Around certain holidays I feel the need to do a holiday-themed review to celebrate. Since Halloween is right around the corner I figured I would cover Halloween III: Season of the Witch. The Halloween franchise has eight films total, Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), Halloween H2O: 20 Years Later (1998) and Halloween: Resurrection (2002). Then there was the Rob Zombie versions, Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009). Now, there’s even another Halloween film in the works that is a reboot and is set to hit theaters October 19th, 2018.
So, as you can see the Halloween films have been apart of the horror genre for a seriously long time. Unfortunately, like a lot of franchises, not every movie has been a good one. Out of all the films, I’d have to say Halloween III: Season of the Witch is my least favorite. Not because the story was bad, but because it didn’t have anything to do with Michael Myers. There I was all geared up to watch Michael Myers do his slow walk down slasherville lane and yet I found myself halfway through Halloween III with no Michael Myers insight!?! People are dying… not by Michael Myers’s hands? Credits are rolling (?) and there I sat, my little horror heartbroken. Yeah yeah I know, people still died and fear had swept the land, but I never got my slow walk down slasherville lane because… it had nothing to do with Myers!
Halloween III: Season of the Witch was written and directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. It’s rated R for violence and language, has a ninety-eight-minute runtime and is tagged as a horror/mystery/sci-fi film. The storyline goes a little something like this… The big thing every kid wants this Halloween is one of the Silver Shamrock masks. There are three different masks to choose from, a skeleton, a witch and a pumpkin. One night a man comes into Dr. Daniel Challis’s emergency room, clutching one of the masks in his hands, with a warning of “They’ll kill us all!” they figured the man must be out of his head. The mystery about the man only gets worse after he’s killed by a well-dressed stranger in his hospital room. That man’s death puts Dr. Challis on a path where he discovers a plot involving the masks that could kill thousands of kids, if not more unless he can stop it…
Halloween III, storywise, is a stand-alone film in the series of Halloween movies. It has absolutely nothing to do with the whole Michael Myers storyline. Halloween III kind of makes the movie feel like it’s taking place in an alternate Halloween universe. Because at one point someone is watching television and a Halloween movie is playing. Yep, for a split second, on the tv, we see Myers walking down some stairs and later we see Laurie Strode walking… that’s the most connection three has with the rest of the franchise. Taking Halloween III out of the franchise for a second. I liked the idea of the story. It was cool to see something different and Halloween III definitely had an interesting story with the whole mystery behind the masks thing. I think slapping the Halloween title on it kind of hurt the movie in the long run because people hold the “not a Michael Myers movie” against it. When it does deserve some respect for the imagination of the story. Now, would it have made it to cult status in the horror genre on its own? No. It has one big memorable scene that has stuck with everyone that has seen it, but that’s about it.
The playthrough was ok, but for a movie that runs for an hour and thirty-eight-minutes, it felt shorter when watching it. The quick pace of the movie is set right from the opening and it doesn’t slow down till the credits hit. There are moments during the movie that were cool to watch, but the way the story unfolds creates some questions that never get answered. Plus I have to say the final showdown with the big evil was rather quick and disappointing.
Some of the cast is Tom Atkins (The Fog), Stacey Nelkin (Going Ape!), Wendy Wessberg (The Greatest American Hero) Ralph Strait (The Beastmaster), Jadeen Barbor (Baretta), Brad Schacter (Fear) and Dan O’Herlihy (Robocop).Out of everyone in the cast, only two people really stand out and that’s Tom Atkins and Dan O’Herlihy. Atkins is one of my favorites and has been in a ton of killer films like Night of the Creeps, Creepshow, and Lethal Weapon. I think O’Herlihy is a great actor and he’s been in a bunch of films, but my favorite role of his was in The Last Starfighter. Now, I’m not knocking the rest of the cast, they do a good job, but it’s Atkins and O’Herlihy that really bring the talent to Halloween III.
I thought the special effects looked good for the time period. None of the scenes every really hit “gory” horror film moments like we see in a lot of in today’s horror. It’s more the old eighties gore. The most you see is a guy put his fingers into another mans eye socks, which the camera is blocked by the hands, watery blood runs down the guys face as they struggle followed by squishy sounds. Then the camera catches the kill moment. Other than that, most of the movie is built on jump scares and “lives in danger” high tension moments.
Sidenote: There is one more thread, besides the movie playing on the television, that Halloween III shares with the franchise and that’s Jamie Lee Curtis. She appears in the film or I should say her voice does as the curfew announcer and the telephone operator but is not credited for it in the cast line-up. Including the voice work, Curtis has been a part of seven out of the eight (original) Halloween movies.
Overall, if you are an OCD film watcher like me, then you’ll make your way through this one just to get to the fourth movie, but if you can skip movies without a care then feel free to jump over this one and move on.