Tuesday, October 31, 2017

My Review of Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch (1982)

Written & Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace

Daniel: "Witchcraft."
Cochran: "To us, it was a way of controlling our environment. It's not so different now... it's time again. In the end, we don't decide these things, you know; the planets do. They're in alignment, and it's time again. The world's going to change tonight, Doctor, I'm glad you'll be able to watch it. And... Happy Halloween."

Probably the most controversial thing you can do in the Halloween movie franchise was done back in 1982 when for the series third entry, they decided to take Michael Myers out of the equation and it went down like a lead balloon. However time is a great thing as this movie has garnered more affection over the last couple of decades and it's easy to see why.

Instead of seeing Laurie Strode getting terrorised for the third time by her knife wielding indestructible older brother, this time the action takes place in California where womanizing doctor Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) finds himself embroiled in a dark conspiracy when a toy store owner ends up dying in mysterious circumstances at the hospital and with the aid of the man's daughter, Ellie (Stacey Nelkin), the two of them soon realise the trouble is in a small town, which harbours the Silver Shamrock factory, run by Cork man Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy), who has his own sinister agenda for Samhain/Halloween.

This is certainly a dark movie and arguably even a little more scary without Michael Myers hacking up the main cast every five to ten minutes as well. Unlike the first two movies, this one has no problem with actually killing children as Cochran's grand scheme involves a jingle that activates the Silver Shamrock mask to murder kids and we're given one pretty graphic demonstration in the movie halfway through.

In the original script Cochran was meant to be a 2000 year old demon and it's certainly implied in his heated exchanges with our hero, Challis that he's been around for a couple of centuries alright. I'm not entirely sure if his scheme to murder people on Halloween and essentially replace them with robots (which significantly happens to Ellie towards the end of this movie) actually holds up but they're definitely menacing as we get to see some rather unfortunate people meet their demise at the hands of Cochran's robotic henchmen, including one particularly gory scene involving a drill.

The ending itself is also a rather suitably grim moment that also reminds you that even without a certain knife wielding maniac you're watching a Halloween movie and to be honest, much as I love Michael Myers (not morally obviously), it's a shame the idea of an actual anthology series with different stories didn't properly catch on as this was a great starting template for the idea.

- Jamie Lee Curtis actually has an uncredited voiceover role while Nancy Loomis (Annie) also plays Challis's ex-wife for a scene or two.
- Yup, there's also the scene where a tied up Dan is actually forced to watch the original Halloween movie before he escapes. At least Cochran didn't butcher the word Samhain like Sam Loomis did in the previous movie.
- The movie's tagline "the night no-one came home" is one of the best taglines I've seen for a movie. I'm just throwing that out there.
- You're going to hate me for this, but here's a link to Silver Shamrock to enjoy .... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7-uC0LDllM

Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch might be the oddity of the franchise but in it's own right, it's a genuinely great movie, ripe with memorable moments from start to finish and a bloody great antagonist in Cochran. This is definitely a movie that deserves more love than it's gotten in the past.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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