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Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Upon watching Halloween III, I learned that I have spent most of my life believing a very inaccurate principle. Namely, I thought mankind came to some sort of agreement the word “sequel”. It surely didn’t seem like one of those words open to interpretation like, say, “God.” Yet Halloween III, considered by hundreds of people employed at the Motion Picture Association of America to be a sequel of Halloween, indeed failed in my definition. This brings me to the ultimate conundrum in horror movie reviewdom.
The movie is not about Michael Myers, barely mentions Michael Myers, nor involves anyone related to Michael Myers. The film is about a Halloween company overtaken by Celtic warlocks who make masks that cause children’s heads to explode. I am rather a fan of this concept. Yet, I am a much, MUCH larger fan of William Shatner masked serial killers. Thus lies my quandary. Should I review this film as a pitiful failure of a sequel or a halfway decent standalone movie? Well, why don’t you get comfy and we’ll figure this out together.
As a stand alone movie, I dug Halloween III’s plot. It bordered on unique (one rarely hears of Celtic warlocks infiltrating Corporate America these days). The storyline moved along quite well. It wasn’t scary, terrifying, or diarrhea-inducing by any stretch of the imagination, but it was damn fun (and funny, depending how many Bloody Marys you consumed before viewing). At one point upon viewing, I had a fleeting pipe dream of my computer’s screen saver being a flashing Atari-esque jack o’ lantern with the Shamrock Halloween countdown song playing behind it. Needless to say, this dream still remains grossly unfulfilled.
On the downside, the acting was positively atrocious. This was not aided at all by equally horrendous special effects. And the camera didn’t move, ever. If I didn’t have such a firm grip on reality, I may have thought I was watching a grammar school stage play. Still, these cinematic missteps were relatively OK. Instead of being unbearable, the film had a campy, not-taking-ourselves-too-seriously quality to it, kind of like Pieces. The scare factor was greatly hindered, but the “so bad, it’s good” light was switched way on. Removing it from its predecessors, Halloween III was actually not all that bad. In fact, it’s rather quirky and enjoyable.
The problem lies when you realize you are watching a movie entitled Halloween III. As fun as Halloween III is, it’s still a poor substitute for the first two Halloween movies. In Halloween III, the trailer for the original Halloween movie is shown on TV. The question remains: how can Halloween III be a sequel if it is clearly not even on the same plane of being as its predecessor? The excuse given to us by the movie company was that Halloween was going to be a series of movies based on the Halloween season, but with completely different stories. This would be a rather cool concept if 1) they let the viewing audience know about this concept, preferably in advance, and 2) Halloween II was about anything except Michael Myers.
My recommendation, oh future Halloween III viewer, is to stop referring to the movie as Halloween III. Instead, refer to it as Season of the Witch. If you say it enough you might forget it’s related to Halloween all together, or at least your Tourettesque screams of “sell out” will come to a minimum. It really is a fun little flick for the Halloween season if you go in with the right expectations. At very, very least, you can annoy your cubicle mates every morning with the “4 more days to Halloween...” song.