for Donna to tell him to stay away. Lucas tells his family that he didn’t do this as he is taken away by the police, where an Internal Affairs officer starts questioning him about the murder. Back at Max’s apartment, Peter is dictating his theories about Max into a micro-recorder when Max appears and tells him that his theory is flawed, before killing him. Back at the McCarthy house, Scott is listening to music in his bed when he sees something approaching, Bonnie receives a disturbing phone call then gets attacked when she is in the shower while Donna sees the ghost of the girl Max killed and follows it into the kitchen, where she sees her holding their dead cat, before she is grabbed by Max. Back at the police station, Lucas is told that Peter is dead and he knocks at his friend and leaves the station. When he returns home, he calls out for his family and sees Scott dead in his bed, while Bonnie is screaming out as Max appears in her pregnant body, while Lucas feels the wound he received from Max reopen. Trying to pull himself back together, Lucas heads to the basement and sees another vision of his kids, who say that Max has their mom, and Lucas promises them that he will get their mom back. Lucas winds up in the diner, where he sees Peter’s head and Peter tells him to use electricity to bring Max back to life so that Lucas can kill him. Lucas then sees Max dragging Donna into the warehouse and he follows them there where he fights with Max and manages to rescue Donna. Telling Donna to follow him, they head to the power plant and start the generators and when Max attacks them, he gets caught in the cables and Lucas pins him there while Donna holds a live wire to Max. The three wind up back in Lucas’ living room, and since Max is no physical again, Lucas is able to shoot him, emptying his clip into Max before using the last one to shoot him in the mouth. Some time later, the McCarthy’s have sold their house and as they are packing up, a van arrives with a 5 year supply of chili that Scott had scammed out of the company, while Bonnie finds the family cat, who had been hiding in a box, and Donna takes a picture of the family.
House III: The Horror Show was absolutely panned by the critics, holding a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics all seemed to feel that the movie had potential but simply squandered it too badly. While there isn’t any story related connection to the previous movies, there is a physical one as several of the crew from the previous movies did work on this movie, such as producer Sean S. Cunningham. The movie was somewhat of a dud at the box office, earning a little over $1.7 million at the box office.
Yeh, this was a bit of a disappointment. The acting was stiff and somewhat unemotional from the majority of characters, except for Brion James, who did a pretty good job as Max. I will admit that the story was interesting, but I liked the idea of a serial killer being electrocuted and coming back as a vengeful ghost a lot better when it was called Shocker, which is funny because that movie came out after today’s movie. The special effects weren’t that bad, actually a lot better than what I expected given some of the critics’ reviews, but they really couldn’t do much to help this movie. As far as horror movies go, this isn’t that bad but it could have been a lot better.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5