The small drop-off in quality from the first Halloween and Halloween II is totally overshadowed by the terrifying quality drop as the franchise moves to its third feature, Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Fasten your seatbelts: this review is going to be a bumpy ride. The third installment in the Michael Myers franchise, released in 1982, doesn’t even feature Michael Myers. Spoiler! This is the scariest thing about this film, for the record. In fact, I’m not even sure this film should be dropped into the serial killer creature category seeing as it’s missing its serial killer, but we can argue about that later. Season of the Witch is about a company called Silver Shamrock that produces Halloween masks. Its business practices are a bit shady and when a man dies after his visit there, his daughter and a concerned doctor head over to the factory to investigate. It’s soon discovered Silver Shamrock has a bit more planned for its masks than just good, clean fun.
It’s no secret, given the two I rated to this film, that I hated it. My first and biggest beef with it is the lack of Michael Myers. Producing a film as part of a franchise but leaving out its antagonist is an experiment gone horribly wrong. Viewers will tune into this film, expecting to watch Myers kill many and run never, but they’ll be sorely disappointed. As if leaving out its signature villain wasn’t enough, the film leaves out a villain entirely. Sure, Silver Shamrock is run by a semi-evil man, staffed by Terminator-like robots and fueled by the devil and Stonehenge (far-fetched has new meaning...) but there truly is no villain. Perhaps the masks are the actual villain, dissolving children’s faces and turning them into a mosh pit of snakes and insects. I’m not entirely sure, but I think if it’s this difficult to find the villain in a popular serial killer franchise, then something has gone wrong.
Aside from the missing Michael Myers, this film is even more dull than the second one. It drags at such a slow pace, yet is surprisingly only an hour and a half. The characters are incredibly one dimensional and most of them lack motive. The film even tosses in a completely unjustified and gratuitous sex scene between two characters - and Myers isn’t even there to punish them for it! The plot is far-fetched, even for a horror movie and when the “shocking” conclusion is eventually reached, viewers may find themselves wondering who wrote such a thing. The only thing this film does well with is the gross factor. The few scenes of the masks in action are disgusting and definitely creepy. There are a few kills that made me queasy and those at least reminded me that this was in fact a horror film. Sidenote: the only thing still haunting me from this movie is the Silver Shamrock theme song. I cannot get it out of my head. Three more days 'till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween... creepy.
A few gross shots do not a great horror film make, however. Rumor has it, John Carpenter originally intended the Halloween franchise to feature a completely new and different story each film, all taking place on Halloween. This film was the first test of that idea and it completely bombed, which is why Myers returns in the fourth installment and sticks around until the bloody end. I for one am happy it turned out this way because Season of the Witch was so dull, I can’t imagine what other installments would have been like. Paging Michael Myers...
If you liked Halloween III: Season of the Witch, you might also like Halloween 4, Halloween 5 and Halloween 6.