It's Horror Movie Month! "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" Review

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

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It's Horror Movie Month! "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" Review

Rating: R
Length: 102 minutes
Release Date: October 22, 1982
Directed by: Tommy Lee Wallace
Genre: Horror/Sci-Fi

"Halloween III: Season of the Witch" takes the viewer on a horrifying trip into the tradition of trick-or-treating. Starring Tom Atkins as Dr. Daniel Challis and Stacey Nelkin as Ellie Grimbridge, the film is a strange follow-up to the first two movies in the series.

The movie begins with Dr. Challis visiting his children at the home of his ex-wife. After presenting them with two Silver Shamrock Halloween masks, he returns to the hospital where he is a witness to an apparent murder suicide. The daughter of the murdered man, Ellie, shows up to identify the body. She is comforted by Challis and speaks to him about the circumstances surrounding her father's death. Challis is obviously shaken, especially when the police tell him the murderer was probably on drugs. He knew the suspect was in complete control of himself when he committed suicide. Ellie tells Challis her dad had purchased several Silver Shamrock masks prior to his death and was holding one when he was murdered. She was led to believe the mask played a role in his murder.

The two decide to investigate the factory where the masks are made to see if there is any connection. While in the town where the factory is located, Ellie meets Marge, and the two talk about the company and the masks. Marge shows her one of the masks and begins to complain about the quality. When Marge returns to her room, the mask's trademark symbol falls off and lands on the floor, revealing a microchip. Later, she picks up the symbol and begins to examine it. She pokes the microchip with a hairpin, and an electrical discharge incinerates her.

After a series of other events, the Doctor and Ellie soon discover the microchip is activated whenever a Silver Shamrock commercial is played on TV. Everyone wearing the mask during the ad is transformed and programmed to kill. Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy), the Shamrock inventor, intends to air the commercial on Halloween night when all the children have on the masks. Challis and Ellie set out to stop him.

The first "Halloween" movie in the series was released in 1978. It centered on a young psychotic man named Michael Myers(Tony Moran), who was institutionalized for the murder of his sister when he was just six years old. He wore a clown mask when he killed her. On Halloween, he escapes from the institution and goes on a killing spree in his home town of Haddonfield, Illinois. The second film in the series continued that story. Fans of the popular series entered theaters across the nation holding the belief that Michael would be the focus of the third installment, continuing the frightening tale, even though he had supposedly been killed in the second flick. In the first movie, Myers was shot at the end, only to disappear. Moviegoers were perhaps expecting another revival. This was not so. "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" went in a whole new direction, and it didn't involve the Myers legend. If you went to see the original film, you could possible draw a parallel with the mask Michael wore when he murdered his sister to the masks being produced in the new film. However, there was no explanation to indicate this was the case, and the film left many viewers wondering why the third movie was completely different from the others.

Children, who enjoy celebrating Halloween by going door to door for candy, normally receive a lecture from worried parents about tainted candy and warnings not to go into a stranger's home. "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" adds a new urban legend about scary masks that turn everyone into cryptic killers. Instead of children being afraid of neighbors passing out treats, the film gives us the lesson of how naive we are to trust industries and large corporations with hidden agendas.

While the story could have been better developed, it did seem to take some great elements from other successful horror flicks and create a new story. It has excellent visual effects for its time, and the theme in general can be compared with the 1978 movie, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."  The only true similarity this film has with the other two Halloween movies is that it takes place on Halloween.

Overall, the film is a worthy Halloween treat that would make a good addition to your fright fest. While it takes on a whole different direction to the other two movies, "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" is a combination of technology meets witchcraft with decent acting and an interesting storyline.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5