Halloween III: Season of the Witch
aka The Last Halloween
1982


"The Night No One Comes Home."
Rated: R/15
US Box Office Revenue: $14,400,000
International Box Office Revenue: $?,???,???

Director – Tommy Lee Wallace
Writers – Nigel Kneale & Tommy Lee Wallace
Producers John Carpenter & Debra Hill

Cast:
Tom Atkins – Dr. Daniel 'Dan' Challis
Stacey Nelkin – Ellie Grimbridge
Dan O'Herlihy – Conal Cochran
Al Berry - Harry Grimbridge



7 ¼ Pies

Reviewed by Yankee


Plot Summary

When a “crazy man” is murdered in a hospital by a mysterious stranger who then commits suicide, Dr. Challis and the victim’s daughter investigate. Now it’s a race against time to stop a rich and powerful witch from decimating America’s children on Halloween night!


Review

The first time I saw this movie was during the same marathon referenced in my Halloween II review. You could imagine my confusion when Michael Myers did not appear nor was even mentioned. This marathon took place several years before Halloween 4 was even thought of so I was disgusted that this was the way the franchise was going to end. Like most Halloween fans, I immediately filed this movie in my brain under the “suck ass sequel” category.

Carpenter & Hill’s intention was to retire the Myer’s plot line with Halloween II and then have every new installment of the series feature a new Halloween related story. Uh, that could have been more convincing if there wasn’t already TWO Halloween’s featuring the same characters and storyline. As evident by Myer’s return in the next film, that plan didn’t fair too well, did it?

Years later, after it was established that this was no longer going to be the final installment, I decided to give this movie another chance and I’m glad that I did. While this movie doesn’t work in any way to feed the main franchise, it does work on many levels as an independent movie. Let’s take a closer look at it then, shall we?


Quotes:


Walter Jones: I was always taught that when someone needs help, you help them. Unless there's trouble. There isn't going to be any trouble is there?

Starker: Hey Cochran, fuck you!

Daniel Challis: I don't believe this commercial! It never stops!

Daniel Challis: You killed her!
Conal Cochran: Oh no, no, no! Ms. Guttman was the victim of a misfire. The others... [Checks his watch]


Review Extras:


Kill Count: 6 (Franchise Tally: 20)
Resurrections: 0 (Franchise Tally: 5)
Coolest Kill/Gore: Marge zaps herself fiddling with a defective Silver Shamrock seal.
Homage: Both a commercial and airing of ‘Halloween’ on Halloween night as traditional in the early 1980’s. Go figure!

 



Originality: ¾ Pie

The concept of the movie itself was quite original: a witch using big business to finance and facilitate arcane technology that will be used to destroy the children of America. However, the misuse of the Halloween franchise to green light this movie and all of the typical John Carpenter elements make this fall a tad short of a full pie.

 



Spook Factor: ¼ Pie


There is only the slightest bit of spookiness in Halloween III. The few “scares” are just moments of being startled by a henchman jumping out of a dark corner with evil synthesizer sounds for added effect.

 



Antagonist: ½ Pie

Conal Cochran is a diabolical villain indeed, complete with master plan to kill millions and laughing all the way to the bank as he profits from the very same people he will later kill. The problem with Cochran is that he wasn’t very scary in himself and when push came to shove, he was too easily defeated. Luckily, his master plan wasn’t so easily foiled.

 



Story: ¾ Pie

Definitely some great ideas used here. The fact that the story takes place in a world where the first two films are just movies (and thus suggesting that it takes place in the “real world”) adds some icing to the cake…er…pie! However, some plot holes and flawed logic make this story an even harder pill to swallow.

 



Acting: ½ Pie

Some good performances were done here, particularly by Atkins and O'Herlihy but the amount of bad acting done here was equal.

 



Directing:½ Pie

Directing was kind of middle of the road here. None of it was terrible, but by the same token most of it wasn’t great either. The feel of the whole thing was very 80’s which of itself isn’t a bad thing considering that it IS from the 80’s, but it is so much so that the film feels dated when you watch it now.

 



Soundtrack: ¾ Pie

Once again we are treated to original music as composed by John Carpenter himself with a little help from some friends. In a natural progression from one movie to the next, Carpenter delves deeper into synthesized music, heavy in bass tones. For the most part, it’s pretty effective for the scenes it’s used in.

Despite some people claiming that the original film’s music is used in one scene, this is inaccurate. If you pay closer attention you will see that it is just the music of the original film coming from the TV set tuned in to the same channel that will air the Silver Shamrock big giveaway.

 



Special Effects: ½ Pie

Plenty of special effects afoot here. While some of it is pretty cool (I always enjoyed practical makeup over CGI; not that they had a choice here), some of it has a cheese factor too. I’m not sure I understand the relevance of the green slime that oozes out of the henchman when defeated. Still, half a pie because it’s not Universal’s fault that any special effects at that time involving computers was horribly predictable and fake looking.

 



Gore: ½ Pie

The film is a little less shy about its gore than its predecessors. Still, it’s not quite enough to push it to the three-quarter pie range; mainly because there is more green then red used here. Still, for the time it is a good effort for a sequel to a “mainstream” horror franchise.

 



Replay, Rewatch, Rewind: ¼ Pie

A fun movie overall if you can get past the lack of Michael Myers, but you’ll likely only rewatch it if you haven’t seen it in a few years and it’s airing on TNT’s 13 Days of Halloween.

 


Pros

A good original horror movie that won’t really scare you, but will keep you occupied for 90 minutes.


Cons

No Michael Myers, No Haddonfield and no Laurie Strode despite claiming to be the third Halloween movie!

   
 


Final Word

Had this movie been released as John Carpenter’s Season of the Witch with a tag line of “from the people that brought you Halloween & Halloween II”, it may have stood a better chance of success both in the box office and with horror fans. Still, if you never had the pleasure, try renting this one or catching it during a horror marathon. Watch it as a Carpenter film detached from the Halloween series and you may find that you actually like this one like I did.

Happy, happy Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. Happy, happy Halloween, Silver Shamrock!

 
 
   
   
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