WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Of all the trilogies that went awry this week, this one really went all out to screw up a franchise. The only way this could have been more of an 80s mess is if Linnea Quigly had been in it. A little birdy has informed me that the Halloween franchise has long since past the point where its a trilogy (I don’t think there are words for the number of movies that make it up now) but trying to find three separate franchises where the first two movies were connected and the third falls under the banner but has nothing to do with the first two is a tall order. Let’s travel back to a simpler and less colour coordinated time and investigate the wonders of Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
John Carpenter, Debra Hill and Tommy Lee Wallace’s ill-conceived idea begins on a back road somewhere where a strange man is running away from a mysterious car. This movie’s nearly 100 minute run time is incredibly well padded, so the running carries on for quite a while before the car and its drivers eventually find the man hiding in plain sight and try to kill him with their bare hands. The man manages to escape and make his way to a little gas station but not without a few injuries, so the owner (who has a very odd-looking face) takes him to the hospital to be treated. It’s here that we meet our first main character, Dr Dan Challis. The good doctor really doesn’t do much but sleep in the nurse’s lounge, but for him to be active right now would interfere with the plot’s (alleged) development. In one of the rooms our stranger has been sedated and is busy resting, all the while clinging to a jack-o-lantern mask that he refuses to give up. While he’s sleeping a man similar to one of the Men In Black goes into the room and cracks the stranger’s skull in before going back to his car and setting himself on fire. Making any sense yet? No? Don’t worry, I’ll try to get you there…
In an attempt to shift the movie into second gear we find out that the stranger has a daughter named Ellie, and she wants to know exactly why anyone would want to kill her dear old dad. Since the old man owned a Halloween novelty store and was on his way to top up on his Silver Shamrock line of Halloween masks she decides that this is as good a place as any to start. Dr Dan also goes beyond the call duty and decides to tag along with her to try and find out what happened to his poor patient. The two make their way to Santa Mira, a tiny little Irish community in the hell and back of nowhere that’s about as relaxed and welcoming as London in 1984. Everyone’s under surveillance, the entire town is centred around the Silver Shamrock factory, a curfew’s in effect from 6pm and the most irritating advert for the Shamrock masks is playing on every TV in the country. Still not seeing how the movie’s working here? Don’t worry, if you actually watch it in all its tedious glory everything’s so slow to happen that you have plenty time to figure out what’s going on.
OK, so the long short of it is that the Silver Shamrock company is busy making some very special Halloween masks for all the wee ones out there. The factory is owned by a man named Conal Cochran and the masks he’s making come kitted out with a very special trademark attached to the back that, when activated, kills the children and makes them ooze insects. This is all in some way connected to an ancient Celtic sacrifice that apparently takes place every 3000 years and involves sacrificing a lot of children at a time of planetary alignment. The trademarks are powered by a giant stone that Cochran managed to steal from Stonehenge and cart all the way back to the States without anyone noticing a thing. The stone, along with the bewitched and bedazzled trademarks, will activate themselves on Halloween night (most of the movie takes place in the lead up to Halloween rather than on the actual day) by a specially programmed advert. Dr Dan and Ellie now need to find a way into the factory, find out what’s happening, stop Cochran and not be killed by his army of super advanced robots.
My final thoughts. Having read some reviews I was quite surprised to find that some people out there quite enjoyed this movie. I think the problem for me personally is that the Halloween movies, apart from this one, define what good horror is and they are the standard against which all other movies are measured. Michael Myers terrified me as a child and can still give me nightmares, so to see this is just sad. Whether it could have functioned as a stand alone movie if it didn’t fall into the Halloween franchise is hard to say. To give it some credit, however, despite its complete lack of continuity and irritatingly slow pace it does contain two short scenes from the original Halloween movie in it. Having done that it already has more of an authentic Halloween feel to it than anything Rob Zombie could have hoped to accomplish 🙂
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- A car moving at 1.5 miles an hour can easily crush a man.
- Brandy and surgery go brilliantly together.
- You need a little lower arm strength to rip someone’s skull to pieces.
- Malls will be the death of small Halloween mask shops.
- Motels bring out the sleazy in everyone.
- Security cameras in the 80s were designed to be very loud and very noticeable.
- The local town drunk should be your first port of call when trying to snoop for information.
- Children frequently go trick or treating way up in the hills surrounding a major city.
HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH TRAILER
BUY HALLOWEEN III SEASON OF THE WITCH AT AMAZON.COM