Halloween III: Season of the Witch Preview

“Mr. Wrong,” Patrick finishes. With that he presses a button and the gigantic, useless box explodes to reveal its very not useless contents (what a twist!). Hundreds of Obsidian Dongles pour out. “You see,” Patrick explains, “once I saw the Rich & Poe book in the bookstore window I knew the Dongle wasn’t safe. I slipped it in the mail to my wife and told her to pack it up in this crate with numerous replicas. One of which you so conveniently stole from us.” He looks around in satisfaction, the Dongle nicely obfuscated by the sea of false Dongles. Manfred backs up in panic, attempting to use his false Dongle. “No, but… I quickened!” He screams in rage, still trying to use a power he never possessed. Patrick shakes his head. “Wrong again, Mr. Wrong.” At this point Manfred is picking up Dongle after Dongle, each one faker than the last. He sobs, lamenting his lost power as Patrick shakes his head in disgust. Time to wait and hope that Jamie triumphs over the cyborgs, but something told him that everything would be OK.

Jamie lifts the Obsidian Dongle from the safe and Kyle asks in a whisper how this could be. This world was a microcosm in and of itself and after decades living here it had carved itself into their image. Delivering unto them a Digital Dongle (all rights reserved). As the cyborgs bust into the back room their eyes widen for a moment before Jamie blasts them away.

Suddenly Jamie and Kyle wink into existence in the apartment, the power of cyberspace delivering them once again home. A tear trickles down Kyle’s face. “Never forget me,” he whispers. Patrick and Jamie embrace and then turn to Manfred. Sadly Patrick delivers justice, “Trick or treat, Manfred.” That’s right! As we head out of our 90’s extravaganza of friends we are transitioning to the year in retrospection. Just like 2020, this year proved difficult to collect an adequate roster of films, so we will be mixing in anniversaries (the first of which was 1996’s Mr. Wrong). But before that we will watch a Holiday Edition of BMT Live. While not a 2021 film, this Live is still with the spirit of the now in that it’ll celebrate Halloween with a film that just recently re-qualified for BMT. That would be Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Let’s go!

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) – BMeTric: 64.5; Notability: 33

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 0.4%; Notability: top 6.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 13.1%; Higher BMeT: Grease 2; Higher Notability: Young Doctors in Love, Firefox, Trail of the Pink Panther, Movie Madness, Hanky Panky, Grease 2, Monsignor, Making Love, Lookin’ to Get Out, The Man with the Deadly Lens, Death Wish II, The Toy, Yes, Giorgio, Fighting Back, Megaforce; Lower RT: Megaforce, Class Reunion, The Dorm That Dripped Blood, Movie Madness, Monsignor, The Toy, Zapped!, Friday the 13th: Part III, Five Days One Summer, Amityville II: The Possession, Parasite, The Beast Within, Losin’ It, Vigilante, Fighting Back, Summer Lovers, Trail of the Pink Panther, Young Doctors in Love, The Man with the Deadly Lens, Lookin’ to Get Out, and 6 more; Notes: The graph makes sense because I think this is a film which is slowly becoming more cult-classic as it ages. Weirdly high BMeTric while also barely qualifying.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – There are a lot of problems with “Halloween III,” but the most basic one is that I could never figure out what the villain wanted to accomplish if he got his way. His scheme is easy enough to figure: He wants to sell millions of Halloween masks to the nation’s kiddies and then brainwash them to put them on at the same time, whereupon laser beams at the base of the neck will fry the tykes. Meanwhile, he runs a factory that turns out lifelike robots. What’s his plan? Kill the kids and replace them with robots? Why?

(Actually I know this. He is an ancient member of a cult. And every certain number of years they need to make a sacrifice (using things like Stonehenge as a way to focus power) to continue their eternal life I’m pretty sure. The bad guy plans the ultimate sacrifice. To kill hundred, thousands, millions (?) of children across the United States at just the right moment. So no, nothing really to do with robots. The robots are, I think, just to make it all not need to be a large conspiracy. The bad guy is effectively doing it all himself.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCNSJO24dvE/

(Sufficiently mysterious. Loving the classic Carpenter synth track. Just … the masks look pretty dumb. It is a fundamental issue with the film I think.)

DirectorsTommy Lee Wallace – ( Known For: Fright Night Part 2; Vampires: Los Muertos; Aloha Summer; BMT: Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Notes: Allegedly has a movie he wrote and is directing in production. It seems like that is always the case, and as usual I’m skeptical.)

