HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982)
The controversial sequel turns 40 today!!
Halloween III: Season of the Witch was released 40 years ago today and it has brought back memories, as I was there opening night with friends at the now long-gone Cinema 35 in Paramus, NJ. Fans were cautious as this would be a Halloween film without Michael Myers…something that some audience members did not know upon hearing angry and disappointed post-show comments. Carpenter considered Myers’ story over and thus was planning to turn the franchise into an anthology series, with a new and different story each year. This chapter was directed by long-time Carpenter friend and collaborator Tommy Lee Wallace. I really enjoyed this flick and was fully onboard for what Carpenter was planning. My friends whom I attended the showing with weren’t so happy with it and there was much discussion on the way home. Me championing the film all the way while they were highly critical and disappointed. Box office numbers were ultimately disappointing, and Carpenter’s anthology never went any further. Myers returned in a series of lackluster sequels six years later.
I have been a fan of this sequel ever since and it’s watched every Halloween, along with Halloween and Halloween II as part of the “Big Three.” Personally, I am not a fan of the sequels that followed after Carpenter left the franchise and would have loved to have seen his annual Halloween anthology plans come to pass, with word that Halloween IV would have been a haunted house movie. I am very happy to see this flick finally find it’s fanbase and get the love it deserves. It’s a twisted Halloween tale and possibly embraces the spirit of the holiday even better than its two Michael Myers based predecessors. That’s just my opinion and am glad to celebrate this delightfully gruesome Halloween story with a twisted sense of humor that embraces the term trick or treat!
One of my favorite moments in the film is when asked “why” by hero Dr. Dan Challis (Tom Atkins), bad guy Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy) delivers one of the greatest villain monologues of all time in Halloween III: Season of the Witch!…
“Do I need a reason? Mr. Kupfer was right, you know. I do love a good joke, and this is the best ever: a joke on the children. But there’s a better reason. You don’t really know much about Halloween. You thought no further than the strange custom of having your children wear masks and go out begging for candy.
It was the start of the year in our old Celtic lands, and we’d be waiting in our houses of wattles and clay. The barriers would be down, you see, between the real and the unreal, and the dead might be looking in to sit by our fires of turf.
Halloween… the festival of Samhain! The last great one took place three thousand years ago, when the hills ran red with the blood of animals and children.”
Gives me chills just transcribing it here, and I can hear the late, great Dan O’Herlihy’s deep voice echo in my head as I do!
Much maligned for decades, Halloween IIl: Season of the Witch has now earned some well-deserved love and taken its place as classic franchise canon!
HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH!