Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH
WRITER: Tommy Lee Wallace
DIRECTOR: Tommy Lee Wallace
STARRING: Tom Atkins as Daniel Challis
Stacey Nelkin as Ellie Grimbridge
Dan O'Herlihy as Conal Cochran
QUICK CUT: The story of a loving toy maker who has created the best selling Halloween masks of all time, and is selling them to the kids of the nation!
Dan - A doctor who stumbles onto the biggest and weirdest conspiracy ever. He's smart, and caring, but maybe a bit hyperfocused, as he dives headlong into solving the mystery, to the point of blowing off his kids.
Ellie - The love interest of the movie, although she should be the focus, since it's her dad who kicks things off.
Conal Cochran - The man behind the curtain at Silver Shamrock, and the creator of these amazing masks. He's cunning and sure of himself, and doesn't try too hard to stop anyone finding out his secrets.
THE GUTS: Happy happy Halloween, Triskelions! And yes, here at Trisk, Halloween is a month long affair, as it should be. I know we've had a series of reviews with a secret theme going, and I'm just going to let you know, this movie is NOT part of that, but it is October, and it is time to review Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. At one time, THE most hated, reviled sequel in the Halloween franchise, if not any horror franchise in the 80s. So, how bad is it? Let's go!
We get right into things after the credits, on October the 23rd....the far less evil cousin of Friday the 13th. A man is frantically running away from unseen danger, a pumpkin mask jammed in his pocket.
It's not long before he's found in a car lot by a Man in a Suit, and choked. Before he dies though, he grasps frantically at a chain holding a block from under a car's wheel, and it comes careening to his rescue. His attacker is crushed between itself and another car. He beats feet before another Man in a Suit can catch him.
Oh, as we wander to a gas station, there's a tv news report infodump of a stolen stone from Stonehenge. Gee, does anyone else think this will be important later? Naaah, probably not!
There's also a commercial for a trio of masks from Silver Shamrock, one of which was the one the not quite dead guy was running with. This commercial will be even more important later on than Stolenhenge
Speaking of Mister Not Quite Dead, he stumbles into the gas station where these things are being watched, and passes out, not far from death's door.
Meanwhile, Frank MacRae is done chasing the Maniac Cop, and comes home to his estranged wife and kids. He brought his kids some masks, but they already have ones from Silver Shamrock, and toss dad's aside.
Turns out Frank is actually Doctor Goblet this time around, and gets called in to deal with Mister Not Quite Dead.
After he finishes his rounds, Goblet heads off, and the second Man in the Suit arrives to finish what his pal started.
A nurse interrupts him as he's tearing dead guy's face off, and Goblet comes running. He follows the man out to his car, and watches as the Man in the Suit pours gasoline on himself, and blows up his car, a reward for a job well done.
The next day, Ellie Grimbridge arrives to ID her father, and be told that it was all pretty random, and the dude was probably high on drugs. Which is as rational an excuse as any, really.
We jump forward a few days, with Dan trying to convince a coworker to investigate the strange fiery death, because he doesn't buy the drugs excuse.
Goblet heads to the bar to unwind after work, and he gets assaulted by that infernal jingle a few more times. Oh, and something else...
So, Ellie shows up to chat with Dan, and the pair team up for great justice. They do some investigating, and see the last thing her father did before he died was head up to Santa Mira where the Silver Shamrock masks are made.
The pair check into a hotel in town, and Dan sees Ellie's father did indeed check in there as well, so they're onto something. Also, they run into, almost literally, another couple, the Kupfers. And what's a Kupfer you may ask? Well, fer putting your coffee in, of course!
And fun easter egg, as the town rolls up the streets for the night, and the company's loudspeakers spout out commands, it is the voice of Laurie Strode herself, Jamie Lee Curtis.
Dan wanders the town at night, and runs into a local, who has a bone to pick with Colonel Cockring, the man who came to town and turned it into the biggest mask manufacturer this side of the Mississippi. He's not pleased that Cockring passed over the locals and instead brought in all outside help to make his fortune, and he's gonna get revenge.
Or, he won't, as he runs afoul of the Men in Suits and they take care of any sort of revenge plots he may be cooking up.
