Saturday, October 2, 2010

Halloween III Season of the Witch: 29 More Days Till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. 29 Days Till Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

People around these parts tend to get really excited when Halloween III is brought up. To many it signifies a nostalgic piece of horror movie history and to others it serves as one of the front runners for the perfect Halloween themed film. For me it survives as something that people have always been telling me to see. Its mere existence alone is quite boggling to the millions of normal people that can't seem to grasp how a film can be called Halloween III and not contain any connections to any other film in the series. I found it to be delightful in its own right and find it very easy to simply separate it from the Halloween series.

According to the world, Halloween III was meant to revive the series after Michael Myers' death in the 2nd film. Creators hoped that every year a new film would be out spinning a different dark tale to compliment the Halloween season. Wouldn't that just have been wonderful? I love the idea, although I don't think its name needed to be attached to the Halloween series at all. It's too bad that people love Michael Myers a little too much and this idea never fully made it off the ground. Regardless, Halloween III is an interesting story filled with some real shenanigans and...snakes.

After the mysterious death of Harry Grimbridge, Dr. Challis (played by the always randy Tom Atkins) teams up with his Grimbridge's daughter to find out the circumstances leading to his death. The pair are led to the mysterious factory town of Santa Mira where the trendy Halloween masks are made by the Silver Shamrock company. Here, Challis uncovers a terrible plot to rid the world of children, orchestrated by a man who obviously despises what Halloween has become.

The most important thing you need to know about Halloween III is that if the music in the first Halloween was enough to scare the pants off you, the music in the third film is enough to make you want to jump out the nearest window.

I'm pretty sure this song was cackling menacingly in the background of my dream last night and that the little man who sells newspapers outside the Dunkin Donuts was playing it on his radio. This song--WILL HAUNT YOU. Something about it is also just really creepy. First off it's a terrible commercial, yet the kids continue to get excited about it. Second of all...what shitty masks. I only get to choose between three masks?

What kind of Halloween is this? I'm shocked so many kids purchased these crap masks. Especially when some of them have perfectly good Halloween costumes that they then proceed to ruin by putting a pumpkin mask over.

The second most important thing you need to know about Halloween III is that once again Tom Atkins proves that he holds the record for quickest bed of broad.

Seriously the man is unstoppable. All he has to do is look at some girl and she gets magnetically pulled to his groin area. What is the secret? His mustache? Probably. Or maybe it's the sex appeal that oozes out when he gets angry.

Yesss that is it.

While I do enjoy Halloween III for what it is, I do naturally find problems with it that prevent me for loving it to the max. The biggest one for me is that it doesn't feel very Halloweeny. There is a brief Halloween segment with the kids trick or treating but other than that, it may as well have been June. The atmosphere is kind of non-existent when there is such a dependence on the figuring out the mystery behind Grimbridge's death. I expected to be submerged into a Halloween night complete with howling wind and an atmosphere that convinced me I could smell burning leaves. Sadly I was just annoyed that we were stuck in some crappy Irish motel. The other main problem of the film is that's just not very scary. There's a lot of attempts at what I'm guessing they thought would be scary--but the timing just seems off and the same attempts are used 3 times in a row. The best example perhaps is when Tom Atkins finds out whats her face is a robot. We get the initial scare of her, then she pops up behind him, then her arm does the surprising and then there's one more surprise. One crappy scare is enough!

Now apart from what are some obvious problems I did quite enjoy most of what was happening. While it does seem to drag on a little and I enjoyed the mystery of it all--the best part is still just the effects of the mask.

Although, I'm not sure how effective snakes would really be...(I mean seriously just run away) but it looks cool as fuck. I'm also a little fuzzy on the whole witchcraft element of this which now that I think about it, is also something I would have loved to see handled better. I mean, it IS called Season of the Witch but all I got was some dodgy old man and a piece of Stonehenge.

There were some good old fashioned creepy McCreeperson moments though complete with what I find to be one of the creepiest things I've seen in a while.

Even if she was a real person--holy crap.

The ending also kinds of brings me down. I was rooting for a full blown worldwide bug explosion but sadly that is not the case. Ambivalence is nice but it was just too darn exciting to just cut it off so abruptly! I guess it just feels like so much was glossed over in this. Overall I think a lot of people despise this movie and they shouldn't. On its own, and apart from the Halloween series the film is a fine film to enjoy once the Halloween season gets underway. Sure it's not the greatest, but we can at least enjoy it for all its squishy bug goodness. Plus the idea of a mask doing this

to someone's face is too fantastic to despise.

Oh and I forgot--if Halloween II was able to keep on budget by giving Jamie Lee Curtis a terrible wig, than Halloween III was able to do so by providing the firefighters with this terribly convincing costume.

The little FD part of his hat would flop back and forth from the slightest nod of the head. Red felt is flame retardant right?


