Notorious as the HALLOWEEN film without Michael Myers, HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH bombed on its initial release and was unfairly criticized simply because it tried to do something different. The movie is far from perfect, but it’s a fine horror film and certainly worth a look.
But why didn’t the movie continue the financially successful model of the first two films?
Believe it or not, the reason was cleverer than you would think. As originally conceived, the HALLOWEEN franchise would use the holiday as a jumping off point to tell different stories each October that celebrate the spirit of the festival. Unfortunately, the Producers didn’t fully appreciate how intrinsic Michael Myers was to the franchise and how angered the fans would be when he didn’t appear in the 3rd installment.
It’s interesting to speculate how HALLOWEEN III would have been perceived if it was simply released as its own film called SEASON OF THE WITCH because having the baggage of HALLOWEEN III killed the movie more viciously than Michael Myers ever could have himself.
The plot concerns Silver Shamrock Novelties, a popular Halloween mask company that has cornered the market on creepy costumes for the upcoming holiday. But they have nefarious plans for the children, one that involves witchcraft and a stolen rock from Stonehenge itself. It’s up to Dr. Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) and Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin) to expose Silver Shamrock’s CEO Conal Cochran’s (Dan O’Herlihy) dastardly plan before it’s too late.
More of a sci-fi/horror hybrid, it plays more like INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS or a QUATERMASS film than a stalk and slash movie. Nigel Kneale, the creator of the Quatermass books, evidently wrote the first draft of HALLOWEEN III but had his work greatly changed and didn’t receive screen credit for his services. That was a fact I was not aware of until I watched the fascinating and revealing “making of” documentary on the SCREAM Factory’s recent “Collector’s Edition” Blu-Ray release.
HALLOWEEN III is far from great, but it is fun and if you are a horror fan, it’s interesting to watch one of the greatest missteps in horror history. But give it a chance, you might be surprised…oh and have a “Happy, happy Halloween” courtesy of Silver Shamrock.

DECEMBER 5, 2013


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