Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

AKA: The Last Halloween
(Release Date: October 22, 1982)



ANTI-SHAPEly Critic!!!
J.C. Maçek III
The World's Greatest Critic!

After the successful "offing" of one Michael Myers in Halloween 2 Original Producers Debra Hill and John Carpenter (who also wrote the creepy piano score) returned to the Franchise with Executive Producer Moustapha Akkad, Universal Pictures and Dino De Laurentiis Productions to help create this wildly unpopular and unsuccessful sequel-in-name-only to Halloween. The idea, reportedly, was to create a new miserable experience for all future entries into the saga, circumventing previous events like Gregory Benford with a case of White Out.

While this film has its fans and has developed a loyal following since its initial trouncing, detractors will tell you that this is the worst film of the bunch, mainly because "Michael Myers isn't in it!", "Jamie Lee Curtis isn't in it!" and "It has no connection to any of the other films in the series."

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While Halloween III: Season of the Witch is, most definitely, the reason for a Bitch, there are a whole lot more reasons to bitch than those three. Let's examine briefly. First, Michael Myers does appear in this movie... sort of. While our main character is in the bar (Chapter 5 on the DVD, screen date of October 29), the bartender changes the channel and we're greeted by a TV Preview for a re-release of Halloween, sponsored by Silver Shamrock. There we see old Uncle Mike (probably as played by Nick Castle) running down the stairs. Second, Jamie Lee Curtis can also be seen in the TV Preview (though the Bartender's arm blocks the view slightly) as she slides down the self-same stairs. Oh, is that not enough for you? Well, listen closely to the voice of the operator (also the weird town's announcer lady)... it's Jamie all right. While the preview doesn't count as an actual "connection" to Halloween (in fact, it's proof that this takes place in a different continuity) the Assassin is played by Dick Warlock, who played Michael in the second film. Lastly, the Halloween tradition of hot chicks getting with lumpy, dorky guys is alive and well here as the super-sugary Stacey Nelkin winds up woefully in bed with push-broom-faced leading man Tom Atkins.

Is that not enough for you?

Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh... me either. Leaving all that aside, Halloween III does suck pretty hard, any way you slash it. Now, it may not be the tepid piece of dumpster-salvaged underwear that you've heard it is. In fact, I found myself interested enough in a place or three to stop reaching for my antacid tablets. Many times I thought this film might have actually worked without the "Halloween" title changing expectations drastically. But then... well, I'm not so sure that a "Laser Battle"(!) was something that the other two films really lacked. Indeed, I didn't once find myself in any of the Halloween films wishing for the presence of Robots(!!), especially hard to kill robots who come at the main characters even after being decapitated and squeezing out sparks. Snakes, Bugs, Arachnids either teleporting or being created out of thin air... that, I don't think, really fits in with the thought of the films.

Surely I'm kidding, right? Surely I'm just dickin' around for a good joke, right? I mean, you saw Halloween III, and you don't remember robots and lasers and all that Science Fiction crap, right? Watch it again, if you dare... that's all in there like Oregeno in Prego.

It all starts with some old dude named Harry (hairy Al Berry) fleeing from a couple of X-Files-esque business suit wearing ass-grabbers, and eventually right into a Hospital bed where he tells tout le monde that "They're going to kill us. All of us! All of us!" Naturally, someone comes and kills him that night.

His Doctor of Mediocre Aptitude (Atkins' Dan Challis) has his interest piqued, partially because the killer sets himself on fire immediatley after the murder, but mostly because Harry's Super-Hot daughter Ellie Grimbridge (Nelkin) shows up and suggests they "work together". Look, kids, '80's hair style and all, if this lady showed up and suggested I do much of anything for her, I'd do it, baby.

Their wacky escapades lead them to the small, body-snatching Irish-American Stronghold in California known as Santa Mira where the mask that ol' Harry was boggarting was made. Yep, good old Silver Shamrock, the stupid company whose commercial we see about a zillion times. Talk about foreshadowing. To make a boring story shorter (but no less boring), they have hot sex (we get too few glimpses of the hotness, though), investigate the mystery of these stupid masks (equipped with Computer Chips, no less), watch their fellow Mask Sellers get picked off, and ultimately face off with the evil head of this corn chip conspiracy, Dan O'Herlihy's Conal Cochran.

Now this biter takes Halloween very seriously, and wants to kick it all back to its Samhain-inspired druidic roots. Great if you're a witch-licking neo-Kelt with a goth fetish, but bad if you're a kid wearing a highly technological mask-of-death.

Along the way Writer/ Director Tommy Lee Wallace (along with fellow writer Nigel Kneale, who reportedly sued to have his name removed from this thing) makes a few interesting stabs at suspense and horror, especially surrounding the creepy town in which everyone could be either a Stockholm Syndrome Victim or a Stepford Wife. However, almost every time this starts to get to the point where we might get engrossed, they throw in something corny like... oh, like a decapitation scene that shows just how much the producers invested in LATEX. Seriously, could the special effects look a little MORE fake, please? I was just getting to the point where I could tell the Robots from the Real Dudes... making a real dude look faker than Michael Jackson's nose blissfully confuses me all over again. Kick Ass, man!

It all culminates in an ending that is almost as predictable as it is unbelievable. It takes a special somethin'-somethin' to manage to be both expected and hard to believe. I almost admire that, actually. That's a reconcilliation of Opposites that even John Keats and William Blake could tip their hats to. It's like, "HOLY SHIT, I like totally saw that coming! What a shock!" You know, you take a predictable ending and spice it up with elements that couldn't convince Gulliver, you've got a shocking dichotomy there... a fearful Symmetry, a...

Damn... why do I talk like this? This isn't just, like, on this site, we're talkin' business meetings and conversations with Suzanne and Michelle and... and my priest. Shoot.

Well, at least when Halloween went all Sci-Fi they didn't go into space like Jason X or Hellraiser 4 or From Justin to Kelly. The movie does indeed suck, however. It's not as bad as you may have heard, but man... it sucks. Headless robots with tapioca blood, diablo-ex-machina vermin, rubbery special effects, continuity for shit and censored nudity all leads up to a very generous Two Stars out of Five. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go take my daughter Trick-Or-Treating... I've gotten her a Power Rangers costume, a ray-gun I made with a Flash Light and a little red lens I got from an old pair of 3D glasses and a cute little plastic Jack-O-Lantern to collect the treats in. Oh, it's gonna be so cute. She keeps complaining because, you know, she's 16 and a Half, but, hey, Halloween's important, right?

Right. See you in the next reel.

This was more like SHALLOWEEN!
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Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) Reviewed by J.C. Maçek III
who is solely responsible for his own views
But never for In-Name-Only Sequels!
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Does "THE SHAPE" refer to Stacey Nelkin's breasts? I wanted to see more of HER Shamrock!
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