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Nov 14

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

halloween3Genre: Horror
Year: 1982
Country: USA

aka: The Last Halloween

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O’Herlihy, Michael Currie, Ralph Strait

 

…and now the earth will run with blood again!

 

Halloween is coming up and Silver Shamrock Novelties is expecting to do big business with their highly popular masks this year. They have invested greatly in TV commercials that features an unforgettable jingle, telling every kid that they need one of their masks and how many days are left til Halloween.

Dr. Daniel Challis has a weird experience at his hospital when one of his patients are found murdered. The patient had just been signed in to his hospital earlier that night while screaming that everyone is gonna die. After he is found dead, a strange guy in a suit goes out of the hospital and kills himself by putting himself on fire. Challis starts to investigate this and finds out that the Silver Shamrock company is planning on killing all the children in the country with the use of their popular masks on the upcoming Halloween night.

Three more days til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. Three more days til Halloween, Silveeer Shamrock! 

John Carpenter and Debra Hill agreed to be a part of a new Halloween movie when it was clear that they where able to develop a new story that was not tied with Michael Myers. The idea was to separate the Halloween series from other slashers by producing movies based on new stories related to the holiday each year instead of just bringing Myers back to life and let him slaughter new victims. It is not a bad idea and there are plenty of things they can do around the holiday of Halloween. If it was able to create a long lasting series like that then movies such as Night of the Demons and Trick ‘r Treat would be easy to fit into the series. If that was going to succeed though then they needed to have something big with this one as it would be the first one to set itself apart from the Myers story.

The guy responsible for achieving that task was Tommy Lee Wallace. Up until that point Wallace had mostly done different tasks on a few of John Carpenters movies and also written the screenplay to Amityville 2. He was originally offered the job of directing the first sequel to Halloween which he declined. I like Wallace, he has always come off as a fun guy in his commentary tracks and some of his sequels to Fright Night and Vampires have been fun to watch. He also did the excellent Stephen King mini-series It, an adaption that I think very highly of.

Two more days til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. Two more days til Halloween, Silveeer Shamrock! 

Wallace developed the story together with John Carpenter and Nigel Kneale. The premise sounds good on paper, but only on paper. It is basically Invasion of the Body Snatchers set on Halloween and it lacks scares, tension, it is silly and makes little sense. Wallace does a good job on the visuals and direction. Together with a good performance by Tom Atkins it does save it from being terrible. The music is also very good and it was done by John Carpenter in collaboration with Alan Howarth once again. It might be hard to remember it considering the crazy and almost annoying jingle that is played throughout the film. You should be warned, you will find yourself humming to the sound of it for months after seeing the film.

One of the biggest problems is the villain. Conal Cochran is not a very memorable bad guy and that’s something every good horror movie needs to have. There is also no explanation of why this guy wants to kill everyone and that is something that can work with a possessed killer such as Michael Myers, but not with a calculated and intelligent guy who has built up a big company and is a successful businessman.

One more days til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. One more days til Halloween, Silveeer Shamrock! 

Halloween 3: Season of the Witch ended up being a failed attempt of making the Halloween brand become more than just another slasher series with Michael Myers. It would have been interesting to see where the series would have gone if this succeeded, but sadly it is an average 80’s horror movie and if it wasn’t for the name then it would probably have been forgotten by now.

 

 ★★½☆☆ 

 

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