After Michael Myers died at the end of Halloween II (1981), the plan by John Carpenter was to make a new "Halloween" movie each year, each telling a different Halloween-related story. After this movie underperformed at the box office, the film-makers decided to bring Michael back to life for future sequels.
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A novelization of the film was published in 1982 by science-fiction writer Dennis Etchison under the pseudonym Jack Martin. Despite the film's critical failure, the book became a best-seller and was even reissued two years after the film's release, in 1984.
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(at around 55 mins) The voice of the operator that Challis keeps getting when he tries to call out of Santa Mira is Jamie Lee Curtis.
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"London Bridge Is Falling Down" was chosen as the Silver Shamrock jingle because it was in the public domain.
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(at around 1h 19 mins) It took over forty takes to get the shot when Tom Atkins throws the skull mask on the security camera. Director Tommy Lee Wallace revealed during the cast's 2015 reunion that the scene took longer than he expected, because during the shoot he playfully tossed the mask and it caught on the very first try.
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(at around 28 mins) When Challis fills in the register at the motel office, he scans the list of names for evidence of Ellie's father's stay. All of the other names on the list are the names of the crew.
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Using the original molds, the skull, witch, and jack-o'-lantern masks seen in the film were mass-produced by Don Post Studios and sold in retail stores to promote the film's release.
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The small town of Santa Mira was also the setting for Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
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A milk factory was used for the setting of the Silver Shamrock factory.
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Dick Warlock, the stunt man who played Michael Myers in Halloween II (1981), is credited under 'assassin' in the credits.
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(at around 31 mins) Jamie Lee Curtis provides the voice over the intercom, informing Santa Mira residents of the curfew.
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(at around 42 mins) Garn Stephens refused to wear the prosthetic mask during the misfire scene. So a body double was used to complete the scene.
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From conception to completion, it took visual effects designer John C. Wash between three to four weeks to create the background for the movie's opening title. He went to USC with Tommy Lee Wallace and John Carpenter, and would go on to do work in the films The Thing (1982) and Escape from New York (1981) for the latter.
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During a reunion panel for the cast and crew of the movie in the Summer of 2015, Tom Atkins and Stacey Nelkin confirmed that the bedroom scene was one of the very first things that they shot together. Both found it humorous because Nelkin had been quickly cast as Ellie Grimbridge due to time restraints on the studio's part and the two had barely gotten acquainted beforehand.
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The voice of the announcer in the Silver Shamrock commercials and radio spots is that of the film's writer/director Tommy Lee Wallace.
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During a panel at 2013's 35 Years of Terror Halloween convention in Pasadena, CA, Tommy Lee Wallace was asked by the moderator to explain, as the sole credited screenwriter, the connection between Stonehenge, Ireland, robots, and laser beams that both melt flesh and produce/conjure bugs and snakes from a human body. Wallace's entire response was "It's magic, man."
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Stacey Nelkin was hired on the spot after she read for the role of Ellie Grimbridge.
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John Carpenter revealed in an interview with Gilles Boulenger (for the book John Carpenter: The Prince of Darkness) that the original director for Halloween III: Season of the Witch was Joe Dante.
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In an interview with the Pittsburgh Press newspaper shortly before the film's release, Tom Atkins told the hometown publication that he didn't know how the movie was going to end because they "shot a couple of different endings".
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Tommy Lee Wallace in the documentary on the blu ray release says that 60 percent of the screenplay they filmed is the work of Nigel Kneale. He says that John Carpenter did a rewrite and that Carpenter was surprised that Wallace did additional rewriting himself - rather than just accept the draft he had done from Kneale's original script.
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Almost all of the actors who play Cochran's robot henchmen were found through extras casting. Moreover, Tommy Lee Wallace originally wanted to cast all redheads as Cochran's flunkies.
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The original writer of the story was Nigel Kneale but he sued the producers to take his name off the movie after seeing how violent it was.
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(at around 1h 8 mins) When Cochran tells one of his humanoids to roll the Silver Shamrock commercial for the Kupfers while they are being held in Test Room A, he presses the numbers 666.
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The tagline "The night no one comes home" is a play on the original Halloween movie's tagline, "The night HE came home."
