I am sorry. I was wrong about you and I apologize. I was young and stupid and I ask for your eternal forgiveness.
This is my confession as a 32-year old man who for years was part of an angry hateful mob towards 1982’s Halloween III: Season Of The Witch. In my DVD collection, I own every Halloween film except for part three. Like many other horror fans, I whined and complained due to the lack of Michael Myers. Friends and I rejoiced to watch Halloween 4-7, reveling as our pale-faced slasher hero killed dozens of youngsters.
But the years have mellowed me. Thus my confession: Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the best Halloween movie since John Carpenter‘s 1978 original classic. Yeah, I said it! Now I submit to the internet the evidence”¦
1) The film was made by the Halloween family. Produced by Carpenter and Debra Hill, directed by Halloween editor and Michael Myers portrayer Tommy Lee Wallace, and starring Carpenter go-to-guy and horror veteran Tom Atkins, the film even throws Michael in as the original is shown on television two different times.
2) As some still don’t know and continue to argue, Michael Myers was supposed to have died during the climatic explosion that ends Halloween II. This film was supposed to be the beginning of an anthology of individual and totally separate Halloween-themed films that would be released year after year. Unfortunately the venomous feedback received from fans after the lack of Myers cancelled that idea, and six years later against Carpenter’s better judgment, Myers was brought back.
3) The music in SOTW is simply great and perfect for the theme of the film. Carpenter again scored the film and the incorporation of the Silver Shamrock commercial theme recurring throughout became so frightfully foreshadowing of things to come.
4) Whereas there’s no Michael Myers, the film offers a deliciously evil villain in Dan O’Herily as Conal Cochran, an old toy manufacturer who unbeknownst to most is trying to unlock the ancient pagan spirits of Halloween by stealing and using the magic of Stonehenge to destroy the world’s children. His plan is to use simple yet effective Halloween masks to trigger the ruin’s power and unleash Pagan justice. This is shown in one of the most terrifying scenes in movie history (and one of the only to show an innocent child get murdered) as Bud Kupfer’s mask is triggered via the Silver Shamrock commercial and his head is turned to a snake and insect filled mush that then kills his parents.
5) The message of the film is obviously very anti-corporate and anti-consumerism/commercialism. The evil plan is based around marketing to children and brainwashing them to the TV when the time is right. Again, this is why the Silver Shamrock song works so wonderfully.
6) It continues the sequel-tradition of upping the violence and nudity. Violent robot murders, faces exploding, the previously mentioned snake-filled child death, and a nice little hotel romp between Atkins and the adorable Stacy Nelkin.
In summation, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is both an excellent standalone horror film, and a worthy addition to the Halloween series. It even winks at the hardcore series fans (Dr. Castle is named for Nick Castle, who portrayed The Shape in the original, and Dick Warlock, Myers in part two, is a killer robot).
Over the years the Myers sequels have lost their appeal and can easily be viewed as shameless cash-grabs. Carpenter left the series over a script dispute before part four came out. Part five has what many consider the worst ending in the series. And part six was an unfinished mess, which saw series star Donald Pleasance die before completion.
Each film upped the violence and destroyed the legacy of the original and character of Michael Myers a little bit more. The biggest abomination was 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection, a film which is notorious for both killing off Jamie Lee Curtis and having rapper Busta Rhymes dispose of Michael. Halloween III received a mere 4.4/10 on IMDB and a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is well deserving of a second viewing and second opinion. It is the best movie with “Halloween” in its title since 1978. And if you realllllly can’t get over the lack of Michael Myers, then pretend the Halloween III part isn’t there. Oh yeah, and grow up!
Halloween III: Season of the Witch is available on Blu-ray and DVD, and is part of the Halloween Blu-ray box set. It is available for streaming on Amazon Instant Video for as low as $2.99 for 24 hour rental or to own for $6.99.
Always liked it. Sing that silly Silver Shamrock song in my head all the time. And the deaths were dark and gruesome. Definitely has a great, creepy vibe going on and Atkins is always great.
Comment by Caffeinated Joe — October 29, 2014 @ 12:44 pm
Thanks for this. I’d had the main title theme from Halloween III on my Itunes for years now. Went and rewatched it a year or so ago and again maybe a month ago. It’s a great film, due in no small part to Carpenter’s and the original teams involvement like you mentioned. I really feel like there’s some true terror here, one being the part you noted of the child being killed with the mask. The scene leading up to it is also quite chilling, with Dan O’Herlihy’s speech on the history of Halloween and the involvement of human and animal sacrifice. I wish more fans would come around on this film the way you have. Cheers!
Comment by Chuck Landreth — October 29, 2014 @ 9:32 pm
Agreed! I applaud you for your review. SOTW was really another high concept film before its time with layered messaging and ideologies. It is one of my favorite movies and overlooked in the cannon or even as a stand alone film. I think because it lacked a “slasher” and was named Halloween it sadly went over the heads of the proposed audience and was not marketed well.
I remember seeing it for the first time in my mid twenties and thinking how brilliant the concept was, mentioning it to other horror fans later in early chatrooms and being verbally assaulted for A. Mentioning it in the same sentence as the rest of the Meyers films, and B. Commenting on how good it was. I then mentioned Videodrome and was given what equates to internet blank stares. Kudos to you for writing this. One has to wonder how the movie would have fared if just called Season Of The Witch. Then again, Carpenter didn’t do a whole lot better with another brilliant “Prince Of Darkness” because could have been executed a little better, but had fantastic ideas…plus: Alice Cooper!
Comment by TALKHARD — October 29, 2014 @ 9:48 pm
No doubt. I remember seeing Halloween III: SOTW in the theaters when it was originally released and being genuinely creeped out by it. I watched it again a couple of years ago and it definitely holds up. I never thought any of the Michael Myers films were any good except for the first one (which is great).
Comment by Hugomarink — October 30, 2014 @ 10:58 am
Has always been my favorite Halloween since I was a kid.
Comment by sevensixseven — October 30, 2014 @ 11:06 am
I think it is a classic own dvd and vhs. The acters are great and a lot of creativeness behind the whole thing. Nothing will ever come close I have the book when it came out that’s the best I could do, besides buying a shirt which I will thanks have it come out in theaters again prove stupid people to turn right!! about it.
Comment by krisknebels — June 28, 2015 @ 1:10 am