Halloween 3: Season of the Witch certainly isn’t the best film of all time, but it is still a highly amusing romp, and has its moments when it can be quite unsettling. The original Halloween is a classic and basically perfect, but this is my second favorite in the series and I barely even watch the others. I get that it is a shocking departure for the series, but on its own it’s pretty high concept slash mediocre execution. It sets the stage for any number of later series and films with a shadowy organization operating in plain sight while doing terrifying things with science or magic. Bad Robot, I’m looking at you. It also spawned the current trend of shared universes as we know them.
John Carpenter’s original idea that with each new Halloween film it would serve as a standalone story fitting in with an ongoing anthology about the Holiday itself was the right move. He was so determined to go as far from Michael Myers as possible. However, the movie going public had a different take on this and Season of the Witch bombed at the box office. Sequel after rebooted series, here we are four decades removed filling in the absence of character with diminishing returns. But I digress.
This movie cracked my brain open as a kid and I’ve loved it ever since. It was a wonderful introduction to a lot of things that had been done before and since, and it does them marginally well.
– Corporate Conspiracy
– Cool concept of blending the mystic with technology
– Freaky little towns run by a freaky corporation
– The hero not winning
– Hero WAY in over his head.
– Cute, but terrifying, jingle
The earworm. I can hear it now. Decades after seeing the movie. It haunts me. Silver Shamrock sounds delightfully like evil Lucky Charms. The three horrific masks they made were way better than the plastic shell masks everyone got at stores, for sure I would have got one. And yes, I would tuned in at the same time to the same television network to witness the Holiday Special.
Tom Atkins as Dr. Daniel Challis is one of horror’s most relatable characters because he could always use a drink. Multiple times in this film, he either has a sixer in his grip or he is on his way to a watering hole. He wants to be the good guy but man, he is just so bad at it. If you want peak Tom Atkins, check out Night of the Creeps. Dan O’Herlihy seems to be having a great time hamming it up as Cochrane, the antagonist who wants to kill every child in the world using black magic. I’m a sucker for films that make very weird, but conspicuously deliberate choices. Halloween 3 is a movie that hates both capitalism and children, which takes guts in any era.
The ending for me always felt very much like Kevin McCarthy in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and I assume that’s a very much deliberate aspect of the film given that Halloween 3 is set in Santa Mira, CA. I don’t think the ending is meant to be ambiguous. The activation signal in the advert has been broadcasting for some time before the credits roll. It’s always been my take on the ending that Challis failed and that kids all over the country are being killed horribly. We’ve already seen how this happens earlier in the film, so our imagination of how it is happening nationwide is more chilling than actually SEEING it. It always got to me. It was the first movie that I remembering seeing where the bad guys actually won. If you are filling the void this Halloween season with some scary films, this a pretty, pretty spooky option. To this day I think about this film before putting a mask on.