WritersTommy Lee Wallace – ( Known For: Fright Night Part 2; Vampires: Los Muertos; Far from Home; Future BMT: Amityville II: The Possession; BMT: Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Notes: Was married to Nancy Kynes (who starred in Halloween and was in this as well), and worked on multiple Carpenter films around this time.)

John Carpenter – ( Known For: Halloween; Halloween; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; The Fog; They Live; Prince of Darkness; Escape from New York; Assault on Precinct 13; Escape from L.A.; Dark Star; Assault on Precinct 13; Eyes of Laura Mars; Black Moon Rising; Future BMT: Halloween Kills; Halloween; Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers; Lockout; BMT: Halloween II; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Ghosts of Mars; The Fog; Notes: Y’all know Carpenter. This was his attempt to move Halloween away from the trashy horror franchise quagmire of the 80s and into an anthology idea. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.)

Nigel Kneale – ( Known For: The Abominable Snowman; Quatermass and the Pit; The Quatermass Xperiment; First Men in the Moon; The Witches; Quatermass 2; Look Back in Anger; The Entertainer; H.M.S. Defiant; BMT: Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Notes: A ton of his credits are for various versions of Quatermass. A cursory glance suggests quite a few similarities between that original story and this film which is interesting.)

ActorsTom Atkins – ( Known For: The Fog; Escape from New York; Creepshow; My Bloody Valentine; Lethal Weapon; Night of the Creeps; Trick; The Detective; Maniac Cop; The Ninth Configuration; The New Kids; Two Evil Eyes; Bob Roberts; The Owl and the Pussycat; Encounter; Bruiser; Where’s Poppa?; Amazing Racer; Special Delivery; Lemon Sky; Future BMT: Striking Distance; BMT: Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Drive Angry; Notes: A horror icon of the era. Still works at the age of 85, he has a movie coming out next year, Final Summer.)

Stacey Nelkin – ( Known For: Bullets Over Broadway; Up the Academy; Get Crazy; Serial; California Dreaming; Going Ape!; Everything Relative; Future BMT: Yellowbeard; BMT: Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Notes: Apparently she was the person who went out with Woody Allen as a teenager which inspired the plotline of Manhattan.)

Dan O’Herlihy – ( Known For: RoboCop; The Last Starfighter; Imitation of Life; Waterloo; Fail-Safe; 100 Rifles; The Dead; Macbeth; Odd Man Out; Robinson Crusoe; The Tamarind Seed; The Desert Fox; MacArthur; One Foot in Hell; The Cabinet of Caligari; The Black Shield of Falworth; Love, Cheat and Steal; The Blue Veil; Home Before Dark; Larceny; BMT: Halloween III: Season of the Witch; RoboCop 2; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Robinson Crusoe in 1955. His son Gavan was also an accomplished actor.)

Budget/Gross – $2.5 million / Domestic: $14,400,000 (Worldwide: $14,400,000)

(That is fine, but also obviously not what you are looking for at the time. At the time you are probably looking to get a huge multiplier on your budget for the classic low-budget franchise horror schlock. This merely made “some money”.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (11/28): Its laudable deviation from series formula not withstanding, Halloween III: Season Of The Witch offers paltry thrills and dubious plotting.

(For the record, this barely qualifies and didn’t only a few months ago. But we jumped on it before it (inevitably) became unqualified again. Amazing how high the critical rating is at the moment for a film with terrible IMDb ratings.)

Reviewer Highlight: This movie is a dirty trick on all Halloween fans. – Aja Romano, Vox

Poster – Baller-ween III: Season of the Sklog

(Most of this poster is terrible. It’s just a random shot from the film that makes no sense. I like the bit at the top though. Just make that the poster. If that was the poster I think it might have been like a B+. As it is, it’s just a C.)

Tagline(s) – The night no one comes home. (C-)

(These are words. I’m not sure they totally make sense. Certainly not in the context of the film, which is predicated on everyone gathering in their homes to watch a commercial at 9pm PST (midnight EST??). It’s short… that’s about it.)

