Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) Poster

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Not as bad as people think
mungflesh18 August 2004
I think Tommy Lee Wallace's "Season of the Witch" is an underrated classic. There are no points here for outstanding acting performances, or original plot etc (although I would like to add there's no dreadful acting) but bonus points for the music and direction, which go together to make a really creepy horror. It contains superb imaginative gore sequences, to rival the likes of "The Fly" or "Dead & Buried".

Whereas the Michael Myers type slasher movies have done the genre to death, this one remains dusty and untouched. There aren't any other horror movies worth mentioning, like this. It is very sci-fi horror though, so I think if you've a problem with far-fetched content, you'd best avoid the film as you will find it ridiculous.

I called it Season of the Witch in the first sentence, because I prefer to think of it as it's own movie, rather than having anything to do with the original classic "Halloween". This is the only problem with the movie.

"Oh ... and Happy Halloween".
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Another Underrated Movie Due to its Name
CMRKeyboadist7 September 2006
I never have been a fan of the "Halloween" series. Not to say that I don't like slasher films, but Michael Myers just never did anything for me. I would rather watch a "Friday the 13th" film any day over this series. "Halloween 3: Season of the Witch" is the only movie from the series that I just didn't enjoy, but is actually one of my all time favorite horror films. Partially, because Michael Myers isn't in this film. Now, I am sure that people are going to hate my opinion on this, but I really don't care. I believe the only reason why this movie is so underrated and has such a low score on IMDb is because it doesn't have Michael Myers in it. If this movie had dropped the "Halloween" title and stuck with "Season of the Witch" or "The Last Halloween" I think this movie would have much more respect.

This movie has many things on its side. The storyline is one of the darkest I have ever seen about a company named "Silver Shamrock" selling Halloween masks. All through the movie television adds build up to a big "Give Away" on TV on Halloween night. Tom Atkins plays a doctor named Dan who suspects the "Silver Shamrock" company after a man is murdered in his hospital. The mans daughter and Dan take a trip to the town where the factory resides and find out much more then they could have bargained for.

As I said, this movie has many things going for it. A few great actors including Tom Atkins and Dan O'Herlihy do wonderful jobs. Especially O'herlihy, playing the part of the villain and one of the most evil characters ever created.

The music was great also. Performed by John Carpenter, of course. The music brings a great deal of atmosphere to the movie making you feel a sense of dread through and throughout. But, this is a great part of any of the "Halloween" movies. Like them or not, most of them have a good soundtrack.

And of course, the ending to the movie is one of the best/worst endings ever, in my opinion. Hollywood wouldn't dare have a movie end as bleak as this movie did today.

Well, you don't have to listen to me. But, I thought this was a great movie and I wish that it was never named "Halloween III". A bad decision, an excellent horror movie. 9/10
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Strange and slightly fascinating
Lars Gorzelak Pedersen27 December 2004
I like "Halloween III". Some people consider it to be one of those "so bad it's good" kind of films, but they're wrong. It's competently made and much better than the "Halloween" films that appeared after it. As sequels go it's pretty strange, though. For starters, Michael Myers is nowhere in sight. This second sequel has nothing to do with the two previous films in the series (personally I couldn't care less about that) and the plot is downright weird. What's strange about it is that there's very little symbolism at stake - something which is rare in occult horror films. Normally, filmmakers seem to feel that they need some sort of psychological excuse to show us unrealistic horror. Not so in "Halloween III". We never get to know the main characters and get only the most superficial impression of their personalities. The sinister goings-on in the film have nothing to do with the personal traumas of the protagonist - he's just there because he has to be, in order for the plot to move on. In this sense, the film is refreshingly "naive". The atmosphere or tone of the film is why I like it. It has that "midnight movie" feel, mainly - I think - because of the soundtrack. Music is rarely used, but always effectively like in John Carpenters "The Thing" (1982). And there are some almost surreal images thrown in along the way, like the one where snakes surprisingly appear from within the pumpkinhead.
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Misunderstood and under rated
Kristine4 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This is probably the most controversial Halloween movie, simply because Michael Myers isn't in it. I know that this movie gets a lot of complaints, but actually I can see where the writers were going with this. They just had an idea to continue the Halloween stories, but just to do a different type of franchise, which I give them a lot of credit for. Does this movie deliver the same scares as the original Halloween or even the sequel? No, it doesn't, but it's still creepy and not given a proper chance by most. Just the song that is used alone in this movie was a bit intense. It's a great little ghost story that is sure to deliver chills if you have an open mind to it. The acting isn't as good as the other movies, we have some pretty below par actors, but over all they make the movie worth watching even if it was cheesy.

