Connect with us


THN’s Guilty Pleasures: Halloween III: Season Of The Witch

Being the film fanatic I was growing up in the 1980s, or more specifically the horror film fanatic, I seemed to be the outcast amongst my friends and family. We seemed to fit into three types of groups: there were those in the Jason (Vorhees) camp, the Freddy (Kruger) camp, and then only one in support of Michael Myers! I wanted more than a hulking machete-wielding simpleton, or a razor-fingered wisecracker. It sounds a bit creepy I know, especially being around the age of eight or nine, but I bloody loved John Carpenter’s silent stalker.

That sounds even more inappropriate.

I just found something more fascinating, mysterious and ultimately frightening about Myers, who could seemingly pop up in any darkend frame of Carpenter’s classic and Rick Rosenthal’s bloodier-but-lesser sequel. As such, I couldn’t wait to see HALLOWEEN III, and I waited patiently for my older brother to rent the video, eager to see the return of ‘The Shape’!

On first viewing I hated HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH. Detested the bugger in fact. The Myer-less follow up sucked! I wanted to see that iconic figure walking down dark deserted suburbs, creepy corridors, sticking it to anyone in his path and hiding amongst the shadows. I wanted to see even more of the night HE came home! It took me a few years to catch HALLOWEEN III again, late on television, this time around during my mid-teens. Only this time it clicked. Had the film stuck with its sub-title SEASON OF THE WITCH, and distanced itself, perhaps it could have been a commercial and critical success, and not the disappointing black sheep of the HALLOWEEN franchise (amazing considering at least three of them are utter tosh).

It’s a pretty darn effective film when you stand back take it for what it really is. It features a devious and ingenious plot involving demented Silver Shamrock toy maker Conel Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), who attempts to turn trick-or-treaters into mush, with the aid of his new creation – latex masks. It’s up to cult favourite Tom Atkins – as Dr. Dan Challis – to uncover his sinister masterplan and stop him before October 31st (naturally). HALLOWEEN III is also helmed by the production designer responsible for Myers’ mask, Tommy Lee Wallace, who made his directorial debut for producers and close friends Debra Hill and Carpenter. The story and screenplay were also his (he’d also make us shit our pants with his mini-series IT, based on Stephen King’s best-seller).

Looking back, the film at times is cheesy as hell and very dated, but there’s a sense of genuine dread and foreboding menace running throughout. The fact anyone would want to murder all the children of America in such a maniacal way, and have a number of willing helpers and henchman (who reveal their true motivation in the surprise finale), suggests much darker undertones than the previous entries in the series (and the horror genre in general). Even Michael Myers allowed little Tommy Doyle to live despite bumping into him outside of school. But O’Herlihy’s villain is an old man who exudes disturbing coolness, and he’s able to make you shudder with just a wry smile.

I can still see why so many HALLOWEEN fans disliked this entry and it certainly suffered from association to the never-ending series. The video, laserdisc (remember them kids), DVD and poster designs are also some of the most striking and chilling in the genre. I implore you to take another look at SEASON OF THE WITCH, and if like me you thought it was shit first time around, you may just be surprised!

To quote the late O’Herlihy’s character Cochran ‘I do love a good joke and this is the best ever… a joke on the children.’

You don’t get much more fucked up than that.

Craig was our great north east correspondent, proving that it’s so ‘grim up north’ that losing yourself in a world of film is a foregone prerequisite. He has been studying the best (and often worst) of both classic and modern cinema at the University of Life for as long as he can remember. Craig’s favorite films include THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, JFK, GOODFELLAS, SCARFACE, and most of John Carpenter’s early work, particularly THE THING and HALLOWEEN.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Latest Posts


More in Features