In 1982, following the massive success of 1978’s now iconic horror classic “Halloween” and it’s 1981 sequel “Halloween II,” filmmakers wanted to keep the “Halloween” franchise name going, but move the series away from the Michael Myers character. In a way it made sense. Given how “Halloween II” ended; there was no way Michael could be brought back… So, with the creation of “Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” Michael Myers was dropped, and the producers involved hoped to start a new series with one goal: release a movie each year with “Halloween” in the title, with nothing else connecting them than simply having that familiar name in the title.
That plan did not work!
“Halloween III: Season of the Witch” was a massive failure. While it later became a fan favorite in its own way, similar to a cult classic, it was badly reviewed by critics, and highly complained about by fans that went to see it expecting Michael Myers, even though it was more than enough hammered home that it had nothing to do with him! Moving on quickly as they seemingly always do, the powers-that-be in Hollywood hit the proverbial “reset” button and figured out a way (a very dumb one) to bring Michael Myers back for “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.”
Despite his return in part four – which led to further “returns,” leading all the way up to the worst entry in the series, number eight aka “Halloween: Resurrection” – three slowly became a phenomenon of its own. This was mainly thanks to loads of airings on TV over the course of the 1980’s and 1990’s. TV channels, both network and cable, frequently played it during the lead-up to the actual Halloween holiday, and the more people watched it the more many realized it is actually a fun and fairly decent movie.
I was not one of those people…until recently!
When it comes to the icons of the horror movie genre – Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Chucky, the Leprechaun, etc. – Michael Myers and the “Halloween” franchise has always been my favorite. This is because, out of those that are listed, he is the only one that is human. To me, this aspect makes him way scarier than any of the others out there. He isn’t a supernatural entity like Freddy, which lives in nightmares and can kill you in your dreams, or the Leprechaun that only comes after you if you steal his gold. Michael Myers is a real person, whose actions can’t really be explained. Over the course of the series, doctors, police officers, and members of the general public all try to explain, and the ones that don’t get murdered by him in the process are left to just one conclusion: he is unstoppable, and nothing but pure evil in human form.
Because of my appreciation of Michael Myers, I had always avoided “Halloween III: Season of the Witch.” In my mind, if I was to watch a “Halloween” movie, it was going to be one about him. This went on my entire life, clear until 2017 when I was convinced by a friend to finally give it a shot. That, and the fact that I had decided to re-watch the entire series from beginning to end – along with watching both the remake and its sequel, and felt it was time to no longer leave it out.
I am perfectly fine with admitting that I was wrong, because I loved it!
I am a total sucker for cheesy 80’s movies, whether they are comedies, action, or horror. This movie is super cheesy, and that is what makes it great!
Despite the title, the movie has absolutely nothing to do with a witch. To this day, this is a topic that is frequently discussed online by fans of the movie/franchise. Most people prefer to ignore it and refer to it as only “Halloween III,” which is a perfectly acceptable decision, one I have made to do myself. Also, the movie takes place in a world where “Halloween” technically exists (it is shown playing on TV in the background of a scene), but like mentioned above it has nothing to do with Michael Myers.
Every kid in America wants a special mask for Halloween, made by a company named Silver Shamrock Novelties. When a salesman for the company is hospitalized, he reveals Silver Shamrock’s secret evil plan to his doctor, Dr. Challis (Tom Atkins). Silver Shamrock wants to take over the world by using their Halloween masks, which are all cursed by an evil magic that draws its power from rocks that were stolen from Stonehenge. The masks are possessed, and at 9:00 p.m. on Halloween night, they will become “active” and possess/murder every unfortunate child wearing one! Together with the salesman’s daughter Ellie, Dr. Challis tries to uncover the plan and stop it before it is too late.
More of a science-fiction mystery than a horror film, I ended up loving just about every part of this movie. It is cheesy – both in content and in its acting performances , it has a ridiculous plot that doesn’t really make sense, but then at the same time somehow makes total sense, and features awesome masks, nifty special effects, and a few gross-out moments involving humanoid robots, along with some unfortunate humans. There is also a great moment featuring a mask that oozes living snakes and spiders!
Tom Atkins gives a fantastically cheesy performance as Dr. Challis, starting the movie quiet and subdued and becoming extremely over-the-top by the end credits due to the events he experiences in the film. His performance, the ridiculous plot, and the masks are my favorite things from the movie. One day I will purchase a mask of my own!
Due to instantly falling in love with the movie upon my first viewing, it is now my “go to” Halloween movie each year. Having first watched it in 2017, I have consequently re-watched it each October since then, including this year! I still occasionally re-watch the Michael Myers entries as well, but “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” has become the one movie that makes me feel like it is officially the Halloween season. And it is, in my opinion, the best Halloween movie in the series.
“Halloween III: Season of the Witch” is rated R for language, scary images, and horror gore, with a runtime of one hour, thirty-eight minutes. It is available to borrow from PPL on DVD and can be watched entirely on its own, or just for fun if you want to binge-watch the entire “Halloween” franchise and not leave any entries out like I did for so many years.