Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) Review: Not Bad
“The night no one comes home”
Synopsis: After a murder-suicide, Doctor Challis investigates a sinister connection to Silver Shamrock brand Halloween masks. Read on for the full horror story.
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Halloween III is a divisive movie for one reason: it doesn’t star Michael Myers. After Michael’s death at the end of Halloween II, John Carpenter et al planned to move on to telling other Halloween tales – but the backlash to this movie was so severe that Michael was resurrected for Halloween IV. For some, this movie’s existence is an annoying detour in a slasher franchise; for others, like myself, it’s an interesting movie in its own right, no matter its place in the Halloween franchise lineup.
Halloween III stars Tom Atkins as a doctor trying to make sense of a violent night at the hospital. With help from a patient’s daughter, he discovers that something sinister is going on in the small town of Santa Mira – a town notable only for the Halloween mask factory within its confines. Though the small-town-with-a-secret trope is overdone, it contributes nicely to the tense atmosphere of Halloween III. And though some things about the town may seem blasé in the 21st century, they were definitely a big deal back in the ’80s.
The techno-witchcraft angle of the story is bizarre, to say the least, but it yields appropriately disturbing results. Even with all their missteps, the early Halloween movies (this one included) tend to ramp up the tension quite well. As the grotesquely horrifying nature of the villain’s plan becomes increasingly clear, it’s hard not to empathize with Tom Atkins’ helplessness or feel concerned for the plan’s intended victims.
If you can take Halloween III as a horror movie in its own right and not just a failed installment in the Halloween franchise, you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised. It manages to create something thoroughly disturbing out of an odd premise – and in the process creates a few images that are bound to stay with you a long time.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: B