Michael Myers is… oh… uh… nevermind. But it’s still Halloween and when Dr. Dan Challis sees something crazy happen at the hospital he works at, you better believe he’s on the case. His investigation takes him to a toy factory where he uncovers a deadly plot. Can he stop the crazy toy fiends before it’s too late? Find out in… Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
How?! Dr. Dan Challis is going through some stuff. He’s having trouble with his ex-wife, he’s a full-blown alcoholic, and yet, somehow he’s still a practicing doctor. One out of three ain’t bad. When a mysterious man comes into his ER one night and proceeds to be murdered by a strange, emotionless man who commits suicide by lighting himself on fire, Dr. Challis is intrigued. He’s even more intrigued when he gets a load of the man’s beautiful daughter, Ellie. You thinking what Dr. Challis is thinking? Road trip! They head off the last place Ellie’s dad was seen alive: Santa Mira, CA, home of Silver Shamrock, the maker of the most popular three Halloween masks. The masks are the talk of the world, particularly given the live, big giveaway planned for Halloween night. Anyway, once in town things start to go sideways. Not only is the town run like a police state where people are having mysterious accidents left and right, but when they go to tour the factory they are shocked to find Ellie’s father’s car there. Uh oh! Before they can get out of dodge, Ellie is kidnapped and Dan has to make his way back to the factory to save her. Of course he is immediately captured because (spoiler alert!) the whole place is run by automatons and you def can’t escape their robot clutches. Before he is to be killed, Dan is told the full plot: Cochran, the owner of the factory, has stolen a piece of stonehenge (yup) and is using its dark powers to energize microchips in the halloween masks. On the night of the giveaway they will be activated and all the children turned into gross bugs and snakes and stuff for ye old pagan ritual. Dan is horrified and luckily is able to escape his bonds and rescue Ellie. They then infiltrate the main command center where they activate the power of stonehenge and turn it against Cochran. Dope. On their way home Dan is trying to figure out how to stop the broadcast when Ellie turns out to be a total robot. Fiend! He destroys her and in a last ditch effort is able to stop most (but not all) the broadcasts. THE END.
Why?! Didn’t I just tell you? Stonehenge, pagan ritual, it’s witchcraft, baby! They are all witches… or… well, Cochran is a witch and the rest are robots. But that’s besides the point because the motivations in this thing are amazing. Oh and Dan just wants to get with Ellie and Ellie can’t seem to get enough of this mess of an alcoholic doctor. Good for both of them.
Who?! Halloween II’s Michael Myers, Dick Warlock, father of BIlly Warlock, shows up here as a robot assassin. That’s kind of fun. That also allows me to contemplate this entry’s monster: Cochran, played by Daniel O’Herlihy. He’s an Oscar nominee, so I’m sad to say the film that caught my eye in his filmography is 1986’s The Whoopie Boys… a film I only know because a poster for it shows up in Hot Rod. Largely forgettable in this, though. He comes off quite pleasant for a witch hellbent on sacrificing a whole bunch of kids to pagan gods.
What?! It’s actually a little hard to find real props from the film. Almost everything is replicas. The masks would be the real prize. There are three of them: a witch, a skull, and then a pumpkin (which looks way worse than the other two and no one would want). Somehow this is enough variety for the entire world to go crazy for them. They were created by Don Post, who pioneered latex masks. He made the Shatner mask that ultimately became the Michael Myers mask, which also proved very difficult to replicate.
Where?! This is set near San Francisco, with the factory in Santa Mira, California. It’s a made-up town that has shown up quite a bit in fiction. Makes sense as it sounds real. The town is an important setting with a crazy Irish-centric origin story and the like. Certainly fun so I’ll give it an A-.
When?! Another A+ for the franchise. Interestingly this takes place for a full week leading into Halloween night. The first two Halloween’s take place over a single Halloween night and I know at least a couple of the sequels take place just on Halloween (for that’s when Michael Myers awakens from his pagan slumber). So it would be curious if this is also an outlier in the series, since it takes place on several non-Halloween days.
