[Editor’s Note: Halloween: The Ultimate Collection is now available and contains EVERY Halloween movie made! Check it out!-TMW]
Halloween III: Season of the Witch– 1982 -Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
Starring Tom Atkins, Dan O’Herlihy
With Halloween firmly established as a bankable horror franchise after two successful outings, creator John Carpenter wanted to try something different for the third film in the series. To that end, he opted to abandon the story of Michael Myers- which had come to a fiery conclusion in the previous film- in favor of an anthology approach, with each year witnessing the release of a new movie telling an original horror story set on All Hallows Eve. It was definitely an attempt to try something outside of the box. Unfortunately, “original” doesn’t necessarily translate as “good”.
This sorry sequel follows a doctor (the usually reliable Tom Atkins, who seems to be on autopilot here) as he investigates a plot by a famous toymaker (Dan O’Herlihy, being an awfully good sport) to mass murder every child wearing one of a line of Halloween masks he produces. The idea here is to invoke some vaguely referenced Celtic tradition by spilling the blood of the children on Halloween night. The toymaker plans to convince the kids to gather in front of their television sets by saturating the airwaves with ads promising a “big giveaway” on October 31st. When the kids tune in to watch, the image of an electronic Jack O’ Lantern will be broadcast, activating a laser embedded into a disc fastened to the back of each mask and frying the kids brains.
There are some decent gore effects and cinematographer Dean Cundy returns for his third and final time in the series to give the film something of a boost by providing a spooky visual sheen. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough to overcome a plot that is so nonsensical as to not even work on it’s own terms. This is a film where the villain inexplicably opts to pursue an elaborate plan that can be defused by either turning off a television set or taking off a mask while he already has a small army of robot assassins running around, dispatching people at his behest. Additionally, there’s never any concrete reason given as to what exactly killing the kids is supposed to accomplish, other than some rambling dialogue about “a joke on the children.” It all feels slapdash.
Even worse, the overall production looks really cheap. Considering the success of the first two films, I would have expected the studio to put more money into making Halloween III. If they did, it doesn’t show.
This film has developed a cult following over the years, but it isn’t really deserved. Not so bad it’s good but just plain bad, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a dreadful, poorly scripted misfire that doesn’t deserve to bear the franchise name. It also features the single most annoying television jingle ever composed.
* out of ***** stars for some effective make up effects. Fans can skip this one and it literally won’t make the slightest difference.