Movie Review: "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" (1982)
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.
Unlike the first two movies, "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" is most certainly no trick or treat. It's just another proven example of why most sequels don't work the third time around. Notice how I say most, not all, but most. Call it the 'Curse of the Third' if you will. "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" is a boring, uninteresting, and forgettable sequel in the 'Halloween' franchise. It is in fact the lowest grossing one of them all.
The story this time ditches the franchise's main nemesis (Michael Myers) and instead revolves around a large corporation that's manufacturing some dangerous halloween masks that can kill people and a doctor who is determined to stop them at all costs. The death scenes are minimal and are more bizarre than they are gory and there's practically no connection at all to the other 'Halloween' movies -- with the exception of a TV commercial for the original "Halloween" movie in one scene.
Murder? What Murder?
So a murder is what sets off the catalyst for the film's story. In the beginning, a man is on the run from the evil Silver Shamrock Novelties corporation because he knows about their plans. He ends up injured and brought to the hospital where we meet with the film's main protagonist Dr. Challis (Tom Atkins), only to be killed moments later by one of the Shamrock associates.
We're then introduced to the victim's daughter who joins forces with the good doctor. The two of them decide pay the company a visit in the town of Santa Misa. They decide it's a good idea to get a hotel room together so that it would be more convenient for their local investigate activities.
I must say, for two people who are determined to solve a mystery, they sure don't do a whole lot of investigating. Other than a visit to the Shamrock factory, they mostly spend their time sitting around and waiting for stuff to happen and then they react to it. When nothing important is happening, they're usually engaging in foreplay or having sex. In fact, I think it's all that Dr. Challis thinks about in the entire movie -- First, he's manhandling one of his nurse friends, then he's making dinner plans with his medical assistant, and now he's sleeping with his dead patient's daughter. Mind you, he's also married.
This woman's father is dead, they're trying to find out what happened, I don't think this is the right time to be engaging in sexual activities. It's like they forgot that there ever was a murder, or maybe the screenwriter forgot. Maybe he was spending too much time in hotel rooms with his lady friends instead of focusing on delivering a good "Halloween" sequel.
Adios, Michael Myers!
So this is perhaps the biggest complaint for this movie. The fact that there is no Michael Myers in it. For whatever reason, they decided to do the whole horror anthology thing with the "Halloween" movies. Kind of like "Night Gallery", whereas they would release a new movie every halloween season that would focus on a different aspect of the tradition. Well, if that was the intention, then why have Michael Myers in the second movie? Why is this being decided for the third entry?
Everyone loved Michael Myers, so why the departure? Instead of a slasher movie, we have a the whole mad scientist plot with themes of American consumerism. This is like celebrating Christmas without Santa Claus. How do you make a "Halloween" movie without Michael Myers? You're just asking for box office failure from the get-go, and look what happened -- they got it.
If anything, they could have rewritten Michael Myers into it as the main nemesis with Cochran and his Shamrock corporation as a secondary nemesis. Dr. Challis is up against Cochran and Myers is on neither side, he's just caught up in the mix, killing as he pleases. It would have made things a little more interesting if Michael Myers was somehow involved in the story.
So Cochran (the CEO of the Silver Shamrock Novelties corporation) has a thing for witchcraft and wants to get his rocks off by administering this evil plan of his -- which consists of manufacturing masks that contain computer chips that hold a fragment of Stonehenge and selling them to all of the trick or treaters during Halloween week. The kicker is that when the company's sing-a-long commercial airs on halloween night, the computer chip is activated and kills the wearer as a result.
To top it all off, the CEO has a whole bunch of androids working for him. So what exactly is this guy's plan? I know he's into witchcraft and all, but why does he want to kill everybody? Was he trying to eradicate mankind and replace it with a race of cyborgs? This is never fully explained.
Even his grand scheme itself is flawed. So all of the mask-wearers have to be watching their TVs at 9pm on halloween night and Cochran plans to ship his products across the Atlantic. Doesn't he realize that there's four US time zones working against him? The other states are going to have a pretty big advantage once they find out people are dying from these masks.
- Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) - IMDb
Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. With Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O'Herlihy, Michael Currie.
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