I kinda came around to the consensus on this, similar to how I changed my tune a little on Halloween II. I think now I would say I like Halloween II a little less than I did originally and Halloween III a little more, but I still prefer the former to the latter. It’s an interesting film, though, and I think without the baggage of Halloween could have attained some level of cult status. It’s got some good gross out effects, some solid B acting, and a weird robot/witch storyline that would lend itself to people really falling in love with it. Not to mention that you can have a lot of fun comparing it to Willy Wonka. Cochran is an eeevil Wonka and his automatons are oompa-loompas… it’s a fun concept to think about. I personally think it lacks some pace and has some really obvious and glaring plot holes. So it’s hard to seriously consider it amongst the franchise behemoth that it carries in name only. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We got Halloween! We got Celtic legends! We got … wait, is that old man supposed to be Michael Myers? I’m so confused. Let’s go!
P’s View of the Preview – Spoiler alert! I’ve seen this film. I may have even seen it a few times. It is a weird movie that is nothing like the other Halloween films, but I hope this time I’ll get a bit more out of it since I’ve seen most of the Halloween films at this point, and I’ve also watched a ton more horror films from the 70s and 80s at this point. What were my expectations? Maybe for it to be good? People think it is good online it seems. It seems hard to believe since I’ve seen it and it wasn’t good. But maybe once I appreciate the context more I’ll pick up some nuggets of joy.
The Good – There is something very interesting about the main character. Definitely a terrible family man. An alcoholic doctor. A sleeze. And, in the end (we hope) a hero. Truly a different type to the “final girl” that pervaded slashers at the time, but then again, weirdly, the film isn’t a slasher. And the lore! Amazingly the lore with Celtic legends and their connection to Halloween ended up being a huge part of Halloween four through six (at least). I did appreciate that a lot more this time around. Best Bit: I think the main character with all his various complications.
The Bad – I mean, the film is an odd one. It comes across as a cheap 1970s horror film from England or something. Looks cheap, with no scares. Makes not much sense, has weird characters, seems to look to a depressing ending as a potential redeeming feature (a la The Mist). And overall since they retreat directly to Myers in the sequels ends up seemingly out of place in the major franchise records. It is amazing that they didn’t just release the next movie as Halloween 3 and change the name to merely Season of the Witch, leaving the film as a fun factoid in the annals of horror history. Fatal Flaw: It just isn’t scary and cheap looking.
The BMT – Had to be done. Amusingly, it currently doesn’t qualify. But assuredly it did when we watched the film. So take that rulez! I don’t think this will be the most fun Halloween film to watch by a long shot though. The films get real weird first after this one (maybe because of this one, bringing in all of the Celtic/Halloween lore to the series). Still fun. Did it meet my expectations? Nope. I expected to come to the film with fresh eyes and be like “oh how little did I know back then!” But naw, the film just isn’t a particularly good horror film. Weird and fun in its own way. But not scary or even that eerie.
Roast-radamus – Halfway decent Product Placement (What?) for Miller, which people seem to be sucking down throughout the film. And a solid (and odd) Setting as a Character (Where?) for California, and Santa Mira specifically. And then the natural A+ Holiday Setting (When?) for Halloween. I think it is closest to Good despite what the recap above might suggect.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – This film could have an interesting Reboot of sorts. Take it to something like Shudder, and reboot the series as Halloween Legacy or something. Go with the original vision: a series of tales, all taking place on Halloween, tied together via a general connection to the Celtic spookiness of the original pagan holiday. The second to last episode is Season of the Witch, which is effectively this story, except without the robots and masks. Instead it is a evil Willy Wonka basically. He makes Halloween candy. All of the kids love him. Every year he brings children to the factory for a tour, but this year something weird is happening. He seems insane. And the coup de grace? The whole affair for years and years would be to slowly poison the population with his candy. All it will take is a signal through everyone’s phone to kill them all and complete the ultimate bloodshed which will (in his mind) be such a great sacrifice to his pagan gods as to grant him immortality. Can Charlie and Grandpa Joe stop him before it’s too late? Probably, but you’ll have to subscribe to Shudder to find out. Halloween Legacy Episode 9: Season of the Witch. Not going to lie, I would watch it.
I think I’ll leave it without the schooled section in an attempt to catch up. Cheerios,