Night #29: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Directed By: Tommy Lee Wallace

” I do love a good joke and this is the best ever: a joke on the children.”

No, it’s not named after the fantastic Donovan track, it’s one of the most bizarre sequels in all of filmdom.

So how do you follow up Halloween and the actually decent Halloween 2? Well if you’re John Carpenter then you come up with the idea of releasing a series of movies under the Halloween name, all unrelated to the namesake, and tell a different scary story set around everyone’s favourite time of the year. So you take that idea and somehow you end up with Halloween III: Season of the Witch (I just like using the full title). To say its a failure is an understatement. Actually no, that would be a statement. The movie was a failure, with people staying home in droves. I can see why they would, though I can’t help but love it.

First off it stars Tom Atkins, one of the more badass character actors around. He’s great here, just as he was in The Fog. In both movies he somehow manages to bed women half his age in what I can only assume was some kind of contract clause. Not that you can blame him of course. He’s just always watchable, and brings a great sort of tired energy to anything he’s in (That may seem an oxymoron…and you’re right – but it’s descriptive).

The movie itself is such a mess, and makes very little sense, but it’s insane and sometimes that’s enough. The plot is basically that two people stumble across a plan from the Silver Shamrock toy company that when the kids put their Halloween masks on and their special jingle plays, their faces will get eaten. We’re shown this in a grisly demonstration. There’s some links to Samhain and the origins of Halloween (And Stonehenge) but it’s all just…madness.

It’s not all greatness. The pacing is weird and the movie looks cheap most of the time. But damn it there’s something about it that just works. Maybe its just because the rest of the movies aren’t very good – including the one where Busta Rhymes does some Kung Fu – that this one looks better by comparison. I prefer to think it’s because it just fully commits to its mental premise that you can’t help but love it a little bit.

It’s not as iconic as the first movie for sure, and fans have taken longer to warm to it than they did with Halloween 2, but it’s fast become one of my quintessential movies for the Halloween season.

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