The year had to have been 1987 or 1988 when I first became interested in horror. It was probably on a Friday or Saturday night watching television when I came across the coolest thing ever on HBO. This guy using a chainsaw to cut off his possessed hand. Way too intense for me, but before I changed the channel what was once horror quickly turned to comedy. I quickly grabbed the monthly HBO program guide and learned what I was watching was called EVIL DEAD II: DEAD BY DAWN. It wouldn't be till seven or eight years later that I really knew what this movie was or what it means to me.
While seeing Ash fight his possessed hand was the coolest thing ever, my real love of horror began with Freddy Kruger and the Dream Warriors. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: THE DREAM WARRIORS was the very first slasher film I ever watched in it's entirety. I watched it on late night broadcast television because I was so scared. Turns out the film was more funny and cool than scary. At school friends knew more about the Elm Street movies than EVIL DEAD II: DEAD BY DAWN, so Freddy it was then.
So it's the mid nineties and me and my buddy watch one of the classics, John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN. This film changed my life. How? That's a whole other post my friend. HALLOWEEN was the first horror film that I found important. If I remember correctly we did a double feature with the sequel HALLOWEEN II? My reaction to HALLOWEEN II made me a fan of slasher films for life. It's not my favorite slasher film but because of HALLOWEEN II the genre clicked with me.
So what's next, HALLOWEEN 3? My buddy had done his homework and told me this is one we can avoid, it doesn't have anything to do with Michael Myers. Which leads us to HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH.
For many years I have hated HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH. No Michael Myers in your movie? Lame. Thank goodness for HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS. This was my line of thinking for the longest time. It wasn't until a few years ago that I wanted to watch “the one without Michael Myers” just to see if I could enjoy it as a stand alone horror film. The answer is kind of. The film does things I like about it, but as a whole I see the movie as a misfire. The attempt to make the Halloween film franchise a horror anthology was indeed a step in the right direction but with the box office boom of slasher flicks it was a mistake to try something different.
I could see myself enjoying this film as a double or triple feature with other horror movies. Or sharing it at movie nights with the uneducated.
Shop owner Harry Grimbridge is taken to the hospital after colapsing holding a Silver Shamrock jack-o-lantern mask. After an apparent suicide/murder Dr. Challis and Ellie, the victim's daughter immediately investigate. Their clues lead them to the small town of Santa Mira, California, home of the Silver Shamrock mask making factory. The two learn of Conal Cochran, Mr. Cochran is the sole reason for the towns prosperity. After meeting some townsfolk, Dr. Challis and Ellie get the feeling that something just isn't right about the town or the Silver Shamrock factory. Things get ugly when the two discover Grimbridge's car. They are captured and Cochran tells Challis of his evil plan to kill thousands on Halloween. The Silver Shamrock trademark on the masks contains a computer chip containing fragments of Stonehenge. When the Silver Shamrock commercial airs on Halloween night, the chip will activate, killing the wearer and unleashing a lethal swarm of insects and snakes, killing those around the wearer. Cochran explains his plan to resurrect macabre aspects of Gaelic festival Samhain, which he connects to witchcraft.
Will Dr. Challis stop this madman in time or will it truly be the “season of the witch”?
The idea behind the movie is cool but the filmmakers should have just stuck with Micheal Myers.
The few things that I like about HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH is the fact that the film is indeed creepy from time to time. The cameos from actors that were in HALLOWEEN are cool. Listen for Jamie Lee Curtis as you hear her voice over a P.A system reminding the town of it's curfew. But the best thing about the movie is actor Tom Atkins! Such a cool guy. If you've never seen NIGHT OF THE CREEPS I highly recommend it!
Would the film have been more of a success if it had dropped the Halloween moniker? I honestly do not think that it would. It would have the same cult classic appeal that is does today. That's what I think anyway, who knows really?
I only feel comfortable recommending HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH to horror movie buffs like myself.