On Saturday, October 23, shop owner Harry Grimbridge is chased by mysterious figures wearing business suits. He collapses at a gas station clutching a Silver Shamrock jack-o'-lantern mask and is driven to the hospital by the filling station attendant all the while ranting, "They're gonna kill us. All of us." While Grimbridge is hospitalized, another man in a suit enters his room and pulls his skull apart. The man then returns to his vehicle, douses himself with gasoline and lights himself on fire, causing the car to explode. Challis, together with Grimbridge's daughter, Ellie, begins an investigation that leads them to the home of the Silver Shamrock Novelties factory. They learn from a hotel manager, Mr. Rafferty, that the source of the town's prosperity is Irishman Conal Cochran and his factory and that the majority of the town's population is made up of descendants of Irish immigrants. Challis learns that Ellie's father had stayed at the same hotel. Other guests of the hotel included shop owners Marge Guttman, Buddy, Betty and their son "Little" Buddy. All have business at the factory and eventually meet gruesome ends because of the Silver Shamrock masks.The Kupfer family views the Silver Shamrock commercial that will air on Halloween night. But there's more to these masks then meets the eye.

Is Halloween 3 the best sequel? No; is it the worst sequel? No; I'd say just a lot of people got the wrong idea about the movie and didn't know what the writers were thinking when the wrote for this franchise. I loved the ending scene, it actually did give me a nightmare, I don't want to give it away though, just trust me, it's a creepy scene. I do recommend if you love horror movies to give this movie a fair chance or if you want to see the Halloween movie franchise, just remember that the writers just wanted to try something new. I do honestly like this movie, I hope people will see it for what it is and it's just a good ghost story to watch on a night for Halloween.

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An underrated film. Very moody and atmospheric. *** out of 5
Lance21 April 2005
Let's get some things straight...

The only real reason people seem to hate this film is because Michael Myers was absent.

For those who don't know, John Carpenter and crew decided since Michael Myers was dead at the end of HalloweeN II, there was no reason to continue on with his story. The decision was to go ahead with the series making each new installment a different story revolving around the Halloween season. Personally, I think this was a wise decision. But after everyone saw it they were screaming 'That wasn't a Halloween movie! Where was Michael?'. Obviously the majority of the audience would rather more Michael Myers rampages than creepy stories set around Halloween time.

Oh well, this movie gives a taste of where the series could have and should have went, before the disappointing HalloweeN 4.

Overall, the acting is top notch. Tom Atkins is a great actor. The soundtrack is one of my favorite John Carpenter scores ever. It has themes, but it's more about synthesized mood and pulsating rhythms. The cinematography by the great Dean Cundey is fabulous. And the entire feel of the film is very unsettling. The film literally freaks me out.

I recommend all of you that diss the film, to check it out once more. Keep an open mind. If this hadn't been a part of the HalloweeN series you would probably like it.

As for myself, I'm glad that this carries the HalloweeN title. Th rest of the films didn't pick up until HalloweeN H2O which is a very worthy entry.
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Give it a break!
marcfantozzi21 July 2001
I'm tired of this film being slammed by critics and fans alike simply because there is no Shape. There is a lot of mystery in Halloween 3. Why was Ellie's father killed? What goes on in Cochran's factory? And what's the deal with that freaky town Santa Mira? I found this film entertaining and thought that the acting was decent. This would be a cult classic if it was not part of the series. Sure, this film is not as good as the Michael Myers' films, but if this is the worst Halloween film, then the Halloween series is doing something right!
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"A good magician never explains."
TOMASBBloodhound24 October 2004
Let me begin by saying that I hated this film as a kid. After viewing it the other day on a whim however, I was surprised at how much better I liked it now. The story centers around an evil mask-maker planning to use ancient technology to murder millions of children on Halloween night by selling them masks with a nasty little secret inside. I found the story very interesting, though plenty of plot holes ultimately keep this film from being all it could have been.

The biggest obstacle in this film's way is the fact that it has nothing at all to do with the other "Halloween" films made either before or after it. That's certainly no reason not to give it a chance, though. Perhaps it should have been called only "Season of the Witch" or something so as not to anger the purists out there who demand the presence of Michael Myers in anything with the word "Halloween" in the title. That said, let's take a look at the good and not-so-good elements of this film, shall we?

Like the previous entries in the series, this film has some creepy and effective music. It is also buffered by some evil synthesizer sounds at every turn. The little jingle set to "London Bridge" is annoying, and I'm sure it was supposed to be.

There are some interesting deaths, to say the least. Early on, we see a robotic henchman pull apart a victim's skull, then blow himself up in a car. One hapless woman gets an energy beam projected through her face, leaving her mouth much larger than normal. (a bug then crawls out of her head, foreshadowing later events) Another man gets his head ripped completely off for threatening to torch the bad guy's factory. Later on, a family is murdered in a test demonstration of what happens when someone wearing one of these masks watches a certain commercial on TV. Bugs and poisonous snakes form inside the mask and attack anyone in the room. It seems the masks have some tiny pieces from one of the blocks from Stonehenge implanted in the factory seal. Something about the commercial triggers the effect within the mask. And just how does this happen, you ask? "A good magician never explains," the mask-maker points out in one scene. Sigh.

