Halloween III: Season of the Witch

12/15/2016 16:25

Film: Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Year: 1982

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace

Writer: Tommy Lee Wallace

Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin and Dan O’Herlihy



This is an interesting film for me. I remember one October Directv doing a promo where you could purchase on pay-per-view old horror films for really cheap. My dad caved to my sister and I so we checked out this film. The problem though, we didn’t really care for it as we really wanted Michael Myers. Like many horror fans, the older I’ve gotten the more I really appreciate this film and realize, this is actually one of the best in the series. The synopsis is  kids all over America want Silver Shamrock masks for Halloween. Doctor Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) seeks to uncover a plot by Silver Shamrock owner Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy).

We kick off with Harry Grimbridge (Al Berry) as he is fleeing from someone. He gets attacked and the person is very strong. He is able to escape by pulling a block free and a car rolling into his attacker, pinning him to another vehicle. He ends up at a gas station where the man working takes him to the hospital.

It is here that he meets Dr. Challis. Harry wakes up and freaks when hearing the catchy Silver Shamrock commercials. He is giving a sedative. That night though, another attacker who looks like the previous one kills him in his sleep. Dr. Challis is trying to sleep when it happens and the screams of a nurse wake him up. He follows the attacker outside to watch him burn himself alive.

The next day Dr. Challis meets the daughter of the patient, Ellie (Stacey Nelkin). She is determined to figure out what happened to her father, which Dr. Challis is as well. Much to the anger of his ex-wife, Linda (Nancy Kyes), Dr. Challis runs off with Ellie to Santa Mira, the home of Silver Shamrock to look into what is going on. This leads them to a town that is ran by the company and its odd owner, Conal Cochran. Things aren’t as they seem and neither are his henchmen as they figure out what happened to Ellie’s father and what their real plans.

Clearly this film feels out of place now, but in reality creator John Carpenter really wanted to make Halloween actually into an anthology series, where each year would be a different film with its own story. Even though I didn’t like this film as a child, I have definitely come around to it as an adult.

Knowing how this film plays out, the structure is actually well done. Being that Conal is an Irishman and the town that he resides in being an Irish town as well, I like that incorporate Stonehedge into this film. On top of that, I never noticed that there’s a new story on television in the very beginning talking about a stone being stolen from it. I don’t find it plausible to move it across the ocean to California, but I will let that slide. I will give them credit to hearken back to something like this in the film. That’s just good writing.

It also has a weird way to kill people though, with these masks. I really like the concept though and it is actually very mean-spirited, as they are targeting kids. Something that struck me during the ‘test’ that is done on Buddy Kupfer (Ralph Strait) and his family, that it is targeting more of that, but I like that we never really get a reason why, aside from Stonehedge was used for sacrifices. The use of the robots is also interesting and believable enough. A lot of this goes to their acting, as they show no emotion as well.

The pacing of the film is really good. It has a normal running time and it never really falls into a lull in my opinion. I think that we get enough information as we go along so the deaths and this are really enough to hold your attention. I love the ending even though there are some issues. The first is that if they are doing this at 9 PM PST, which would make it midnight on the east coast. On top of that, when Dr. Challis is trying to get take down the feed, but I don’t think it works that way. One call to get it off all channels, but the 1980’s was a different time. It does give us a great last shot.

Acting for this film was really good as well. Atkins is great and this film he is at his best. He’s such a jerk and really neglectful to his family. It is hard to completely hate him, because of what he uncovers. I can see why he is divorced and his children are really the ones suffering, while he drinks too much and runs off with a much younger woman. I thought Nelkin was solid. I can’t fault her for wanting to find out what happened to her dad and she seems a bit too impulsive. O’Herlihy, is such a villain and I thought he played the role very well. It was fun to see Kyes and hearing the voice of Jamie Lee Curtis, both from the original Halloween. The rest of the cast round out the film for exactly what they needed.

The effects for this film were also really good. I think part of that is due to the era that the film came out, where everything was done practical. This one though doesn’t actually have a lot of effects in it. Killing some of the henchmen I thought was interesting. We do get some not great effects when it comes to energy from the masks and what is causing it. I didn’t really mind this. Overall I’d say the effects we get are solid.

Last thing I cover before wrapping this up would be the soundtrack of the film. Carpenter teams up with Alan Howarth and we get a great score. The musical cues in the film match up with things on screen and it is effective. This is actually a soundtrack I turn to when writing at times, which is something that is really impressive about this. One of the best parts of the film and really helps the overall atmosphere.

With that said, my rating is much higher than the first time I reviewed this film and it really is a film that keeps going up every time I see it. I think the overall story and tying in with history is really good. There are some missteps with the story, but that doesn’t really bother me. The acting is good and even though Dr. Challis is a scumbag, he is still great to me. The effects are solid and the pacing is good. The score is one of the best parts of the film and it really helps set the tone. This is a film that I’ve grown to really like and it is really good in my opinion. Would recommend just giving this a watch and ignoring that is part of a series that is somewhat meta actually.


My Rating: 9 out of 10