CinemaslaveJoe said...

Haha! This was a fun read. I love HALLOWEEN III, and share your assessment that it would have been a far more successful film if it had simply been called SEASON OF THE WITCH, or *anything else* besides HALLOWEEN III. A shame this movie gets so little love from Myers fans. And I never even noticed the ridiculousness of the firefighter costume until you pointed it out. That's how observant *I* am!

Dod said...

Great review, Andre - I always had a hidden soft spot for this movie. Tom Atkins and that GREAT Silver Shamrock song? There's some great sinister backstory going on during the course of the movie that I always dug.

And I can't get that song out of my head.

Unknown said...

I plan on doing a drunken commentary of this film later in the month.

The best part of he film is Tom Atkins quickly deciding to ditch his kids, pick up a sixer and make with the bedspring waltz the girl who just found out her dad was murdered.


Andre Dumas said...

Hahah well he IS an alcoholic Mike!

matango said...

I've never seen this movie, but I've seen the part where they test the mask on the kid. The song gets stuck in my brain like gum in hair.

Regarding the different stories every Halloween, I would've liked to have seen that, but I expect it would have run out of steam quickly and now we'd be watching "Halloween XXVIII: Sexy Ninja Turtle Costume."

Emily said...

I really wish that there was a different Halloween themed movie that came out every year- that would be AWESOME! I do love this one, but the first time I saw it when I was little, I immediately decided I hated it because of the lack of Michael Myers. Luckily, my eyes were opened somewhat later on, and now it is a Halloween staple for me.

It always annoyed me as well that there were only THREE choices for masks!!! I thought everyone wanted to be unique on Halloween. My guess is that maybe there was some kind of subliminal messaging in the commercial that drilled into the kids brains that these, and only these, were the masks they wanted.

Andre Dumas said...

Haha just because i wanted to be a sexy ninja turtle for Halloween matango.....

Emily that is true. The OTHER reason people don't love this movie is because they think it is solely a commentary on consumerism and commercialism. Hence the being told to buy a crappy mask and loving it. Whatever, I hate masks because A. they smell and B. you can't see crap. Although one time I had a tennis ball mask which was just a giant tennis ball with a goofy face and it was pretty awesome. This was not around Halloween though so that doesn't count.

I actually got into an awkward Twitter fight with someone who was writing this film off due to the absence of Michael Myers. I believe they used the words "don't bother" and "worst film ever made". Yikes.

Alex Berry said...

I'm so happy that this movie is finally getting the respect it deserves. I feel like in recent years there have been more and more positive reviews of it.

Halloween III could have been the start of a great tradition, it's too bad they went back and killed everything that was interesting about Michael Myers by turning him into some kind of...superhuman thing a la Jason.

I have always wanted a Pumpkin mask that looked just like the ones in this movie. I've yet to find one that looks enough like it.

This is a bit off topic, but on the general note of Halloween, I noticed there are SEVERAL officially licensed "Sam" (from Trick R Treat) masks available online. The thing is, all of them are kind of lame. Why would you want a latex mask in the shape of a burlap sack? Better to just make your own, I guess.

The Mike said...

I've come to accept this movie into The Mike family over the years, though it took a loooooong time. It's silly, yet inventive and catchy. And there's an El Camino in it.

Also, I honestly think this is one of Carpenter's very best musical scores (aside from the Silver Shamrock thang). On par with Halloween, I'd even say.

Great stuff, ma'am.

Andre Dumas said...

That's true Alex, and I find that's also true with all costumes. I'm a firm believer in making up your own costume. I can find a waay better looking costume finding things at Goodwill than buying a cheap 50 dollar costume online. The Sam thing though especially. That's like buying a white sheet ghost costume...very silly.

Anonymous said...

Damn, I'm a few weeks late to comment!! Anyway just wanted to say that everyone on here Halloween III has been a seasonal favourite of mine since the first viewing in 1987 on VHS, when my mom and pa went out one evening and rented a video tape for me to watch - this was it! I was already a fan of John Carpenter's original before I saw this. I have always found it strange that people didn't like it, as I just took it as a film at face value and enjoyed it. I think it's an 80's classic horror. Sadky they don't make 'em like this anymore.

Anonymous said...

man I love this movie - the atmosphere is everything to me - great synth music to set mood - a small town completely controlled by Conol Cochrsn, everything gets shutdown in the early evening and being out in the open results in death or transformation into an evil Cochran robot mech. This really fell into line with the first 2 movies in that it seemed like this story took place a town over from Haddonfield (similar looking hospitals, the same cinematography).
Also, with how emotionless a trance-like state Cochran's male
workers were in, when I was a kid before I found out the first 2 films weren't related, I thought the trance of evil that Micheal Myers was being controlled by was the same as in those Cochran guys.
(Just an observation from a 10 year old who thought the films were connected.)