Some gigantic holes are present as the story unfolds. Tom Atkins, who plays our hero, has a useless love affair with the daughter of an early victim. If these two are so intent on solving a deadly mystery about the death of her father, and bad guys are all around, would they really stop to have sex? He is also much older than this woman. I guess since Atkins plays a doctor, the young woman finds that sexy. Maybe I'd better go to medical school if I want to score with hot young women when I'm his age.

Another problem concerns the time that these masks are supposed to go off. We are told by the mask maker that when the commercial airs at 9:00 pm on Halloween night, all the masks will react and kill the children. However, if it's 9:00 in California (where this takes place) it would be 11:00 where I live or midnight on the east coast. Children would mostly be in bed by then! Few parents would allow their kids up that late to watch any "big give-a-way". The plan is to wipe out kids all over the country, but it looks like only kids on the west coast would be up when the commercial airs. If there was an explanation about how this problem would be overcome, I missed it. I guess once again, "A good magician never explains."

And just how in the hell did this guy steal a piece of Stonehenge, anyway? He admits it was difficult, but again offers no explanation of how it was done!

And how many freaking times did the female robot attack Atkins at the end? I lost count.

Well, it's not a total loss. It was a neat idea for a film, but they shouldn't have glossed over so many things.

I'll give it 5 of 10 stars.

Happy Happy Halloween Halloween Halloween Happy Happy Halloween Silver Shamrock!

STOP IT!!!! STOP IT!!!! STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So sayeth the Hound.
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Unbeatable, a Masterpiece!
kwfox2 July 2007
This movie is an all time classic. Creepy from the word go, the lighting and soundtrack give it a theatrically dark and menacing feel, while the characters are so ordinary that one feels one is watching a drama-doc. Then the extreme violence with crushed heads and people set ablaze. There is a tangible sense of mystery to all this. Our hero is a slightly flawed character, womaniser and boozer, but an honest sort of guy. The idea of filming at a mask factory is inspired - all those creepy faces! The factory owner Cochran is one of the finest horror characters ever to grace the screen. Profoundly eerie yet likable, humorous yet intimidating, he has the quality of an educated, cultured serial killer with the monstrous ambition of a megalomaniac from a Bond movie. His evil plans are particularly horrific in scale, but he sees them as one big joke on the kids!
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jonpd11 October 2002
Many viewers have bashed on this film, claiming it stinks and that it has nothing in common with the other HALLOWEEN films. Well, let me tell you, if you're a true Carpenter idolizer you'll see him written all over this. Writer/director Tommy Lee Wallace didn't necessarily write the best script in the world, but his direction is decent. The performances are kind of stale, but they still come through. On the more positive side, Carpenter's electronic score is one of his greatest in my book. From the eerie opening to the chase sequence, the music fits the movie perfectly. Granted, the film has nothing to do with Michael Myers and Haddonfield, etc., but it is the same season, and Myers was supposedly BURNT TO A CRISP WITH HIS EYES SHOT OUT!!!!!! in the end of HALLOWEEN II. HALLOWEEN III is definitely worth viewing. And watch for Tom Atkins' wife in here: she's played by the same actress who played Annie in HALLOWEEN (Nancy Loomis Kyes).
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Conglomerate Carnage.
Spikeopath2 November 2014
A different animal to the Halloween films that preceded and followed it, Season of the Witch is slowly but surely gaining an appreciation as a standalone horror film. Gone is Michael Myers' indestructible killing machine, in his place is the nefarious Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy), the owner of the Silver Shamrock corporation that specialises in Halloween masks. Cochran has a sinister plan this year - and it's deadly - Dr. Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) and Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin) are caught in the middle of the vile plot and may just be the only salvation to Americana.

With Nigel Kneale involved in the writing process Season of the Witch is delightfully fiendish. There's definite barbs being stung here about the commercialisation of holiday occasions, that capitalism kills, Cochran is intent on restoring Halloween to the true meaning of its origins, creating a Silver Shamrock world order in the process. Kneale would take his name off the credits when the studio tampered with his vision, a shame because his core essence remains - even if Cochran as a Warlock Wicker Man type could well have been genius.

With John Carpenter and Debrah Hill over seeing things from their production chairs, the picture had supervision of some standing. Tommy Lee Wallace maybe directing but it feels like a Carpenter movie, from Dean Cundey's photography - Carpenter's foreboding synth musical score – and the sharpness of the gruey horror scenes (which are excellent), it's not hard to see the "non Michael Myers" Halloween series that Carpenter had envisaged after part 2 had been and gone.

Boosted by an irritatingly potent advertisement jingle (a Silver Shamrock variation on London Bridge is Falling Down) that counts down the days to Halloween and the day of carnage, Season of the Witch is consistently gnawing away at the senses. Having Atkins and O'Herlihy propping up the acting helps, both are reliable performers for this material, while the race against time finale has edge of the seat credentials.

