Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace [Other horror films: Fright Night Part 2 (1988), It (1990), Danger Island (1992), Vampires: Los Muertos (2002)]

There seems to primarily be two vocal camps about this film – one camp finds it a pretty enjoyable film, the other camp despises it for multiple reasons (from no Michael Myers to a silly story). Far be it for me to say that film is perfect, as it’s not, but I find myself firmly in the first camp, and Season of the Witch is a definite favorite of mine when it comes to Halloween-themed movies.

Plenty of reasons exist for this. I find the cast pretty solid, the story (though somewhat undercooked at certain parts) intriguing, the mystery and setting pretty fun, and that finale is literally excellent in every way.

Tom Atkins (of The Fog and Night of the Creeps) isn’t the most likable lead I’ve ever seen in a movie, but he does a good job at coming across as your every-day average man. Stacey Nelkin was cute in her role, and sort of fun, but ultimately not all that crucial. I think that Dan O’Herlihy was great, though, in his role of Cochran, and I sort of loved how Santa Mira treated him as a God – it made his character even more fun.

While the special effects were occasionally questionable, I do think the effect of the masks, what with the insects and snakes, is damn terrifying, and that first test sequence is fantastic, and given the conclusion of the film, you can only wonder exactly how many more slithery bois are now exploring their new lands. Also, while sort of hokey, I liked the electrical storm those computer chips caused near the finale.

The detective work that Atkins and Nelkin do isn’t anything special, but it was fun, if not a bit obvious. Their connection was never really the deepest, but watching them sleuth around a company-ran town, complete with over-surveillance and patrols, not to mention a curfew, really possessed a quality aura.

And as I said, I find the ending spectacular. While the whole android thing was 50/50 (I sort of like how it was partially down-played, and not necessarily obvious at first), the final couple of minutes was amazing. I loved the shots of children trick ‘r treating about an hour and ten minutes in (showing just how wide-spread Silver Shamrock’s reach is, along with showing that they even have vans with loudspeakers reminding kids to get home), and in particular, that Phoenix, Arizona shot, with the silhouettes, just looks amazing.

Silver Shamrock’s commercials have an incredibly catchy jingle, even catchier than The Stuff’s (Can’t get enough OF THE STUFF!), and I just love their brand. I’m not so sure of the pagan rituals and ancient Celtic rites, but with a jingle that catchy, how could they be wrong?

I get it – there’s no Michael Myers in the movie, and this is definitely not a slasher. As a huge fan of the first two movies, I can understand the disappointment. Still, I think this movie has a lot going for it, and were it not connected to the Halloween series, a big part of me says that this would be a bit more respected (though I am seeing more positive views nowadays than I did even five years ago, so it’s a start).

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is not flawless, but it is fantastic in many ways, and I utterly adore it and all of it’s Celtic, pagan joy.


Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

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