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The film's original director, Joe Dante, approached Nigel Kneale to write the film while Kneale was temporarily living in Hollywood writing the remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) for director John Landis that was never made due to budget cost. Dante wanted a new and different story than the two previous films in the series, so he suggested Kneale write a treatment around the word Halloween. The producers liked the idea, and after Joe Dante moved on to another project, producer John Carpenter's regular collaborator, Tommy Lee Wallace, came in as the new director. Kneale initially blamed the drastic changes to his script on executive producer Dino De Laurentiis not understanding his dialogue when it was translated to Italian. Kneale requested his writing screen credit be removed once his comical mystery screenplay was rewritten by an uncredited Carpenter, and then later Wallace (who received sole screen credit as writer), to include more gore and simplify the story.
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Director Tommy Lee Wallace credits the concept of witchcraft in the computer age to producer Debra Hill.
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Supposedly, part of the genesis of this film came from a comment made by film critic Rex Reed. Reed said Halloween II (1981) was so bad that, "If they make a Halloween III, I'll turn in my press card."
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(at around 41 mins) The music playing on the radio when Marge Guttman notices the tag on the floor was also played in John Carpenter's The Fog (1980).
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Nancy Kyes, who played Challis' ex-wife in the movie, was expecting her first child with the film's director (husband Tommy Lee Wallace) during filming.
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Executive producer Irwin Yablans was against not using Michael Myers in this sequel. He has said in interviews he had little to do with the finished film, and basically received credit for his minor involvement. He also said he did receive a "fat cheque" for his trouble.
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(at around 24 mins) The plaza where Challis called his ex-wife on the pay phone to shirk his parental responsibilities was also featured in Halloween II (1981) when Darcy is trying to get Karen to keep her promise of taking her home.
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The Silver Shamrock theme was played a total of 14 times in the movie: four times at the gas station, once at Linda Challis' home; once at the hospital, once in the bar, twice on the television screens in the shop window, twice on the radio, once in the motel office, once in test room A, and once in the final admittance area.
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Interestingly it was the opening sequence of one of the films written by prolific British Sci-Fi writer Nigel Kneale, the man who retracted his contributions to the script of Halloween III, that inspired John Carpenter's iconic opening of the first Halloween film. It was the intro of the 1967 film "The Quatermass and the Pit", part of a trilogy and based on a popular character that Kneale created that turned the initial sequence from a sidewalk pan ending on a mask to the close-up pumpkin and extinguished light.
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(at around 21 mins) You can hear the voice of Essex Smith, the actor who plays gas station attendant Walter, as the play-by-play commentator of the baseball game Challis is watching in the bar when Ellie finds him.
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When Dr. Challis is attending to a patient near the start of the film, a nurse mentions a "Dr. Castle," which is likely a reference to Nick Castle who played Michael Myers in the first film (credited as "The Shape").
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The film takes from Saturday October 23 to Sunday October 31, dating it to 1982. The days and dates portrayed in the film are chronologically accurate.
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In one of the several commercial of Silver Shamrock can be seen a shop called "Landis Dept. Store". It's a nod for John Landis, horror director of An American Werewolf in London (1981).
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(at around 1h 16 mins) When Cochran talks to Daniel in the holding cell, he mentions the ancient Irish holiday, Samhain. The sacrifices referred to by Daniel are references to the Pagan tradition rituals that were developed in the early stages of the ancient holiday. Cochran says he based his plan on the ancient holiday of Samhain. Many of the customs associated with the Halloween holiday have their roots in Samhain.
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The film is included on the film critic Roger Ebert's "Most Hated" list.
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The "Big Halloween Three"- the Silver Shamrock masks that are ceaselessly advertised in the movie- consisted of two altered masks that were already in the Don Post Studios' repertoire (the skull and the witch) and one made exclusively for the film (the jack-o'-lantern). The company was sold to Pennsylvania-based business Paper Magic Group, Inc. just before they were planning on re-releasing the masks to the public during the 2012 Halloween season. However, the rights were bought by California-based company Trick or Treat Studios and replicas of the original have been available to the public since 2014.
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(at around 21 mins) Michael Myers does appear briefly in this film, on a television advertising the original Halloween (1978). It comes near the beginning when Dan Challis is drinking in a bar.
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Contrary to what has been reported, Jamie Lee Curtis was NOT the voice of the operator in Santa Mira. This has been confirmed by director Tommy Lee Wallace, Halloween superfan Sean Clark, and Jamie Lee Curtis herself.
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The building that posed as The Dublin Inn no longer exists due to a fire in the 1980s.
