Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.
Please enjoy and leave a comment!
And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Our next film is…
WATCHING: Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
DIRECTOR: Tommy Lee Wallace. Besides working closely with original “Halloween” director, John Carpenter, this was his “masterpiece”. Take a second to let that sink in. It was all downhill from here.
WHAT IS IT?: What do you do when John Carpenter wants a “Halloween” movie WITHOUT Michael Myers as the antagonist and wants to make the franchise into an anthology series like “The Twilight Zone” setting stand-alone stories on Halloween night?
Why, you simply make a movie about a cult who has mastered the art of sending deadly signals through television sets, which will kill the victim — but only if you’re wearing one of their dorky Halloween masks.
Yes, it’s “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”, an actual entry into the “Halloween” franchise that had nothing to do with ANY of the other films.
THE PLOT: So, you know about the cult. I just told you. A shop owner who sells the masks finds his way to a hospital after going on the run from some weird Men in Black types. After believing himself to be safe, one of them murders the man as he’s resting on his cot, then kills himself. Apparently, the man was on to the cult and was going to try to expose them.
This sends the good Doctor Daniel Challis as well as the man’s daughter, Ellie, to find out why the man was killed. Tracking the mask he was holding to a factory in the seaside town of Santa Mira, the two discover the cult and intend to stop them from doing what they plan to do Halloween night — if only they didn’t own the entire town.
Nigel Kneale (the guy who produced freakin “Quatermass” for cryin’ outloud) was tapped to write the script for this mess and the story is mainly on him. The only thing he didn’t do was include the gore. He wanted a fairly intelligent story. But that all went to shit the moment Dino De Laurentiis (remember him from he last “Halloween” entry?) said “Nope, show me blood” and, boom, suddenly, we’re swimming in heads being pulled off bodies, eyes being pressed into eye sockets, and death rays which maim human faces and make them erupt with insects. The story was very much the same, except just a little roided up by “Halloween” crew member Tommy Lee Wallace, who also directed this. Kneale’s like “That’s cool, bro, but take my name off this piece of shit, will ya’?”
Presto, you have the dreck which is “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”.
WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: They hated it. Several of them thought it was cruel and mean-spirited. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see a movie about masks that murder millions of children across the country, right? I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the legions of fans who actually love the film. All the power to them. This thing was awful. Still is.
WHAT DID I THINK?: To say I have major problems with this film is an understatement.
One of my biggest issues is this:
WHO IN THE HELL WOULD WEAR ONE OF THESE THREE STUPID ASS MASKS?
Do other masks and costumes not exist? You don’t have anything else in your selection except for a pumpkin, skull, and a witch?
I was a kid. I knew many kids. There were skull and pumpkin masks galore when I was growing up. Kids weren’t wearing those. They were dressing like Star Wars characters and superheroes and princesses. They weren’t picking generic crap off a shelf and begging their parents to buy it for them. The masks you see here were the sort of thing that were left on shelves and hangers.
And don’t give me “Well, in this movie…”
There ARE other masks in this movie. They have a freakin’ WOOKIE MASK in a shot at the mask factory office!
But the kids in this stupid movie wear them and it’s hilarious to see them in skeleton masks to go with princess costumes, a kid with JUST a skull mask, and, OMG there’s a kid with a pumpkin head and a pirate hat on top of it because THAT matches.
Utterly ridiculous tripe.
On the plus side, the damn “Silver Shamrock” song is catchy as hell and the calliope pipe sound on the back end providing the beat for the song is something that is beyond creepy. It’s also far ahead of its time as far as modern folklore is concerned.
Curses-Via-Your-TV is the stuff of viral internet stories.
“Halloween III: Season of the Witch” just needed to be in the hands of people who gave a damn rather than sat on the sidelines, giving a thumbs up for a paycheck.