Halloween III is one of the strangest movies in any movie franchise. As I’ve mentioned before in a previous post, it’s a sequel to film that it has absolutely no relationship to. While it can be said that they tried to incorporate the Silver Shamrock company into the later films of the Halloween franchise, it’s pretty clear that beforehand they really didn’t have any intentions of keeping this film in the continuum of the world that gave birth to Michael Myers. In fact, the only appearance of Michael Myers in this film is a brief clip from the original Halloween of Mr. Myers walking down the stairs as a promo for a broadcast of the original Halloween movie. So while the original intent of this movie was supposed to be a telling of a “halloween story” after Myers death in Halloween II, this movie is really about Dr. Dan Challis (Tom Atkins) and the Silver Shamrock company.
So, if you’ve seen our previous Trailer Tuesday where we featured the trailer for Halloween III: Season of the Witch, you can probably figure out what’s going on in this movie – but for those of you who haven’t watched it, or maybe need some help with the plot, here it is:
A man is brought to the hospital on the verge of death, and Dr. Dan Challis treats him. When that same man is killed by a man in a business suit who enters the hospital and crushes his skull – and then rushes out to his car and lights himself and his car ablaze, it’s Dr. Dan Challis who investigates his death. That man’s daughter, Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin), now knows that her father is dead, but she can’t figure out why someone would want to kill him. After going through her father’s meticulous personal records, she and Challis figure out that the last time anyone saw or heard from her father, he was off to Santa Mira, CA to pick up a shipment of masks from the Silver Shamrock company. They decide the only way to get to the bottom of this is to go out to visit the company themselves, and the man in charge of the organization, Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy).
Once they get to Santa Mira, they notice everything is a little weird. Almost everyone in the town owes something to Silver Shamrock, and (almost) everyone thinks of Conal Cochran as a genius who revitalized the area. There’s a price to pay for the genius however, as they find out that the town has a curfew of 6pm, and there are cameras posted throughout the town that are monitoring it’s citizens every move. When Challis and Ellie get a room at the town motel, they find that in fact Ellie’s father stayed at this exact same motel the night before he died – and that’s gotta account for something! While staying at the motel, a woman in the next room suffers from a “misfire” and is taken away to get treatment. Since Challis is a doctor, he asks where she’s being taken for treatment. None other than Conal Cochran himself is there to let them know that the woman is being taken to the factory, where they have excellent treatment facilities! The next day, Ellie and Challis go to the Silver Shamrock factory to have a look for themselves.
What they find is that the Silver Shamrock company is making masks with a microchip in them, so when kids are wearing them on Halloween night and they watch the special television commercial disguised as a “giveaway”, the masks will disintegrate and bugs and snakes will pour out of their heads and kill their parents! That Conal Cochran, what a joker he is! Unfortunately for Challis, his very own kids own these masks – as do a majority of kids in the country as these masks have been selling like wildfire! Armed with this knowledge, Challis and Ellie have to stop Cochran and Silver Shamrock before it’s too late!
I honestly think that if this movie were called something else and wasn’t attached to the Halloween franchise, it wouldn’t get such a bad wrap. Sure, there are plot holes big enough to drive a cadillac through, it has some parts that really drag on, and the entire concept of the movie is completely ridiculous (cyborgs and Stonehenge anyone?), but if you can overlook those things this is actually a pretty decent horror movie.
The cast overall does a good job – Tom Atkins is great to watch as always (I can’t see him in a movie without thinking of “miller time” from Night of the Creeps), and Stacey Nelkin does a great job in one of the biggest roles of her career as Ellie. It was even great to see Dan O’Herlihy (the Old Man from Robocop) get what he had coming to him. While Season of the Witch isn’t an overly gory or violent film, when it needs to get bloody, it does a pretty convincing job of it – whether it’s a laser to the face, or a guy getting his head twisted off.
If the acting and the gore doesn’t make you want to see this movie, Dr. Dan Challis himself should. He’s probably one of the biggest bad asses of all time. He infiltrates this company in about 1 1/2 days time from finding out about it, he escapes death several times, and kills a couple of robots with his bare hands. If that’s not enough, he fights off a robot arm that’s trying to choke him all by himself and he figures out the connection between Silver Shamrock and Stonehenge with little to no help from anyone. I won’t even get to how renown he is as a telephone badass. Let’s just say he can stop a broadcast with just the power of persuasion and his voice alone.
I watched this movie as a kid and I always thought this was a pretty bad movie. I think I felt gypped that I didn’t get to see Michael Myers at all, and the Silver Shamrock commercials were hokey, but damn… Once you hear the jingle, it’ll take forever for you to get it out of your head! I think the thing that turned me off so much about this film was that it was a Halloween movie… I was expecting a slasher film, and I got some crazy story about witchcraft and magic instead. At the time I felt ripped off, and rightfully so, it felt like such a poor representation of what I thought this franchise was about. In retrospect, I think I was a little hard on it. Now that I’m a little older I can appreciate Season of the Witch for trying to be a little more cerebral in it’s story. It still fails pretty miserably in that respect, but despite all it’s problems, it’s still entertaining and it definitely has it’s moments. I can also appreciate how ridiculous a concept this entire movie is, and how funny it is to watch with friends if you really take the time to dissect everything that’s going on. Halloween III: Season of the Witch is worth every ounce of 3 laser blasts to the mouth out of 5.