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(at around 7 mins) At the beginning of the film the Silver Shamrock masks are introduced as the "Big Halloween 3"- an obvious play on the movie's title.
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"Season of the Witch" was the original working title of Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973). "Season Of The Witch" is also the name of a song by Donovan and the name for the George A. Romero film Season of the Witch (1972). Also the name of a Nicolas Cage movie: Season of the Witch (2011).
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Upon his admittance to the hospital, Dr. Challis prescribed the same drug to Harry Grimbridge as mentioned by Dr. Loomis to Nurse Chambers for Michael Myers in the first film- Thorazine. It is used to suppress mental, mood and psychotic disorders.
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Actress Stacey Nelkin had never seen the first two Halloweens. When she was given the gig of Halloween 3, she thought she had better watch them.
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The ONLY time in the film that the Rose of Shannon motel office light goes off is when Challis enters the premises to contact the authorities after the factory tour- possibly a visual cue for the suited men to kidnap Ellie. When he leaves the office, the light is on again.
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In Spain the film wasn't projected in cinemas until 34 years later, only in a premiere in Barcelona (Phenomena) for 1 day in subtitled version.
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Harry Grimbridge's room number was 13, the unlucky number.
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A similar version of Cochran's humanoids can also be seen in Fright Night (1985).
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In the Rose of Shannon motel registry, Harry Grimbridge noted the location of his shop as an address in Sierra Madre. The bar that Ellie finds Challis in and the shop with the televisions in the window were located there in real life.
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Ellie's car is a 1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.
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(at around 29 mins) When the Kupfers' RV pulls into the motel, the song playing on the radio is "Do The Boogaloo" performed by Quango and Sparky.
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In the podcast/show How Did This Get Made...episode #74
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Based on Challis' ingenious attack on Cochran's henchmen in the final admittance area it can be determined that the Stonehenge-implanted trademark chips, combined with the Magic Pumpkin, does not have the same effect on robots. Little Buddy Kupfer's head became a deadly mass of insects and snakes- the robots were stunned and deactivated.
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The second John Carpenter produced film, the first being The Fog, where Tom Atkins plays a character who winds up having a sexual relationship with a much younger woman... who makes the first move on HIM.
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The film takes place around Halloween 1982. The children in the film are told to wear their masks and watch TV at 9:00PM on Halloween night (at which time, the chip in the masks will be activated). In reality, the film Halloween (1978) was broadcast on NBC at 9:00PM on Sunday, October 31st, 1982.
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Telephone number of the Motel of Santa Mira is 1-555-2462.
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Considering John Carpenter usually is the head composer, the music heard during the robot henchmen scenes bears many similarities to Stephens King's Christine, made two years after this film!
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The fluid coming out of the robots' mouths is orange juice.
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After Daniel yells "STOP IT!" on the phone at the very end of the film, the screen cuts to black and then the end credits. Originally, the ending theme wasn't going to be played during the credits. Instead, it was supposed to be the screams of millions of children being murdered. Director Tommy Lee Wallace decided not to add this, so the ending could be ambiguous and add a possibility that they were saved. When lead actor Tom Atkins saw this new ending, he was much more satisfied with the film (in spite of critical reception) and likes to imagine his characters struggles weren't in vain.
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Despite the film ending with ambiguity over whether Dan Challis saved the children by convincing the broadcasting company to stop the commercial, the novelization for "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" by Dennis Etchison makes it very clear in describing that Challis failed. It is described that the endless screams of dying children could be heard 'throughout the station, the town, and the land beyond.'
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Body count: 9.
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(at around 1h 30 mins) A special platform was built for the scene that shows the robot Ellie Grimbridge's head poking out of the ground next to her body. The scene was done by having Stacey Nelkin stick her head through a hole in the platform while a body double wearing Ellie's clothes stuck her head down another hole on the platform.
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The book that Marge Guttman is reading before her death in the motel room is "The Eagle's Gift" by Carlos Castaneda.
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Besides this film, another John Carpenter film, The Thing (1982) also ends ambiguous like Halloween 3, leaving the audience to question whether or not if anyone survives after the credits go to black.
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Marge Guttman's body was not discovered for almost four hours after the misfire. When Challis and Ellie are lying in bed just prior to Marge's tampering of the chip behind the company trademark, the analog clock face says 10:10. When they are awakened later by the sound of the factory vehicles driving up to the motel, the clock says 1:50.
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