Night #29: Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (1982)

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

Directed By: Tommy Lee Wallace

Somewhere in the archives of these various things I’ve written about this before. Like I said I’ve tried watching movies this time that I hadn’t seen before, but every now and then a man just wants to see Halloween III, and who are you to stop him?

There’s not going to be a full review for this one (Not that these things are ever structured like reviews so much as they are some scattered thoughts separated by paragraphs) but I did just have some general thoughts: First of all this movie is honestly underrated. It’s not that the Halloween series were all that great. Of the big three these are arguably the weakest, but even so conventional wisdom is that this is one of the bad ones. I’d have to watch Halloween II again to be sure (Also a solid flick), but I’d put this one second to the original. Credit has to go to the idea to completely divorce itself from the other two movies (In fact it really does it by showing Halloween on the TV) and as I’m sure everyone knows by now the original idea was to release a movie each year focusing on the season, rather than the ongoing story of Michael Myers and his murderous shenanigans. Alas this movie ‘underperformed’ and so the plans were abandoned, then some 20 years later we get a sequel where Busta Rhymes does kung-fu.

I also need to give some extra love to one of my favourite character actors Tom Atkins.

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Patron Saint of my heart. 

He plays Dr Challis in the movie, and only in the 80s could Atkins be a leading man. Challis is awesome. He has kids he doesn’t pay child support for. He bangs a woman who looks to be about 18 (Seriously, he asks how old she is after he does the deed) and he drinks a whole lot. You can tell his drinking has to be bad because it’s literally the first thing his ex-wife says when he shows up with some halloween masks for his kids. Also, that lady he takes to bed tracks him down to a shitty looking bar and says “Your nurse told me you’d be here.” Already that raises a few questions, the main one being is him going to a bar in what’s clearly the middle of the day that common an occurance that the hospital staff know about it? Like “Oh it’s 1PM, that means Challis is down at the Double Deuce.”. Awesome.

The great thing about Atkins is that he more or less plays the same role in John Carpenter’s The Fog. He picks up Jamie Lee Curtis and within about 5 minutes he’s talked her into bed.

The man. The myth.

It still doesn’t entirely make sense to me, the events of this movie. I get them in broad enough strokes, but I always feel like I miss what the ultimate plan is over than killing a bunch of kids. Cochran, the evil Irishman who literally runs the whole town, wants to bring back the age of witchcraft, and is using the kids as a sacrifice, but that always seemed so half-hearted. I think he just hated kids. That motivation would’ve been clearer at least. When part of your plan hinges on you stealing a part of stonehenge (“You wouldn’t believe how we did it,” Cochran taunts, without offering the explanation) then you’re already on questionable ground as far as I’m concerned.

Still, there exists a kind of screed against American consumerism and a critique of big business. Cochran is using greed that fuels consumerism against itself. His plan hinges not only of the commercialisation of Halloween but the idea that these same people will then sit in front of the TV and watch his stupid advert in which he’s offering a big giveaway. It’s also mentioned that when Cochran moved to town, he didn’t give any jobs to the townsfolk and instead imported workers from outside. See, you sometimes get a little bit extra thrown in with your horror sequels.

Cochran’s plan is just one of those movie plans that are not thought out beyond when the movie ends. What happens the day after Halloween when all these kids are dead? And wouldn’t Cochran be out of business because there’s no way that he could ever pull that trick off again. No one in their right mind would touch Silver Shamrock products after they learn that the kids who have their faces melted off and replaced with bugs (Somehow). But hey I get it, you hate kids. But just do what Challis does to his own and ignore them.

It’s a shame that they went back to the well after this one. It could’ve been fun to have them churning out these unrelated sequels every year, and there’s no reason why they couldn’t have kept it going. Alas we’ll have to settle for this one, in all of its rough glory.

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