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SEPTEMBER 22, 2014

HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982)

HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH, or as most people know it, “The one without Michael Myers,” isn’t as bad as you might think. Bordering on bat-shit crazy, it plays more like a lost Quatermass film than a third installment of what was hopefully going to be a killer horror franchise. 


The story behind the film is almost as interesting. So let’s address the elephant in the room. Why no Michael Myers? 


Well, according to the supplemental materials on the blu-ray, the original intention of the HALLOWEEN series was to tell different horror stories each year that centered on the theme of All Hallows Eve. Not prepared for how successful the first HALLOWEEN was, the producers were forced to continue the Michael Myers story-line, killing him off in the 2nd film. Now that they were done with The Shape, they could carry on with their original intent. 


Unfortunately for fans, HALLOWEEN became synonymous with Michael Myers and it was a lost cause from the inception leaving most viewers scratching their collective heads. They probably should have just released it as SEASON OF THE WITCH and it might have faired better, but I guess we will never know. 


But let’s get to the actual film. 


A psychotic mask manufacturer, Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy) has concocted a plan to kill children on Halloween with specialty masks that, if I understand it correctly, suck some kind of life force from the victims to help power an ancient Stonehenge pillar. As long as the children wear one of these masks during a special TV broadcast they are dead meat… or more like snakes and bugs. 


Dr. Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) finds out about the scheme and does his darnedest to stop the madman. But Cochran has an army of robotic henchmen to do his bidding and ensure that the plan to kill the children goes off without a hitch. 


It’s pretty bizarre, but you know, it works in a pseudo sci-fi/horror/pagan fantasy way. The film certainly looks great with Dean Cundey once again lensing the film in glorious widescreen. Also the actors are committed and sure take the film seriously, which gives it a better sense of dread then you might expect from this loony material. 


When I was younger, I REALLY didn’t like HALLOWEEN III for the obvious reasons, but now that I understand more about the rationale behind it, I’ve come to appreciate it more than I thought. It’s not a great movie, but it’s certainly moody and atmospheric and has its goofy charm. At least they attempted to do something different and I have to give them points for the effort.