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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween III: Season of the Witch


In this film, which is in no way connected to Halloween II or Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Tom Atkins stars as Dan Challis, a doctor in California, who begins to investigate the murder of one of his patients (Al Berry). Joining up with the man's daughter, Ellie (Stacey Nelkin), the two are drawn to the small town of Santa Mira, the home of the rather secretive Silver Shamrock company, a toy and Halloween mask manufacturing company who Ellie's father had visited just before his arrival at the hospital. There, they meet Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy), the affable owner of the company, who has his own malevolent goals. But what are they? And what connection does the mysterious theft of one of the stones of Stonehenge and the strange Silver Shamrock Halloween masks have with him?

Halloween III is often seen as one of the black sheep of the Halloween series (though really, can't we all just remember that this is a franchise where Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers and Halloween Resurrection (a.k.a. Michael Myers vs. Busta Rhymes) also exist...), but honestly, I really like it. It is different from Halloween or Halloween II (dramatically so, there's no Michael Myers at all in this film), and is also radically different from most other 80s horror movies I've seen. While some parts of it are goofy or campy (the oddly out of place science fiction elements that are added to it for whatever reason...), others are dramatically horrific. The practical effects of this film are really good, especially in regards to the prosthetics they use for some of the kills are quite good, especially the death of Marge Guttman. As well, Cochran is a fun villain, affable and charming one moment and sister and malevolent the next. Plus, while Michael Myers has little in the way of motivation for his random killings, Cochran has an evil plan that he near-flawlessly executes. The plan, while again somewhat silly, has genuinely horrific results. *SPOILERS* Cochran plans to use the piece of Stonehenge he stole in conjunction with a special television advertisement to trigger the activation of the Silver Shamrock masks, causing the heads of all the children wearing them and watching to be turned to a bloody pulp as snakes, worms, and insects burst from inside their head. Yes. Put simply Cochran's plan is to commit child genocide as a celebration, to remind the people of the modern world that the festival of Samhain is much more serious then their modern interpretation of Halloween. And the scary part is... he pretty much succeeds...*SPOILERS END* I can understand why this didn't do well, people definitely wanted more Michael Myers after the phenomenal first two Halloween movies, but Halloween III I feel is immensely under appreciated. It is enjoyable and fun, the ending still creeps me out to this day because of its implications. Yes the script is a bit of a mess and the ending is rather nihilistic, but the ideas in it are rather refreshing, even now (seriously, try to find another movie like it) and I honestly think that if this had not been a "Halloween" movie, people would've liked it more. This also makes me curious of what they would've done had this been a commercial and critical success, with John Carpenter having wanted to turn Halloween into an annual horror anthology series, as that idea could've been really cool.

All in all, an excellent if slightly campy film with an ending that will send chills up your spine and will never let you forget the Silver Shamrock company's jingle (Seriously there's even a drinking game where you drink every time you hear it....).

My Rating: 3.5/5

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