Meanwhile, another person having issues with her mask orders, in the room next door to our heroes is playing with a Silver Shamrock tag she found, and discovers it has a microchip in it. A MICROCHIP CONTAINING DOOM LASERS.
The chip blasts her in the mouth, runing years of dental work and good oral hygeine, and as she dies, bugs start crawling out. Is that the secret to her good gums?
Colonel Cockring provides her corpse with the best medical care in his factory, which is not at all suspicious. Goblet and Darktower also overhear them talking about a misfire, so there's something rotten in the state of California.
Saturday the 30th finally arrives, and you know what that means! It's Devil's Night! FIRE IT UP! FIRE IT UP! *ahem*
Anyways, Dan and Ellie head to Silver Shamrock to continue their investigation, get e typical runaround, and the usual stalling. The Kupfers also arrive, and get taken on a tour of the place, also inviting our heroes along for the ride.
So they go on the tour, see how the saus...the masks are made, etc etc and it all seems above board. Well, except for the mysterious 'trade secrets' and final processing.
While they wander around, Goblet notices some people standing around, and notices their striking resemblence to the not drugged up firebug.
This all seems very strange indeed, and they try to get out of town that night, but not before calling the authorities. Or trying to, but Laurie the Operator keeps stopping them.
Dan rushes back to the room after his failed calls, and sees Ellie is missing, most likely from the Villiage of the Damned wannabes now surrounding the hotel. Dan escapes before they can grab him too, and he goes on the run
So he eventually sneaks back into the Silver Shamrock factory, because where else are you gonna take her, right? There is a LOT of wandering, but thankfully we get spared the cliche shouting of names.
Dan eventually gets found though, and there's a fight, during which Dan punches right through the guy, pulling out wires, and yellow goo. Well, there's yer problem.
While he's totally gobsmacked, more Men in Suits grab him, and Colonel Cockring arrives to bring him on the rest of the grand tour. Oh, he also reveals he was never fooled by his lies, and always knew he was Doctor Goblet.
Cockring reveals his Men in Suits are not normal humans, but...y'know, it's never really spelled out. Robots? Automatons? Meatsuit vehicles for sentient bugs?
Oh, and yes, Cockring has the missing stone from Stonehenge, where the druids dwell. Surprise. He refers to it as 'ancient technology' but I'm just gonna roll with the gibberish technomancy from this point on.
Meanwhile, the Kupfers are ushered to a test room to focus group some commercials. They urge kids to put on their masks right now. The screen starts flashing wildly, and everyone watching this episode of Pokemon has a seizure...wait, no.
Instead, Little Buddy's mask melts, he falls over, and snakes and bugs and critters burst forth. This seems like a terrible plan. But I'll get into that in a minute.
As we montage across the country, with kids everywhere putting on their masks to get ready for the big announcement, Dan's doctor friend is still digging through the ashes of the guy who torched himself, and before she discovers it was a robot, another Man in a Suit shows up to tie up lose ends.
Back at the factory, Colonel Cockring sits back and explains what's going on. Kinda. Vaguely. He talks about the festival of Samhain, and the sacrifices, and power. But really, what's he going for here? Use masks that trigger via a signal to melt people's heads, but only kids, and only if they're wearing the masks, at the right time, AND hearing the signal? For vague promises of 'power'? It never quite gels for me. It's not horrible, but it's weirdly specifically vague.
Anyways, he sticks a mask on Dan's head, and leaves the tv on, so the mask will do his dirty work in an hour or two. In the meantime, he gets to watch the original Halloween, so yay! Not a terrible last movie to watch.
Dan kicks out the tv though, so I guess he's not a fan. He uses the broken glass to cut his ropes, and throws the mask over the camera watching him. In the control room, there's a shot of the security feed, with the view through the camera's eye holes, and that may well be the single best visual reference to the originals, ever.
He makes his escape, calls home and THIS time he manages to get his ex-wife on the line. He warns her about the masks, but she's had it with his bullshit and hangs up on him. So, he runs off to find Ellie, so he won't be going it alone.
They sneak their way down to the Stonehenge room, and stick to the shadows while Cockring waits for his plan to come to fruition. Seriously, the Cylons had a better plan.
