Halloween III Season of The Witch @ 40 (Review/w Spoilers!)
Director John Carpenter's iconic film series spawned a third installment that most had dismissed and dissed during its debut for reasons being, " non canon” due to the omission of the franchises' signature slasher: Michael Myers.
Now four decades later, to their chagrin, many were pleasantly surprised to finally come to grips that H 3: SOTW wasn’t nearly as shitty as they made it out to be! Written and Directed by Tommy Wallace, Season of the Witch delivers a unique take on the Halloween mythology by introducing a bizarre yet interesting high concept.
The film wastes no time when gaining suspenseful momentum as we witness a middle-aged man Henry, fleeing from a mysterious pair of " Sunglasses at night" pursuers. Fortunately for Henry, he manages to escape the duo thanks to a good Samaritan slash Gas station attendant who drives him to a nearby hospital. But unfortunately for Henry, his luck runs out after a certain visitor prys his fingers through the poor bastard's eyes as in a Lucio Fulci trope, afterwards, sets himself on fire. Prior to his death, ol Henry informs the hospital resident Dr. Dan Challis of the Fright Mask' manufacturers-Silver Shamrock Novelties’ twisted intentions, and it's not "safe for kids!" So off Dan and Henry's daughter, Ellie Grimbridge to a town called "Santa Mira" to investigate what had happened to her father. The subplot sounds familiar to Anne Bowles of 1979's Zombie.
Originally intended as an anthology for the iconic franchise, Halloween III Season of the Witch, is a very ambitious sequel that was unjustly overlooked until not so recent, as more horror enthusiasts have embraced this thriller.
Tom Atkins from previous Carpenter films, most notably, The Fog and “Escape from New York, is not your archetypal hero protagonist, as he is a bit complexed as a divorced dad, alcoholic and whenever opportunity comes knocking, a womanizer. He's your everyman, who does what he can, to prevent a major catastrophe from happening.
Prior to his appearance as the "Old Man" in Robocop, actor Dan O' Herlihy chews up scenery as Silver Shamrock evil mastermind, Conal Cochran who comes off like Marvel's Doctor Doom, utilizing both sorcery and science, to carry out his machinations. I guess the producers of Robocop was so impressed after watching his performance, they chose to cast him as the amoral corporate cretin, "the Old Man."
Season of the Witch’s plot may seem bit absurd when you throw in Celtic Sorcery with masks, but when prying underneath the layers, there is more than expected depth. I picked up an anti-consumerism meta regarding people rushing out to buy heavily advertised merchandise, and how the manufacturers themselves, are brainwashing children, although in the case of this movie, it's way past the extreme as in some kid having Snakes and bugs coming out his head, killing his parents, the Kupfers.
I loved the self-referential scene where our hero Challis, is at a bar looking dumbfounded while watching a silly cartoon, followed by an advertisement of the first Halloween touted as "The immortal classic" followed by "Silver Shamrock!" Season of the Witch has a good amount of material to highly recommend to those uninitiated horror fans for its conspiracy elements, a decent amount of gore,like decapitation and a curious woman getting laser blasted in the face, with bugs coming out of her eviscerated mouth, with a more fucked up ending than Invasion of the Body Snatchers!
If there's one critique I have, was the cheesy love scene between Dan and Ellie, that comes off as a "Skinemax" scene, but that's the eighties! This is one of the not so many horror films, where the antagonist, ultimately wins in the end due to it’s mindfuckery finale.
Cochran arrogantly boasts about his “diabolical” schemes as a means of playing a “joke” on the populace during the holiday that originated via pagan rituals, and despite his expected departure, his “trick”, not treat, still paid off during the final 60 seconds with Dan trying to alert the broadcast stations about airing the mystical commercials. The nihilist ending as well as minor parts of the film, serves as an unintentional (?) homage towards Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Despite having less involvement in Halloween 3, it's still feels 💯 like a John Carpenter film thanks to the sequel’s cinematography, production values, (Carpenter and Hill) jump scares, atmospheric tension, a very bleak ending, and of course, the soundtrack courtesy of Carpenter and Alan Howarth. What once was loathed with a 47 percent fresh rating on the overrated Rotten Tomatoes, is now cemented as a cult classic.
Halloween III Season of The Witch is now available for streaming on Peacock.