It doesn't all work of course, there's some drag and the narrative feels schizophrenic at times, while if it wasn't for Cundey's camera work then Wallace's inept direction of the non horror scenes would be over exposed. Yet as it asks Halloween franchise fans some forgiveness for not actually being part of the franchise, it delivers a smart sci-fi horror hybrid that's not without shock and awe. 7/10
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Not A Great One, But Accomplishes Rule #1 For A Horror Film
102AFalcon13 June 2003
I've read almost all of the reviews here and honestly, I cannot argue with many of the negative points that are raised here. The movie DOES use the "Halloween" name while having only one tiny thread of connection to the Michael Myers movies that came before it and would come later (and that thread, involving a lab technician, can be charitably described as really lame). It is boring in stretches, the idea of Tom Atkins hooking up with Stacey Nelkin is pretty ridiculous, and the plot makes no sense if you think about it for more than 5 seconds.

But I don't hate this film. Why? That's very simple. The first rule of a horror film is to scare the viewer and HALLOWEEN III has scared the hell out of me every time I've seen it! It's hard to pinpoint why, exactly, but the atmosphere of the movie is a huge factor. This film is jammed with ominous synthesized music (very 80's touch), cold and sharp-looking camera work, and a feeling of overwhelming dread and fear. It's very hard to establish atmosphere in any movie or TV show; I was talking about this movie with my brother--who said that he didn't think it was scary at all--and I compared it to THE X-FILES. Both that show and this movie were able to quickly drag me into their bizarre and frightening worlds.

I don't think I could flat-out recommend a movie with this many huge problems, but I'd say it might scare the viewer, and that's not so bad considering how many abysmal horror movies do nothing else right and cannot get that deceptively simple task completed, either.
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One Of The Best
deepblueseajaws1 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Halloween III to me is one of the better Halloween sequels. Sure it didn't have Michael Myers in it, but who cares? I mean the whole scenario of a escaped maniac stalking people with a knife just gets old after a while. Halloween III however, tried to start the series in a more fresh approach. Maybe it does have some silly concepts such as Cochran stealing a five ton monolith from Stonehenge, but it's the movies from heavens sake. I personally believe that this movie is one of the best. The entire story is fresh. It's actually in a way almost good. The whole idea of killing children with Halloween masks is not bad for a movie based on the idea of Halloween. It also features some of the coolest props in all of Hollywood: the masks themselves, which are in very good detail. But anyway, i think the movie is very enjoyable.
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Happy, happy Halloween, Silver Shamrock!
Scott LeBrun2 November 2013
It's such a shame that this entry in the "Halloween" franchise isn't more appreciated. It DOES have its admirers (such as this viewer), but it just wasn't satisfying to an audience that only wanted Michael Myers. Certainly a franchise that revolved around different macabre stories told at Halloween time would have been more interesting than yet another "psycho on a murder spree" plot. Conceived by producer Debra Hill as a tale of witchcraft in the computer age, the idea was taken to noted writer Nigel Kneale, although his script would be re-written by producer John Carpenter and re-written again by debuting director / longtime Carpenter associate Tommy Lee Wallace.

Legendary stud Mr. Tom Atkins stars as the commendably flawed protagonist Dr. Daniel Challis (he's insatiable and has a weakness for drink), who's thrown for a loop when a panicked man is brought to his hospital and murdered later that night by a cold-eyed, well dressed assassin. Hooking up with the victims' daughter Ellie (cute as a button Stacey Nelkin), he decides to play detective and tracks the mans' actions to a Halloween mask factory in a small California town. Presiding over the business and town is cheerful Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy, whom you'll recognize from "The Last Starfighter" and "RoboCop" 1 and 2), a maniacal villain putting into motion a horrible prank that he intends to play on the children of America. It's up to Daniel to save the day...if he can keep his hands off of Ellie for long enough.

As noted, this in-name-only sequel (the only nod it makes to past movies is a TV commercial for the '78 Carpenter-helmed "Halloween") owes a fair bit to "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", right down to naming the town Santa Mira. It's solidly entertaining and consistently amusing stuff, with Wallace (assisted by ace D.P. Dean Cundey) creating fine atmosphere, especially when it comes to the corporate-controlled town, where Cochrans' "eyes and ears" are everywhere. The film hits the ground running, and there's no let up right until the ending. Tom Burmans' makeup is excellent; there's good gross-out stuff here. Atkins is an appealing unlikely hero and Nelkin is pleasing to look at as the daughter who gets over the death of her father in record time. Supporting and bit parts are played by the likes of Michael Currie ("Dead & Buried"), Ralph Strait ("The Beastmaster"), Garn Stephens (the real-life Mrs. Tom Atkins at the time), Nancy Kyes (Annie in the first "Halloween"), Jonathan Terry ("The Return of the Living Dead"), Maidie Norman ("What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?"), stunt coordinator Dick Warlock, and Joshua John Miller ("Near Dark"). Carpenters' score is one of his best. And to top it all off, there's that insidiously catchy jingle (sung to the tune of "London Bridge is Falling Down") that pops up over and over.