He sneaks into the control area, and activates the killer commercial on their local feeds. Dan quickly grabs a box of the Silver Shamrock tags, runs to the catwalks, and tosses them down from the sky, raining sparky blue death upon Cockring's minions.
The stone is angry at this, and as Cockring congratulates his opponents on a well deserved victory, he gets blasted with blue light, and disappears in a puff of logic. And I guess you could call that piece of Stonehenge, housing secret non-stonelike abilities, a silver sham rock.
But the piece of Stonehenge explodes, taking the factory down with it in flames, and I am just gonna breeze right past an exploding rock. And now Stonehenge is ruined.
Goblet and Grumpywalkway drive off, but the commercials are still queued up to air, and the kids will still have their brains melted. Before Dan the Man can come up with a plan, Ellie is revealed to have become one of Cochran's automatons, and makes the car crash.
Dan grabs a tire iron and smashes her into a couple pieces, continuing on his way to save the children. Or he would, but Elliebot keeps coming back to attack him, despite having lost her head.
She eventually gives up, and he runs off to find help, ending up at the same gas station from the start of the movie where Ellie's father ended up. It's a nice bookending.
Dan grabs a phone, urging the networks to get the ads off the air. He succeeds on one channel, and another, but it still plays on a third channel. He shouts into the phone for it to end, and the movie ends, leaving you to wonder if he succeeded, or kids across the globe spat out snakes for Halloween.
Next time on Trisk, come back as I look at something a little more psychic killer than Jennifer turned out to be...
Video: This looks really great, considering. It's sharp, the colours are good, and everything is clear and bright. Almost too much, but it looks great on the Universal disc.
Audio: Just as good.
Sound Bite: "Eight more days 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. Eight more days 'til Halloween, Silver Shamrock!" YEAH IT'S STUCK IN YOUR HEAD TOO NOW! SUCK IT!
Body Count: They may be automatons, but I count 'em, and this movie actually has a pretty nice pile of death.
1 - Just shy of six minutes in, and suited goon gets pinned by a car.
2 - Whatshernames dad dies by having his face broken off.
3 - The other man in the suit immolates himself.
4 - Local man gets his head ripped off, news at 11!
5 - Little Buddy's head turns into lizards and snakes.
6 - Followed by his mom
7 - And his dad.
8 - Teddy the nurse doctor gets killed.
9 - A large chunk of Cochran's minions get fried at once.
10 - Ellie is revealed to be a technomanntic automaton, revealing the real Ellie is likely dead. Either way, the bot gets crushed too.
Best Corpse: The woman who blasted her face. That makeup was amazing.
Peak Corpse: Pretty much reached immediately, since Dan never buys that Ellie's dad was killed by a drugged up stock broker.
Blood Type - C+: Most of the 'blood' in this comes from the yellow goo in the O'Robots. There's a few good moments though, but they're few and far between, highlighted by one or two solid makeup moments.
Sex Appeal: Nothing to speak of, save for some almost nudity in the hotel with Dan and Ellie
Drink Up! EVERY TIME YOU HEAR THAT SONG.
Video Nasties: I've talked about that faceblast so much, I kinda had to make it the highlight clip.
Movie Review: So, everyone hated Season of the Wotch when it came out, HAAAAATED IT, largely because it didn't have Michael Meyers in it, or connected to the first two movies in any way. And as I pointed out, IT EASILY COULD HAVE. Michael's mask? Made my Silver Shamrock. There, boom, done. Heck, make his FIRST mask, back in the 50s or whatever, be from them, and that's what corrupted him, melting his brain, in a super early prototype. But I digress. The movie is actually pretty solid. It's biggest problem is that the evil plot is a bit absurd, as I said. And it has some draggy bits where you just want them to get to it already. But as a horror thriller mystery story? It's perfectly fine. If this had been named ANYthing else, it would've been a quietly acknowledged, little known cult classic. Instead of taking thirty years to become a WELL KNOWN cult classic. The acting is above par, the effects are decent, it's a Halloween movie. It's jut not a HALLOWEEN movie, y'know? Three out of five automatons
Entertainment Value: It's weird, but there's nothing major that jumps out at me for this section. It's just a perfectly average, acceptable, thriller. Nothing is bad enough to be silly, it's just an average movie, and that's just fine. I enjoyed it, and was entertained, three out of five catchy jingles.