“It’s time, It’s time, gather around your tv sets, put on your masks and watch the magic pumpkin” Too much tv can rot your brain, John Carpenter and Tommy Lee Wallace prove that point in their third installment to the Halloween franchise. When Halloween III: Season of the Witch was released, fans went into a murderous rage over the loss of their beloved horror icon Michael Myers. John Carpenter wanted to take the film series in a new direction by having each Halloween movie tell a different story, but fans were about as ecstatic as Annie Wilkes was when Paul Sheldon killed off her literary idol in Misery. Since it’s release in 1982, Halloween III has been criticized by horror fans for being too boring and too meek. Over the years this film has been overlooked because it deters so heavily from typical slasher conventions, rendering it weak in the eyes of horror fans alike. If John Carpenter had released this film under a different title, it may have been regarded as a decent film. 32 years have passed since its release, the time has finally come for Halloween III to get the respect it deserves.
Halloween III tells a new story about a doctor (played by Tom Atkins) investigating the murder of one his patients. His investigation eventually leads him to Santa Mira, a quaint village dominated by a large toy company called Silver Shamrock. Doctor Challis’s investigation leads him into unnerving discovery more horrifying than anything he could imagine. With a very shocking twist ending, Halloween III has more a Twilight Zone vibe to it, which is why fans were so angry about it. These types of horror stories require an appreciation for classic macabre story telling. This movie relies more on narrative than it does on stabbings and jump scares.
Sure Halloween III is not as psychologically jarring when compared to its predecessors, but its plot is still creepy and dare I say more sophisticated than Halloween? You will not see a continuous chain of horny teenagers being murdered, nor will you see an overabundance of jump scares and gore. Halloween III isn’t about psychopaths killing off morally corrupt teenagers, its about the evils of capitalism, It’s what happens when a society becomes too materialistic and forgets to look around at its surroundings. What makes Halloween III so unique is its central theme of capitalism and its effect on society. Tommy Lee Wallace depicts business men as cold robots who go around murdering the less fortunate, if that’s not enough, Halloween III has enough Halloween imagery in it to make you puke, which is kind of the point. Many scenes are saturated with Halloween masks, candy, decorations and a very annoying in your face Silver Shamrock commercial, all this to emphasize how materialistic society has become societies need to have to newest thing is what leads to it’s horrific undoing in Halloween III. This is what horror movies are really about: Exposing the flaws in society that people are just too damn afraid to talk about.
Halloween III does have some very edgy scenes in it. In the opening scene, Doctor Challis’s patient has his eyes gouged out by one of the robot businessmen in a very Oedipus style, the business man then douses himself in gasoline and sets himself on fire. The businessmen later return in another scene where they rip of the head of a homeless bum who threatened to burn their factory down. Robot businessmen are not the only scary additions to this film. The ending of the film (featuring a brief cameo appearance of Jamie Lee Curtis) is very similar and just as horrifying as the ending of Invasion of the Pod People. It’s ending is so shocking, so unexpected and very Hitchcockian.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Halloween III is the connection to Michael Myers that is later made in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. Halloween 6 is regarded as being the worst movie in the franchise due to it’s stock characters and ridiculous narrative, but it’s connection to Halloween 3 makes it also worth a watch, that is if you have a stomach for shitty horror movies. In Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers it is revealed that an evil Celtic curse was placed on Michael Myers, causing him to resurrect each Halloween and attack people to fulfill a ritual sacrifice, sound familiar? This is the same type of sacrificial ritual that is performed in Halloween 3, just in a different way. Both films are influenced by the same Celtic folklore.
Unfortunately Halloween 3’s biggest fault is it’s inclusion of Irish culture because it does so in a way that comes off as racist against Irish people . Anyone who is Irish, might find this film’s portrayal of Irish people to be highly offensive. The filmmakers decisions to depict the main antagonist, Conal Cochran, as an evil,corrupt, kid killer makes Halloween come off as Anti-Irish. There are many other scenes that depict negative stereotypes. The citizens of Santa Mira are poor, overly pious, violent drunks, all of the most offensive Irish stereotypes imaginable. But Halloween III isn’t as offensive as say Leprechaun.
If you like horror movies that rely on plot, and can overlook it’s racism, Halloween III is definitely worth checking out. What it lacks in jump scares, it makes up with a creepy plot. Halloween III: Season of the Witch is more than the typical horror fare, making for a rather enjoyable watching experience, especially around the Halloween season. Halloween III has its own je ne sais quoi and if it had been released under a different title, it probably would have received more praise than it did.
Just so you know:
DISCLAIMER: I am not a communist!