When is a sequel not a sequel? When itâ€™s Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. As everyone knows by now, H3 is the only entry in the series that doesnâ€™t feature Michael Meyers, or any events related to his hijinks (although we do get to see a glimpse of the original Halloween movie on a TV in the background). H3 was Carpenterâ€™s attempt to turn the Halloween franchise into something unique, a different story every year (or however long in between films). The outcry over the lack of MM in H3 was so loud, however, they went back to the well and drained it starting with H4. Itâ€™s a shame because for all intents and purposes, H3 is a decent movie that deserved more attention when it was released. The fact itâ€™s reached an almost cult like status today is testament to the movie’s strength.
H3 starts out with a pretty exciting chase sequence. We see an older man running, clutching a Halloween mask being pursued by men in suits. He manages to get to a service station, where the attendant takes him to the hospital. Heâ€™s sedated and taken to a private room while still clutching the mask (I guess no one thought to take it away from him), where heâ€™s attacked and killed by one of the men in suits in a rather gruesome way.
So hereâ€™s a piece of trivia before we go on, Nancy Kyes (aka Nancy Loomis), who played Annie Brackett in the original Halloween, has a cameo here as the main characters ex-wife, who it turns out is director Tommy Lee Wallace, her real life ex-husband.Â Fascinating, isnâ€™t it? I have no doubt she has this role in the film simply as an Easter Egg, as she bears no importance whatsoever in the movie, other than as a thorn in Tom Atkins side.
Ahhh, Mr. Atkins, he of the porn â€˜stache and 70â€™s mode of dress, where would we be without your virile presence? Â Look, I like Tom, I really do, I think heâ€™s a fine actor, most of the time, and I wouldnâ€™t want to get into a bar fight with him, but heâ€™s not really what I would call a leading man. Heâ€™s a fantastic supporting player, but I donâ€™t think he has enough oomph (a technical term) to carry a movie. There are people who will no doubt disagree with that, and theyâ€™re entitled to be wrong. Atkins even looks kind of uncomfortable in H3 as well.
Anyway, Atkins plays a Doctor, and he meets the dead manâ€™s daughter when she goes to identify the body. To make a long story short they both agree to investigate her fatherâ€™s murder because something doesnâ€™t seem right. I guess being murdered in the hospital was their clue. Just from this you can gather they have the investigative prowess of our dear friend Dr. Loomis and his inability to track MM anywhere close to where he actually was. Their initial investigation takes them to the small town of Santa Mira, home of Silver Shamrock, the novelty company that makes Halloween masks. They check into the motel where the owner tells them that Silver Shamrock is responsible for the townâ€™s prosperity. The fact it looks like a ghost town is beside the point I assume. The good doctor signs the log in, and notices that Ellieâ€™s father had stayed their prior to his disappearance. This bit of information means absolutely nothing, as they donâ€™t do anything with it, as they were directed to the factory where theyâ€™d planned on going anyway.
While staying the night, the studly Doctor of middle aged boners, beds Ellie whoâ€™s half his age, and we then get to see the most horrible sight of the entire movie. Tom Atkinâ€™s ass. In the afterglow as heâ€™s getting dressed, one of the other lodgers finds a button logo that goes on the Halloween masks. As she diddles with the microchip inside, it activates a laser which gives her some free dental work, assorted burns and an untimely death.
As they wheel her out of the motel room, Conal Cochran , the owner of Silver Shamrock shows up, and advises Atkins that sheâ€™d get the best care possible. Neither Dr. Challis or Ellie really buy that and they decide to head out to the factory in the morning. Once there, they run into a couple and their son who are also staying at the motel, and wind up getting a tour of the factory with them, led by Conal Cochran himself.
On their way out Ellie sees her fatherâ€™s car in a garage, and as she approaches, the men in suits block her way. From here , we get into the third act and one of the goofiest endingsÂ I can remember. Well, let me explain that, everything after they escape from the factory is pretty damn good, but the way Conal is dealt with is really, really dumb.Â Thereâ€™s his iconic speech about Druidism and witchcraft, not to mention Stonehenge-yet when heâ€™s killed, he simply fades away like a ghost. Itâ€™s the most wtf death in any of the Halloween movies.
H3â€™s ending is ambiguous, and I like that, though itâ€™s probably not everyoneâ€™s cup of tea. However, when all is said and done, the ending is about as chilling as you can get.
Tommy Lee Wallace did a pretty good job handling the direction. No newcomer to the franchise (he was art director on the original), it was his directorial debut. Heâ€™ll never be among the ranks of classic horror directors, but he held his own, getting some pretty good performances from his actors.Â As I said earlier Atkins is fine as the horndog Doctor, but simply isnâ€™t a leading man. His leading lady, Stacey Nelkin is slightly worse, but not unwatchable, and I did feel sorry for her having to lay under Mr. Atkins during their love scene.
Of course the shining jewel in the whole film is Conal Cochran himself, as embodied by the fantastic Dan Oâ€™Herlihy. If nothing else, H3 is worth watching for him. Fortunately thereâ€™s a lot more to recommend it, but Oâ€™Herlihy is at the top of the list.
H3 deserves another look if you havenâ€™t seen it for awhile (the computers in the factory are really pretty funny, looking like something out of Star Trek-the old series). Â If you can put out of your mind itâ€™s part of the Halloween franchise and take it for it is, youâ€™ll have a good, creepy time.
Tomorrow: Halloween 4: The Return of MIchael Meyers. I’ll let you know if the reunionÂ is everythingÂ we hope it could be!