Keyword(s) – halloween

Top 10: Halloween Kills (2021), Halloween (2018), Hocus Pocus (1993), Halloween II (1981), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The Addams Family (1991), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), The Crow (1994), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Scary Movie (2000)

Future BMT: 83.9 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 72.1 Bewitched (2005), 70.4 Halloween II (2009), 70.0 Texas Chainsaw (2013), 67.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 64.6 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 61.3 Skinwalkers (2006), 60.4 Pet Sematary II (1992), 60.0 Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), 56.9 The Next Best Thing (2000)

BMT: Halloween II (1981), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), Thir13en Ghosts (2001), Batman Forever (1995), The Predator (2018), Deadly Friend (1986), Son of the Mask (2005), Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016), Made of Honour (2008), Town & Country (2001)

Matches: Halloween Kills (2021), Halloween (2018), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), The Crow (1994), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Scary Movie (2000), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), Halloween II (2009), Trick ‘r Treat (2007), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Hubie Halloween (2020), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019), Monster House (2006), Haunt (2019), Terrifier (2016), Idle Hands (1999), The Haddonfield Nightmare (2021), A Cinderella Story (2004), Hell House LLC (2015), Night of the Demons (1988), Tales of Halloween (2015), Once Bitten (1985), Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018), Night of the Demons (2009), All Hallows’ Eve (2013), Fun Size (2012), When We First Met (2018), Ghost Squad (2015), Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (2017), Pet Sematary II (1992), C.O.R.N. (2021), Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016), Bad Candy (2020), Fear PHarm (2020), Candy Corn (2019), Stan Helsing (2009), …

(Sooooo many films have the keyword matches, I limited it to just up to the last one I definitely recognized by name. We really need to start working through the franchise though, that would fill out the plot well.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Tom Atkins is No. 1 billed in Halloween III: Season of the Witch and No. 8 billed in Drive Angry, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (1 + 8) + (1 + 1) + (5 + 1) = 17. If we were to watch Striking Distance, The Jackal, Nights in Rodanthe, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 22.

Notes – John Carpenter didn’t plan on having Michael Myers in every Halloween movie, only the first. He wanted a different Halloween related story each time. But after the first Halloween (1978) was a success, producers forced him to use Myers again. He did, but killed off Myers and Loomis to be done with them. Then he produced Season of the Witch to get back to his original plan. But at that point people were expecting Myers again so it failed. Carpenter then dropped the franchise and sold the rights years later because he wasn’t interested in doing more Myers. The new owners then brought Myers and Loomis back in 1988 with no explanation how they survived.

The movie’s novelization was published in 1982 by science-fiction writer Dennis Etchison under the pseudonym Jack Martin. Despite the movie’s critical failure, the book became a best-seller and was even reissued two years after the movie’s release, in 1984.

The song “London Bridge is Falling Down” was chosen as the Silver Shamrock jingle because this was in the public domain.

Using the original molds, the skull, witch, and jack-o’-lantern masks seen in the movie were mass-produced by Don Post Studios and sold in retail stores to promote the movie’s release.

During a reunion panel for the cast and crew of the movie in the Summer of 2015, Tom Atkins and Stacey Nelkin confirmed that the bedroom scene was one of the very first things that they shot together. Both found this humorous because Nelkin had been quickly cast as Ellie Grimbridge due to time restraints on the studio’s part and the two had barely gotten acquainted beforehand.

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Press newspaper shortly before the movie’s release, Tom Atkins told the hometown publication that he didn’t know how the movie was going to end because they “shot a couple of different endings”.

Tom Atkins and Garn Stephens (who played Marge Guttman) were husband and wife at the time.

The tagline “The night no one comes home” is a play on the original Halloween movie’s tagline “The night HE came home”.

Director Tommy Lee Wallace credits the concept of witchcraft in the computer age to producer Debra Hill.

Executive producer Irwin Yablans was against not using Michael Myers in this sequel, even though Myers and Loomis were killed off in the previous movie. He has said in interviews he had little to do with the finished movie, and basically received credit for his minor involvement. He also said he did receive a “fat cheque” for his trouble.

The cartoon playing on television in the bar is The Cigarette and the Weed (1981), directed by Ralph Bakshi, the director of Fritz the Cat (1972), Heavy Traffic (1973), Wizards (1977) and The Lord of the Rings (1978).

The movie is included on the film critic Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.

“Season of the Witch” was the original working title of Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets (1973). “Season of the Witch” is also the name of a song by Donovan and the name for George A. Romero’s movie Season of the Witch (1972). Also the name of Nicolas Cage’s movie Season of the Witch (2011).

In “Halloween Kills” (2021), three of Michael Myers victims are displayed wearing the Silver Shamrock masks on a merry-go-round.

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