Director:Tommy Lee Wallace
Cast:Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O'Herlihy, Michael Currie, Ralph Strait, Jadeen Barbor, Bradley Schachter, Garn Stephens, Nancy Kyes
Like most children who grew up with a grandmother that let them watch every horror movie that their parents wouldn't let them, I was completely shit blasted to horror heaven by John Carpenter's Halloween. Michael Myers was the most terrifying thing on two legs. So imagine my happiness to discover soon afterwards that there was not only a sequel to the movie, but a series of sequels! Part 2 caused me to never want to step foot in a hospital ever again and gave me endless nightmares about needles in my eyeballs.
Needless to say, pre-pubescent Johnny could not wait to pop the third film into the VHS player to see the further exploits of M. Myers. The opening credits started with a sweet 80s synth score and featured quite a few familiar crew names. So far so good. A chase scene down a street...okay...not bad...wait a minute. WTF? That's not Michael Myers. Is this the right movie? Robots...witches...Stonehenge...gross masks...lasers...TOM ATKINS!? What the frack am I watching?
I'm sure most of you had the same reaction and are now saying "but John, you gave this movie a 6 out of 10, this must mean you kinda liked this blasphemes waste of celluloid. Are you effing smoking crack?" True, when I first watched the movie I was filled with a raging fiery hatred and cursed writer/director Tommy Lee Wallace's name on a minutely basis. But that was over fifteen years ago and I've had time to calm down and take in a few more viewings since. Our story revolves around Tom Atkins' discovery of a group of Druid witches plotting to rid the world of those pesky, annoying gnomes that we tend to call children.
The Silver Shamrock Company is selling masks that, if worn while viewing a seizure inducing commercial, unleash a barrage of crawling buggies and slithering snakes that (I assume) eat away at the kids face. Sounds pretty flippin' sweet right? Oh it gets better because we get robots...lots and lots of robots...robots that carry out the bidding of all the witches. Robots so convincingly human-like that you can have sex with one and not know the difference!
Season of the Witch is a straight up 80s cheese and, if you can ignore the fact that it's part of the Halloween series, you'll be able to enjoy it as such. The story line was pretty original for the time, considering it came out when the slasher movie ruled the horror world. It boasts some truly bad ass special effects with one of the most memorable being when we first see what the masks can do. Any movie that has the balls to kill off a kid in such a gruesome way gets bonus points in my book. (NOTE: I don't necessarily support the notion of killing young children; I just don't think anyone should be exempt in a horror movie).
The acting was above average with only a minimum of groan worthy, over the top performances. The standout was the late Dan O'Herlihy as the evil mastermind. This move has more in common with the first two films (behind the camera at least) than any other sequel in the series and you can tell. Even though he only produced it like the second one, the tone and atmosphere of the movie was true to most John Carpenter films of the 80s, reminding me most of Prince of Darkness...another movie that totally rocks face, if you haven't seen it.
It's not hard to find wrong in Halloween III, as some situations and dialog are downright laughable. And I would go on about the song featured in all the Silver Shamrock commercials, but the more I dwell on it, the higher the risk that that horrible piece of catchy annoyance will be stuck in my head for the better part of the week. The plot twist involving Atkins' love interest, while unexpected when I first saw it, makes absolutely no sense at all and is highly implausible, even in a movie about witches and robots.
The biggest mistake this movie made, as I'm sure most you will agree at this point, was bearing the Halloween title. Carpenter established characters and a story that we all came to love in the first two films and then completely threw it out for the third installment. I respect that he was trying to do something different, but it really should have been a separate film. But, hey, it beats Halloween: Resurrection (you DO NOT karate chop Michael Myers, I don't care how many rhymes you bust!).
Season of the Witch has unfairly gained a bad rep as the black sheep of the Halloween series. While I agree with most fans that it should never have been named Halloween, I do think that, as a standalone film, it deserves a second chance. It's definitely not a film for everyone, but a must see if you have an appreciation for bizarre, 80s cheese.
|Posted on September 29, 2011 - 9:26pm | Johnny D|