If only it didn't have the name "Halloween" attached, some viewers might be more inclined to give it a break.

Eight out of 10.
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An under-rated and misunderstood horror film!
Sharkey36016 October 2013
When the term Halloween is mentioned regarding movies, the name and image of killer Michael Myers often come out. In the art of film, director John Carpenter defined the slasher horror sub-genre of horror films in 1978's Halloween. In that film, his use of the first-person camera views, establishing the final girl trend, showing that people who are promiscuous or drug users get killed and other elements went on to become imitated by other filmmakers on the many slasher horror films that followed. It also established Michael Myers (called The Shape) as the stealthy, almost invincible killer that later became an American pop culture icon.

Of course, the $325,000 movie went on to make tons of money and Halloween II followed a few years later and made nice profit even though it never matched its predecessor's success.

Then in 1982, Halloween III: Season of the Witch came out. Originally, the Halloween film franchise was geared towards making distinct, independent stories with completely new characters dealing with the Halloween season in general. Halloween III proved to be profitable but got slammed by critics and several viewers hated it simply because it was too different and had no Michael Myers (who was shown destroyed in Halloween II).

If you ask me, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is actually an under- rated and misunderstood horror film. It is no slasher. It has no Michael Myers. It has no zombie or vampire elements of horror. But those differences don't make it a bad movie at all.

In fact, Halloween III was more about the witchcraft aspect of Halloween's origins outside of America as well as social commentary about capitalism and consumerism. These three primary elements are, least to say, very challenging to build a foundation of horror with. Still, the filmmakers pulled off nicely with that challenge and what turned was that Halloween III has a more original concept of horror than most other horror films made ever since. It never feels generic and continues to be creepy.

Without spoiling too much of the plot, Halloween III begins with a desperate man running away from mysterious men in suits and ties. He eventually gets killed at night at a hospital and his killer weirdly left the place, entered a parked car, poured gasoline around, lit the gasoline and blew the car up.

Of course, the person who witnesses the explosion and events at the hospital is Dr. Challis (Tom Atkins) who is not only the protagonist but also a challenging one for viewers to follow. Why is that? Because Dr. Challis is an undesirable man for a horror film protagonist – when he is not working, he drinks a lot of liquor, spends time at bars, does not care much about his family and is a womanizer. Ironically, this aspect of the film makes Halloween III even more unique from other horror films.

So Dr. Challis meets Ellie (Stacey Nelkin), the daughter of the murder victim. She strongly believes something is very wrong and something big was behind the murder of her father. Together they travel to a far away town where a big company making Halloween masks is being led by an Irish businessman named Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy).

Enough of the story. You will just have to watch the film on DVD or Blu- ray for the Halloween season or whenever you feel like watching a horror movie different from the rest.

Even during its time, Halloween III had a low budget although the production value on screen don't necessarily reflect that. Considering the challenges the filmmakers had to endure, Halloween III works as a horror flick as it provides scary and creepy moments nicely and also expresses the message that there is something behind all the commercialism of Halloween. In any business dealing with seasonal trends, there is always something that keeps people spending their money on products they don't really need and there is always a company that tends to profit from it.

Is Halloween III an anti-business movie? In some ways, yes. Just look at the isolated town where the business and its factory are located. If you listen to the dialog closely, you will realize that locals of the town are being put down by the company (Silver Shamrock) which employs people coming from elsewhere. Also there is that reflection of corporate-led control on the town with those many surveillance cameras and an imposed curfew (who would want to live in a community so restrictive and without public officials to stand up for the people?) and more. Naturally, Conal Cochran is the main villain radically different from not only Michael Myers but all other horror film villains. Dan O'Herlihy's performance is undeniably solid.

Another notable aspect of Halloween III that deserves attention was its defiance of the unwritten rule of movies and television that prohibit the showing of children getting killed on-screen. The filmmakers really had the courage and insight to break that rule to show what kind of evil would happen when kids wear Cochran's masks (each equipped with material from a stolen Stonehenge) and watch the Silver Shamrock commercial (with that very repetitive, mind-numbing song). The bad things that turnout are enough to shock viewers and even send chills up the spines of parents who are afraid of their children engaging in Halloween.

Overall, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is one of the most under- rated and most misunderstood horror films that truly deserves your attention in this day and age. It defied many of the clichés or traditions of most horror films and yet succeeded in delivering spooky moments in unpredictable fashion. It is also challenging to watch given its undesirable protagonist and having no final girl to outlast the evil. To call the film a failure because it did not have Michael Myers is a big mistake. Be sure to watch this film every Halloween.
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No need for Michael Meyers. H3's got heavy atmosphere, a wonderful soundtrack, creative kills, and DREAD in the air
People are incredibly stubborn about this movie. So it has absolutely nothing to do with Michael Meyers or anything in the first two movies...so WHAT???

