Monday, April 03, 2017

Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (1982)








DIRECTOR: Tommy Lee Wallace

WRITER: Tommy Lee Wallace

CAST:

Tom Atkins
Stacey Nelkin
Dan O'Herlihy
Michael Currie
Ralph Strait
Nancy Kyes
Al Berry
Jonathan Terry
Garn Stephens

PLOT:

When the Silver Shamrock Novelties company releases three new Halloween masks and runs a heavy television campaign before the latest Halloween season, kids from all over American rush out to get one of three new masks being sold. When a murder-suicide takes place at a local hospital, a doctor travels to Santa Mira, the home of the Silver Shamrock company and uncovers a much darker and sinister plan by the owner of Silver Shamrock Novelties.








As I sat down to watch Halloween III: Season Of The Witch, I came to the realisation that I had never actually seen this movie until now. When I started to get into horror cinema, I was well aware that the third Halloween film is probably the most divisive film in the franchise. I have always heard very mixed opinions about the film. Mainly, the opinions that I had read about the film is that as a Halloween sequel, this is as far removed from the franchise as possible and as a stand-alone film, this is an oddball and bonkers take on the spirit of Halloween as a holiday.


After viewing Halloween III: Season Of The Witch, I can now see why this sequel has divided audiences for over three decades. I can now understand opinions from both sides of the divide. I can only imagine what this would have been like for an audience member back when this was released in the eighties. You go into the movie that you believe is connected to the Halloween franchise and after viewing the film, you leave disappointed as this sequel is connected by way of name only. Hoping to see Michael Myers wreak havoc and there is no sight of him.

As a Halloween sequel, this will most likely disappoint Halloween fans who hope to see a continuation or end to the Laurie Strode and Michael Myers story. You'd have to wait twenty years to see that finally happen. Reading the trivia for HIII: Season Of The Witch, it was said that John Carpenter had hoped to make a Halloween themed horror movie every year and when this didn't light up the box office, he abandoned the entire idea. If you look at this film as some wild experiment, this actually works as some creepy tale about Halloween.


When I finished this movie, my first immediate thought was that this was like some ultra twisted version of a Goosebumps story. I also got hints of Willy Wonka with a dash of Toys. This story mixes witches, Science Fiction and an evil corporation who hopes to enslave children and cause as much death as humanly possible. It's a very messed up concept, and at times, I was actually left scratching my head at some of the scenes that happen in the film. When I mention the word bonkers, Halloween III: Season Of The Witch is exactly that. This feels much more ambitious and different, and I can't hate on it for trying to be a stand-alone vision.

In terms of being scary, I think this is the least scary of the Halloween films so far. If you removed the gore from this film, this would be a perfect episode of Goosebumps as I mentioned above. This feels like it could have been one of those dark films that Disney released during the eighties. They took risks and had you removed several of the violent scenes, this would probably fit in with those movies. This is more batshit crazy than it is scary. I never once felt like any of the scenes were overly intense. I think they tried, but for me, I was more gobsmacked at what I was watching.

I have to talk about the makeup effects and visuals in this film. With a movie that is heavier on the special effects and makeup work, I found myself enjoying this one a lot. A lot of the robot effects, the uses of the masks consuming children with pretty nasty results were great, the entire Stonehenge and the wildly supernatural themes going on in the film were a lot of fun. I think where I felt House III: The Horror Show was a completely dark departure for the House franchise, I think Halloween III gets it right. There is a lot of fun to be had with this film. While gruesome, it still retains that fun eighties aesthetic.

One thing that I enjoyed about the film was how the movie ended. It's a pretty dark one. When you believe that this character may have stopped an impending massacre, it ends on a note that hints that it may still be on the horizon. I thought that this was a neat way to end this movie. Also, we really need to talk about the theme song that repeatedly plays throughout the movie. It's going to be stuck in my head for the next month. It's so darn catchy that I kept humming it all the way through the film. I think that was the plan all along.

Lastly, we come to the acting. I thought the acting was pretty good in the film. This is held down by Tom Atkins who plays our lead doctor who uncovers the sinister plan. I know Tom Atkins from a lot of John Carpenter movies and My Bloody Valentine. So it was really fun to see him tackle something more bizarre like Halloween III: Season Of The Witch. I also liked seeing a small cameo from Nancy Kyes who had played Annie in Halloween, and it was great to see two scenes that feature the original Halloween on TV. Great to see them get Jamie Lee Curtis in there even if it feels just in spirit.







DEATH TOLL: 18

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A man punches a hole through a robots chest.
- A robot has its arm and head ripped off with a crowbar.
- A man is crushed between two cars.
- A man's nose and skull are pulled outward, breaking his facial bones.
- A rattlesnake bites a man and kills him.
- A woman is drilled through the temple.
- A woman dies of shock.
- A man pours petrol on himself, sets himself on fire and blows himself up.
- A kid dies and turns into a rotting pumpkin, bugs and snakes come out of his head.
- Someone's head is pulled off, blood squirts out of the neck wound.
- A woman's face and mouth are blown open by a laser.
- A bug crawls out of a woman's mouth.
- A group of men drop dead after being electrocuted.
- A man evaporates.







If you go into Halloween III: Season Of The Witch as a stand-alone film and not under the proviso that this is a Halloween film, you will likely enjoy this movie. It feels like a longer version of a Goosebumps episode to me. It's wildly ambitious and bonkers. The acting is decent, and it contains enough solid gore and creative special effects to keep me interested. Issues that I have with the film is that it simply isn't a Halloween film and being compared to the previous two entries, it falls just short of them. It's hard not to compare when you watch this one as part of this franchise.

3 comments:

  1. slasherlover5428 June 2017 at 18:27

    I thought this was the worst sequel of the lot.

    Like you mention, it's not halloween and even as a stand alone film, it feels stupid.

    If they would of wrapped up the story with a proper trlogy it would be much better.

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  2. This was a strange movie. I couldn't quite love it but I certainly didn't hate it either. It could have been a stand alone movie and it would have been better that way as the story was interesting enough. I liked the pumpkin masks that turned kids into mush. I did not really like the ending. If you go into this expecting Michael Myers, then you will be disappointed.Good review!!

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  3. It's definitely not connected to the franchise at all but I still liked it. I think if you know beforehand then you'll be alright. The Silver Shamrock song is a total earworm.

    I liken Season of The Witch to Friday The 13th Part V in that the franchise killers aren't actually in either film yet both films are part of the franchise and in retrospect, break up the continuity for the next start of the story to begin and the main story to find it's way back somehow. Easier to say years after it's release and I can definitely see that fans during it's original release would have been disappointed.

    Great review as always :)

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