Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Horror,Sci-Fi Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a 1982 science fiction horror movie distributed by Universal.  It stars Tom Atkins as Dr. Dan Challis, Stacey Nelkin as Ellie Grimbridge, Dan O’Herlihy as Conal Cochran, Michael Currie as Rafferty, and Ralph Strait as Buddy Kupfer.  The producers are Debra Hill (Clue) and John Carpenter (TV movie Body Bags).  The director is Tommy Lee Wallace (Fright Night Part 2).

The film opens with a man named Harry Grimbridge being chased by mysterious men wearing business suits and black gloves.  He reaches a filling station attendent who takes him to the hospital.  At the hospital, he is placed under the care of Dr. Dan Challis who hears him ranting, “They’re gonna kill us all!”  He is given thorazine and sent to bed.  Another strange man wearing a suit and gloves enters the hospital and kills Grimbridge.  But before Dr. Challis can stop him, he enters his car and dumps gasoline all over himself.  Then, he lights himself on fire.  The only clue as to why the man may have been there is a Halloween mask.  He and Grimbridge’s daughter Ellie head to a small town called Santa Mira, California, the home of the company that made the mask, Silver Shamrock.  The company is owned by Conal Cochran.  Ellie and Challis stay at the same motel that Ellie’s father had stayed in.  The next day, the two of them take a tour of the Silver Shamrock factory.  After the tour, Ellie spots her father’s car being guarded by more men in business suits.  She tries to get to it but is stopped.  Later on, she is kidnapped, so Challis breaks into the factory to find her.  Eventually, he is captured by Cochran’s men and shown the whole plan behind the mysterious Halloween masks.  Cochran ties the doctor up and locks him in a room with one of the masks on.  A television is turned on, waiting for Silver Shamrock’s big giveaway which will cause something bad to happen to anyone wearing the masks.

Actor Dan O’Herlihy’s role as the Irish owner Conal Cochran is remarkably similar to a role he played five years later, which was the role of the Old Man in Robocop.  The Old Man was the owner of another company trying to turn a place into something he viewed as better than it actually was, OCP.  In Halloween III, Cochran pretty much owns the town of Santa Mira as all of its prosperity comes from his company.  Cochran has video cameras everywhere in the town so he can spy on its inhabitants or any stranger who passes through.  Put simply, Cochran’s company runs the town and everything in it.  In Robocop, the Old Man has a plan to tear down Old Detroit and build a corporate-owned city known as Delta City.  The main difference between the two situations is that in Halloween III, Santa Mira has already become corporate-owned whereas in Robocop, Old Detroit is planning to become corporate-owned if the Old Man gets his way.

Upon retrospect, the idea to discontinue the Michael Myers saga from the first two Halloween films was not a very smart one.  The original plan for the creators of the films was to kill off Michael Myers at the end of Halloween II and go to a different story for the second sequel.  What is the obvious reason to deviate from a successful slasher film series to more of a “mad scientist” storyline is a mystery.  The first two films were quite successful, so one has to say, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!”  Plus, Halloween III is quite out of place in the series, considering the lack of success led to the return of slasher killer Michael Myers in Halloween 4.

To wrap, Halloween III is the “black sheep” of the Halloween franchise and may have been better off being a separate film from the series.

1 thought on “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”

  1. I completely agree.I think the film would’ve found its audience and fan base if it would’ve been completely separated from the Halloween franchise. It was very ahead of its time and I think it is very underrated.

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