Logline: A doctor uncovers a plot to kill millions of children using Halloween masks.
Review: Tommy Lee Wallace’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch is an underrated science fiction horror film that critiques American consumer culture and corporations.
Halloween III is the only film in the Halloween franchise to not feature the iconic masked killer Michael Myers and has no connection to the other films in the series. The film received a huge backlash and bombed at the box office. Producers John Carpenter and Debra Hill intended Halloween II (1981) to be the end of Michael Myers and instead, planned to continue the franchise as a Halloween themed horror anthology. However, after Halloween III was received so poorly, this idea was abandoned and Myers would return in the aptly titled Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988).
When Halloween III was released in 1982, most viewers, who expected to see Michael Myers, were disappointed that the Shape was nowhere to be found except on a television screen playing in the background of a scene. Had the film been released simply as Season of the Witch and was marketed as the standalone film that it truly is, then perhaps it would have had a more positive reception. However, Halloween III has garnered a legion of fans since its release and has become something of a cult classic.
Halloween III is definitely in B movie territory but it is a lot of fun. One needs to look past some of the ludicrous plot points (i.e. Stonehenge) and just enjoy the film for what it is: a solid production in the tradition of Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). The film sports a creepy, moody atmosphere. The idea of the mass killing of children using Halloween masks is terrifying. As for the masks themselves, they look amazing. It is no wonder every child in America wanted one.
The synthesizer infused score, composed by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth, is very effective. It is so 80’s but for me, that is never a bad thing.
Tommy Lee Wallace, the editor and production designer on Halloween (1978), is a very capable director and the performances are pretty solid. Dan O’Herlihy is a stand-out as the diabolical factory owner.
Simply put, Halloween III is a solid bag of tricks that should be enjoyed as a stand alone film and not part of the Halloween franchise. The film is thoroughly engaging from start to finish and features a stellar ending that is quite unnerving. Once you hear that catchy jingle, you will not be able to get it of your head.
Rating (out of ****): ***
Great scene: Creepy…