It is an extremely solid horror film and one of the best in the entire series. It is a well-paced horror classic that apparently only appeals to the more sophisticated horror fan as it lacks dry humor and the slam-bam explosions and killings everyday horror fans are used to, and trades them in for heavy atmosphere, sci-fi twists, and serious performances that are heavy on the dread.

The John Carpenter soundtrack kicks ass, letting it keep the atmosphere that graced the first two. Tom Atkins is a solid retro lead whose mustache could challenge Tom Selleck's. Stacey Nelkin is adorable as the panicked female companion. And some of the deaths are horrifying! I consider this a classic and a truly creepy movie! The commercial is so effective and creepy that by the time it comes on during the second half of the movie, you may find yourself feeling slightly claustrophobic!

Reminds me of one of my favorite sci-fi/horror movies ever - SCANNERS. I have no idea why this movie has a 3.6 on here! People are just too stuck on their precious Michael Meyers character. Set that immature ordeal aside and you have this eerie, mature horror classic.
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Unfairly Maligned Oddly excellent early 80's downer horror movie
Of course this film is not perfect. It has a number of lapses in logic and poor performances endemic to any early 80's low-budget horror film. However, it's really something special - a horror film that is actually unsettling and effective. Usually horror movies tend to be quite dull and unoriginal, bogged down by the done-to-death motif of a crazed serial killer on the prowl.

I like movies like this - where the killer is not limited to a single entity and instead is more of an all-round aura of evil. In this case the villains are a crazed toy businessman and his deranged toy company, which employs a number of zombie-like android henchmen in yuppie-ish business suits! It was the early 80's and this film is certainly a product of its time, complete with the usual downbeat atmosphere and shocking gory "quality kills".

The cast is overall pretty average, relying heavily on Dan O'Herlihy as the solid villain to anchor things down. Tom Atkins makes an acceptable everyman-type hero (though, like THE FOG, is oddly popular with the ladies even though he's out of shape, ugly, and not particularly charming). Watch for Dick Warlock (Michael Myers) as a murderous henchman. A number of the supporting characters as recognizable TV actors as well.

The real standouts here are Dean Cundey's wonderful gloomy photography and John Carpenter's downbeat and droning synthesizer music. The two elements come together so well that they'd elevate the dread-factor of any horror movie they appear.

Overall, the film is hands-down a huge improvement over HALLOWEEN II, and better than all the sequels which followed. Unfortunately the experiment of making a Halloween-themed horror movie without Michael Myers and marketing it as a sequel did not pay off financially. Stupid public. Don't be a sheep - give this movie a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.
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No Michael Myers but its a good horror film! They don't make 'em like this anymore!
Movie Nuttball25 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Halloween III: The Season of the Witch is a very good film that has a good cast which includes Tom Atkins, Stacy Nelkin, Dan O'Herlihy, Michael Currie, Ralph Strait, Jadeen Barbor, Brad Schacter, Garn Stephens, Nancy Kyes, Jonathan Terry, Al Berry, Wendy Wessberg, Essex Smith, Maidie Norman, and Dick Warlock! The acting by all of these actors is very good. Atkins and O'Herlihy are really excellent in this film. I thought that they performed good. The thrills is really good and some of it is surprising. The movie is filmed very good. The music is good by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth. The film is quite interesting and the movie really keeps you going until the end. This is a very good and thrilling film. If you like Tom Atkins, Stacy Nelkin, Dan O'Herlihy, Michael Currie, Ralph Strait, Jadeen Barbor, Brad Schacter, Garn Stephens, Dick Warlock, the rest of the cast in the film, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thrillers, Mystery, and interesting films then I strongly recommend you to see this film today!
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The only Halloween film yet that I like besides the original - NO SPOILERS
brainfood-116 July 2009
I'm not going to read other people's reviews or give a detailed summary. Honestly, horror films with an interesting and original story are rare, very rare. I put this script right up there with "The Wicker Man." I'm a lifelong fan of horror, but if there is one thing I have to acknowledge it is that the typical horror film seems to be severely lacking in the imagination department, which to me is unbelievably sad. I can't tell you how many times I've seen "OMG worst movie ever where is michael meyers!" type comments on clips from youtube etc. I cannot think of anything more boring that seeing that same stalk and slash crap over and over, and I am absolutely amazed by critics who slammed this movie when it was released, virtually all of whom have since written endless reviews for horror movies decrying a lack of originality or a story. To me, this is the only one in the whole franchise including Zombie's wholly unnecessary remakes that is worth anything at all, besides Carpernter's original. I like this movie so much I made an animated homage on goanimate. And of course, nobody seems to recognize what movie it is.
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Not without its charm
Sam Williams7 March 2007
Halloween III has taken on a new life on the AMC cable channel. It is used to pad some time during their "Monsterfest" marathon in the 10 days leading up to Halloween.

