- Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
I watched this for the first time this year. Something about its existence always rubbed me the wrong way: this is the Halloween film without Michael Myers! I just couldn’t bring myself to even consider this a part of the franchise, especially with my shunning of the Zombie installments. My reasons, however illogical, are as follows: John Carpenter originally hoped that the franchise would become an anthology series, which this attempts (before course-correcting with its sequel). Also, while Carpenter didn’t direct this film, he produced it, under the Halloween banner, and that’s good enough for me. This is a film that will likely rise in the Halloween ranks as I add it to my yearly rewatch. It was much better than I had thought, with a few major exceptions.
Tom Atkins stars as Dr. Daniel Challis, who encounters a man in the ER who is babbling about someone trying to “kill all of us!” before being killed by a man in a suit. As Doctors do, Challis decides to travel to another town to investigate the man’s murder, along with the man’s (hopefully adult) daughter, whom he promptly (and seriously awkwardly) seduces. Challis is a laughable, barely functional alcoholic doctor, bumbling through this investigation.
Despite the insanity of Challis’ investigation, the plan he uncovers is seriously sinister. They arrive at the Silver Shamrock Novelties company in Santa Mira, California, where they discover that the head of Silver Shamrock, Conal Cochrane (Dan O’Herlihy), has put evil microchips powered with a fragment of Stonehenge (yeah…) in masks that they’re selling for Halloween. When activated at midnight on Halloween, the masks shoot laser beams into the heads of their wearers, causing them to melt and for hundreds of insects and snakes to suddenly form and crawl everywhere. Yeah.
I have to say, at least, that Cochrane’s plan is dastardly: he just wants to kill all the kids. It’s also flawed. It starts at midnight PST (he’s in California). He’s not going to get all the kids. He needs a better system than that.
And that’s really the heart of this film — there’s a pretty interesting concept, with a whole lot of bad beneath it. Most things should have been thought through, capitalizing on the elements that made the first two films successful and not following an alcoholic, middle-aged, terrible father who abandons his kids and sleeps with a grieving daughter. That’s just not a good movie.
Plus there’s possibly the most annoying song ever included in a movie ever.