It is good to see film that was so hated in the past undergo a critical re-evaluation. Some of the most famous examples would be: Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) (Now considered to be one of the greatest movies of all time) as well as Buster Keaton’s silent masterpiece The General (1926). Now, I am not here to declare Halloween III: Season of the Witch to be even of comparable quality to those two films, but at the time, the reason why this movie was so hated was just because it lacked slasher-icon Michael Myers. So, it seems as if people back then did not even pay attention to the actual quality of the movie itself and just were angered at the sudden genre shift towards much more witchcraft and magic-oriented horror. However, now people are realizing that Tommy Lee Wallace directed a pretty fun, albeit uneven B movie.
Where John Carpenter’s Halloween (1979) just happened to take place on the night of Halloween, Halloween III is completely centered around (and relies upon) the holiday. We have a creepy mask factory, some cool practical gore effects, and TV’s sending out signals to take back Halloween to its sacrificial roots. The film manages to be mostly original with its plot, but sadly, it still falls into some lazy writing clichés such as a really pointless and undeveloped romance between Dr. Challis (Tom Atkins) and Ellie (Stacey Nelkin). Other instances of Halloween III‘s clichés are much more fun and really help it shine as a B grade horror film. Such as, a creepy town that is very unwelcome to visitors as well as an evil businessman pent on world destruction.
The soundtrack is a synthesizer extravaganza, composed by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth. It gives off an eerie and unsettling vibe that fits the town of Santa Mira and the subject matter at hand. Possibly the most remembered song is the “Silver Shamrock Halloween Commercial” which is an ear worm (set to the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down”) that is near impossible to get out of your head whenever this film comes to mind.
Halloween III is an interesting and overlooked horror film that seems to be gaining more recognition as time goes on. The film was supposed to help turn the Halloween series into an anthology series with all planned films also centered around Halloween. This idea most likely confused too many people as Halloween II (1981) had Michael Myers in it. And the backlash was so heavy and the box-office returns so little that, six years later they gave the public what they wanted with Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988).