Digi-Schlock: THE HORROR SHOW (Scream Factory Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack)

Now that it has established itself as a prime reissue label for genre cult favorites, Scream Factory has begun to dig deeper into the archives of the studios it works with and pick out titles that fans might not know about.  An interesting new example of this trend is their disc of The Horror Show, an oft-overlooked Sean Cunningham production.  Scream Factory’s new edition gives it a bump in A/V quality while also covering the interesting stories behind its conception.

Scream Factory’s new combo-pack edition offers an anamorphic transfer in both blu-ray and DVD formats.  The blu-ray was utilized for this review and it looks good, offering a much-needed boost in detail to Mac Ahlberg’s gauzy, distinctly late ’80s style of cinematography.  The original Dolby 2.0 stereo mix is used for this presentation and is presented in DTS lossless style on the blu-ray.  It’s a solid vintage stereo mix and the lossless treatment gives it a little added oomph, particularly during the scare setpieces.

HorShow-bluThe extras begin with a commentary featuring producer Sean Cunningham and moderator Michael Felsher.  It’s a relaxed but very informative track, showing off Felsher’s skill at creating a chatty rapport with his subjects.  Cunningham covers a lot of stories about the film: how it began as a House sequel, the firing of the film’s first director David Blyth and how a pseudonymous “Alan Smithee” credit ended up on the script. 

Felsher adds in some questions that get Cunningham to go off on interesting tangents, including his surprisingly measured and philosophical thoughts about how the film business needs the MPAA and how being pigeonholed as a genre filmmaker isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  He even reveals how he ended up directing Deep Star Six.

The disc also features two interview featurettes, both in the 11-minute range. “House Mother” inteviews star Rita Taggart, an actress not known for horror work who looks back at the film with a kind of bemused fondness.  She speaks frankly about the disappointment of losing David Blyth as a director and offers her thoughts on her fellow cast members, including a funny anecdote about Dedee Pfeiffer. 

“The Show Must Go On” focuses on the likeably unpretentious Kane Hodder, who coordinated the stunts for the film.  He offers cheerful appraisals of the cast and crew, details the particulars of his big stunts and reveals how he ironically got his biggest injury during the film off of the set.

The disc is rounded by the original theatrical trailer for the film.  It’s interesting in that it is built entirely around the character of Max Jenke, aggressively trying to sell him as the next Freddy or Jason (the narrator even mentions both by name).

The only thing missing from this set is the deleted FX footage that ended up in the overseas House 3 version of this film.  Some devotees will quibble about the lack of these bits but the extras included here still make this set worthwhile.  All in all, this special edition does well by the kind of forgotten major studio horror title that horror collectors obsess over.

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