Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Just one year after part 2 comes this unrelated sequel that gets a lot of shit for no reason other than the fact that Michael Myers is nowhere to be found within.

John Carpenter, director of the original and co-writer of the second, decided that since Myers was killed off he would keep the franchise going by releasing a Halloween themed movie every October. It turns out that when the masses found out that The Shape wouldn’t be in this installment they stayed away completely and the film tanked. In the 30 years since this has become a bit of a cult classic and for good reason.
The story revolves around Dr. Challis (Tom Atkins), who witnesses the brutal murder of a patient under his care that was clutching a Halloween mask for dear life, by a man with extraordinary strength. He investigates the murder on his own and discovers a conspiracy to kill all the children on the planet on Halloween night through the use of booby trapped Halloween masks.

It sounds a little silly and it is. I still find it very entertaining regardless. Sure it’s improbable in the extreme and takes a trip through a cheese factory on multiple occasions, but the main plot about the elimination of the world’s children via something as innocent as Halloween masks is really creepy and is shown at one point to be extremely horrific and gruesome. There are buckets of gore thrown around here too, from ripped open skulls to mutilated faces, but since it’s not part of the Michael Myers mythos it doesn’t bother me so much.

The cast is decent, with Tom Atkins pulling out all the stops as Dr. Challis. He’s a likable actor and it comes through in his work here. We root for him as he uncovers all the goofy plot devices surrounding him. The rest of the cast is lackluster in the extreme. I have a feeling that they didn’t like the subject matter and just phoned it in. Even veteran actor Dan O’Herlihy, who plays the villain with plans to commit mass murder, seems disinterested in the material.
Director Tommy Lee Wallace doesn’t have much in the way of visual flair, but he does what he can with the material his old pal Carpenter gave him and somehow makes it work. It also has a great ending. It’s not a classic by any means, but it’s a fun and silly film that I get a kick out of repeatedly.

Now if only I can get that damned Silver Shamrock jingle out of my head… “8 more days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. 8 more days ‘til Halloween. Silver Shamrock!” 

3 out of 5

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