It's not a good movie. People who like it, when asked, "Do you want to see a movie that's like the Twilight Zone, only slower, longer, and not as good?" would probably answer, "You had me at Twilight Zone."

There are a few things to enjoy about this movie:

1) The 1-man synthesizer soundtrack is pure early 80s. 2) Also for nostalgia lovers, this movie came out when personal computers had been out for about a year and any kind of computer graphics were considered cool. 3) The producers showed some guts by breaking from the formula (and unfortunately got creamed at the box office for it.) 4) It doesn't have an eye-rolling formulaic ending. 5) It turned out to be somewhat prophetic. 15 years after this movie came out, hundreds of Japanese children were stricken with seizures after watching an episode of "Pokemon." 6) If you like the song "London Bridge," this is the movie for you.

Unfortunately, it's kind of plodding and layers implausibility upon implausibility until it just gets too much. If you watch this movie, here are some things NOT to think about. It'll just make your head hurt: (Spoiler alert)

*How could someone steal a 5-ton rock from Stonehenge?

*If you're a supervillian, is there a better use for your lifelike androids?

*How does Silver Shamrock pay for all those TV ads that must change on a daily basis?

*How much revenue can a company generate with a product line that features a whopping three different masks? (two of which are pretty lame.)

*Did stores used to carry Halloween merchandise for longer into October? (since currently, the Halloween stuff is moved to clearance by about October 20th to make room for Xmas stuff)

*Would a factory so paranoid that it enforces a curfew on its citizens be a little suspicious of two buyers who showed up to get masks on October 29th without phoning first?

*Why is Buddy Kupfer's family staying in a motel if they have a big RV? In fact, why is "one of the richest men in the country" staying in a cheap motel at all?

*When are football games televised on Friday afternoon?

*What makes divorced alcoholic 47 year old deadbeat dads attractive to hot 23 year olds?

*Why are there so many leaves on the trees on October 31?

*Has there ever been a lazier attempt at a montage of cities than the one that appears in this movie?

*Wouldn't time zones put a kink in Cochran's wicked scheme?

*Did network TV used to air horror movies at 7:00 PM? ("The Big Giveaway" at 9:00 follows the airing of the original Halloween movie, with a run time of about 2 hours, including the inevitable commercials.)

*Whom can you call to immediately pull programming from multiple networks, especially if you don't have any special credentials?

*What did this movie have to do with witches or the Donovan song?

I could have overlooked all those glaring problems if Cochran had shown even a modicum of motivation for his evil plan to murder all his customers (and ensure bankruptcy even if he dodges criminal proceedings) but the plot is so preposterous by the time Challis confronts him that Cochran can't even offer up a response. "Do I even need a reason? ... In the end, the planets determine our actions." That's right. Blame it on astrology.

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Extremely Underrated
utgard149 February 2014
Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin) teams up with Dr. Dan Challis (Tom Atkins) to investigate the mysterious death of her father. Their investigation leads them to the Silver Shamrock novelty-making company, owned by Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy). Silver Shamrock is selling Halloween masks and advertising a big giveaway on television on Halloween night. But what Cochran really has planned is much more sinister and bizarre.

One of the most underrated movies on IMDb. The score is ridiculously wrong. The primary complaint many seem to have is just that it doesn't have Michael Myers in it. Who cares?!? I can see being upset when it first came out that it used the Halloween brand to sell the movie yet didn't have any connection with the rest of the series. But that doesn't have squat to do with objectively judging the film's quality. It's been over thirty years so why can't it be judged on its own merits and not for the flimsy reason that it says Halloween III and doesn't have Michael? Besides, most of the Halloween sequels that did have Michael sucked balls so it's not like this marred some perfect series or something. I understand that, besides the Myers complaints, it is not a flawless film. But it is good with an interesting plot, effective suspense, and some cool death scenes. If you're a John Carpenter fan, you should enjoy this as it has many of his touches all over it, including the great score. The cast is mixed, with Dan O'Herlihy doing a great job as the villain and Tom Atkins being a likable and somewhat cheesy Carpenter-style protagonist. Stacey Nelkin is cute but offers little to the film other than fleeting teases of nudity.

If you hate this film because it doesn't feature Michael Myers, then I have no words for you because you're hopeless. But for those who are debating whether or not to try it out, please do so because this is infinitely more unique and interesting than another repetitive sequel about a guy stabbing people to death. Don't get me wrong -- I enjoy a lot of slashers, particularly from the '80s, for their entertainment value. They can be very good popcorn movies. But most of the genre is full of garbage rip-offs and retreads. This movie is at least original and clever.
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Underrated - Watch for yourself
rowtondanny6 November 2012
***WARNING contains spoilers*** Unlike most, I absolutely get this film. Sure, its dated, but I think in a cool way - with its dark brooding 80s synth soundtrack, deliberately cheesy kids TV ad running through the film and plot that has a touch of the 50s, 60s / Twilight Zone / paranoia about it.

