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Halloween III: Season of the Witch Review (1982)


My History With the Film:
I’ve told the story about discovering my love of horror films through Halloween several times over the years. It was my first true introduction into the genre and it’s a franchise I hold near and dear. If I had to make a guess, I’d say I’ve seen the first film at least 30 times, the second film 15 times, and the rest of the films somewhere between 5-10 times (excluding Rob Zombie’s). In all these watches over all these years, I’ve never once sat down to watch Halloween 3.

When I first got into horror movies in the mid-90’s, I heard nothing but bad things about Halloween 3 online. It was still relatively fresh in the minds of people who were disappointed that it didn’t include Michael Myers, and I could understand why. I had no interest in seeing a Halloween film without Michael Myers. So, I just skipped it and pretended like it didn’t exist.

Over the past ten years or so, I’ve noticed a change in the horror fanbase’s feelings regarding Halloween 3. The tone has changed from “Halloween 3 is a disgrace” to “It’s one of the better Halloween films” or “It’s great as long as you don’t expect Michael Myers to show up.” Upon purchasing the Halloween blu-ray boxset last year, I decided that it was time to give Halloween 3 a shot, and on one dreary, rainy Sunday afternoon, I closed the curtains and got comfortable and gave Halloween 3 a fair shot.

What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
A doctor discovers that a Halloween mask company is planning to turn kids into real monsters on Halloween.

What I Liked About It:
-John Carpenter did the score for Halloween 3 and its wonderful. From the opening credits I knew I was listening to something special. His distinct synth sound is always a joy and sets the mood for the film. This soundtrack is quickly going into my spooky playlist rotation.

-John Atkins is a fantastic actor and this film was made for him to shine. He carries the film and provides the audience with a great “every man” to relate to.

-The special effects were top notch. There is a scene in a hotel room involving a minor character discovering a micro chip that was truly haunting. It takes a lot to give me the creeps, but this scene managed to do it, thanks in part by a very adventurous bug.

-The town (Lolita, California) that was used for Santa Mira has a very distinct look and feel to it. It’s not quite abandoned mining town, but not quite strange small town. It feels like it exists in-between those two realms in some fantasy world.

-I loved the ending. Those last two minutes were perfect and I love the ambiguity of the ending.

-Although unnecessary, I enjoyed the nods to the original Halloween movies. I won’t spoil them, but there are several scenes and actresses that pop up.

-The film is broken down into days that are leading up to Halloween and I really like when films use this chronological filmmaking technique. It helps the viewer build up to the big ending/reveal.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-::SPOILER:: You’ll see me write this over and over again, but I hate body snatcher type movies and I hate robots. They do nothing for me and as much as I loved the first half of this film, once it turned into a robot story I began to lose interest in the story. Sadly, I love the idea of witchcraft in the computer age, especially of the early 80’s, I just hate the use of animatronics.::END SPOILERS::

-I really liked almost everything about this movie, except for a certain part of the plot. You’ll have to see the spoiler above, but I highly recommend you watch the movie before doing so.

-I’m good never hearing “London Bridge” again for the rest of my life.

Additional Notes:
-This is an interesting look at the original concept of having the Halloween franchise become an anthology series. Halloween 3 wasn’t as strong of a movie compared to the first two Halloweens, but I really liked the concept. In a fantasy world I could see Trick R Treat being part of the Halloween anthology franchise and I like that thought.

-The idea behind turning the Halloween franchise into an anthology series was created by John Carpenter following the death of Michael Myers in Halloween 2. However, Halloween 3 under-performed and that plan was dropped.

-The gas station featured at the beginning and end of the film can also be seen in The Fog.

-The novelization of Halloween 3 went onto become a best seller, despite the critical failure of the film.

-The filmmakers used “London Bridge” as Silver Shamrock’s jingle because it was in the public domain.

-The town name Santa Mira is the same town used in 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

-Joe Dante was the original director for Halloween 3, but dropped out to pursue another project.

It’s taken me over twenty years to finally get around to watching Halloween 3. In that time span I’ve heard a lot of good things and a lot of bad things about the film. I went in with an open mind and made no comparisons to the rest of the Halloween films. This was a standalone 80’s horror movie as far as I was concerned.

With that being said, I liked a lot of the film. I like the cast, the music, the setting, and even the story. What I didn’t like was an intricate part of the plot that I don’t think would bother many others. In trying to keep things spoiler free, I can’t dive into that too deeply (you can see what I’m talking about behind the spoiler tag above). I guess, I would say I enjoy 70% of what Halloween 3 is and despite having a great final minutes, I lost a lot of my interest during the last twenty minutes.

Overall I enjoyed what I saw and I’ll definitely be listening to the soundtrack in the years to come, but I don’t see myself revisiting this film anytime soon. I’d rate Halloween 3 a three out of five and say it’s a rental.

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