Of course the special effects are the first thing to date on a film too and this one is no exception, but there's something about the cold calculated mission of the robots working for Conal Cochran (played very well by Dan O'Herlihy) that negate the downside of this part of the film. The fact that the bad guys are not human (though appear to be) allows greater artistic license, I feel. Having said that, the dated look of men in white coats standing at banks of huge computers with flashing lights is of course clichéd. As is the prospect of a man rescuing the girl who has been detained for experiments and questioning. This was hardly fresh ground, even in 1982.

I do like the totally different context to the series of films that this sequel undertakes. Kind of like a bigger, more formidable evil than the solitary psycho Michael Myers with much deeper, far reaching consequences to society. I watched the film last week for the first time in many years, almost bracing myself in expectation of its ability to entertain and unnerve to have dwindled significantly. However, I actually found it had a bigger impact on me than before (when I was probably a teenager). I'm not going to bore you with the synopsis which you can read anywhere but I would encourage fans of old school horror to give this much maligned film a chance. To me, it is highly underrated and its a shame as I think when it came out I would have thought people just lazily expected another slasher flick and, at that, an improvement on the disappointing continuation of 'Halloween' with the first sequel.
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Hmmm…… a sequel to Halloween that has nothing to do with Michael Myers? Let's greenlight it!
FilmOtaku19 September 2003
Why was this movie made? The ridiculous plot concerning a Halloween mask company named `Silver Shamrock' who distributes masks replete with microchips that will make the owner's head blow up while watching a television program wasn't even remotely interesting. Nor was the casting of a heinous leading man whom we are to believe was a studly doctor. So the viewer may ask themselves: `What does all of this have to do with Michael Myers?' The answer? Absolutely NOTHING. Which leads me to wonder why this film was even made under the Halloween franchise? Even the bald and shiny pate of Donald Pleasance was missing – a fixture that would have been annoying but at least gave a correlation to the other films.

The only good thing about this movie was the catchy television jingle for Silver Shamrock. I first saw this film when I was a 9 year old, sneaking in to see this one instead of E.T. and walking out sobbing with fright, (Remember, I was 9) but for the last 21 years I've remembered that jingle so I guess it had some modicum of an impact on me.

Only die hard horror fans should watch this because they could probably find something remotely redeeming about it. Unfortunately, I'm not so I couldn't.

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A good film tarnished by being part of the Halloween series
Red-Barracuda31 July 2009
Halloween III: the Season of the Witch must rank as one of the strangest sequels to a franchise in the history of cinema. It's a film that generally speaking does not have a good reputation. The main reason for the bad attitude to this movie is clearly because the vast majority of people unsurprisingly go into this film with the expectation of seeing another Michael Myers romp, and evidently a lot of viewers aren't overly impressed by his absence here. Moreover, Halloween III is not even in the same sub-genre as the rest of the series, seeing as it is a sci-fi horror as opposed to slasher flick. In other words, if this film had been a standalone movie it would most probably be regarded as a fairly original little horror flick; it certainly would not have attracted nearly as much negativity. John Carpenter, the director of the first instalment, had the reasonably good idea of making each Halloween instalment a different standalone horror tale set on Halloween night. Unfortunately his grand plan was undermined by a rather silly flaw, in that the previous film, Halloween 2, was a continuation of the Michael Myers story, therefore, it was hardly surprising that the expectation would be that subsequent instalments followed this same formula in the manner of the likes of the Friday the 13th series. As a result, Season of the Witch was met with bemusement and the franchise reverted back to Myers mayhem for the remainder of the series.

It's a shame that Halloween 3 wasn't released as a standalone movie called simply Season of the Witch because this is a quirky horror flick with a good amount of invention. Sure it's a bit silly in places, with a few plot holes (i.e. wouldn't the differing American time zones screw up the scheduling of Silver Shamrock's death-by-television extravaganza?) but it's odd enough to always remain interesting. I liked the spooky town that Silver Shamrock seemed to control, with ominous CCTV, odd inhabitants and sinister tannoy announcements. The suit-wearing bad guys were also a bit different to the typical psychotic villains, and I thought they were integrated well into the film. Acting-wise Dan O'Herlihy was very good as the evil chief mask-maker, while the rest of the cast was serviceable enough. The famous 'Happy Happy Halloween' theme song was used extensively but I liked it and felt it conveyed the feeling that something was not quite right with the Silver Shamrock promotional campaign. This, of course, is borne out with an ending to the movie that is refreshingly nihilistic.

This should not have been part of the Halloween series. The association is unfortunate. But as an unconnected standalone movie, Season of the Witch has got quite a lot to offer as a horror film.
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