‘Halloween III: Season of the Witch’ (1982) Is An Underrated Gem – Retro Review

“Happy, happy Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. Happy, happy Halloween, Silver Shamrock!” Halloween III: Season of the Witch is one movie that is either loved or hated among the horror community. But why? That’s because The Shape aka Michael Myers isn’t in it, and how can you have a Halloween movie without Michael Myers? Easy – like this. Although I do understand how some people feel about it, the film is awesome, representing the true madness of the season and should be celebrated for what it is… an epic horror story that centers around our favorite time of year and is unlike any other that we have. Still not convinced? Well, sit back and let me tell you why it’s a must to add to your 31 days of Halloween viewing list this year and every year after.

Written and directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, Season of the Witch is the third installment in the Halloween franchise. Although the horror master, John Carpenter, didn’t write this one, he did produce it along with Debra Hill and it was the first of the Halloween movies to not fall under the slasher category. Carpenter had intended to make an anthology series with each movie taking place around October 31st. Each story would have a different setting, storyline, and characters – starting with Season of the Witch. Sadly, though, the movie did not do well at the box office and received poor feedback from critics, putting an end to the anthology idea despite the awesome plans they had for it. Six years later, they brought Michael Myers back and the franchise began to regain popularity. I guess the fans just couldn’t get enough of Michael… but why not have both? Separate Season of the Witch from the rest of the franchise and – boom! – you have the perfect Halloween story.

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The story follows Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) and Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin), who are investigating the unusual activities of The Silver Shamrock Novelties company owner Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy) after the mysterious death of Ellie’s father. They quickly discover that kids everywhere are eagerly wanting the Silver Shamrock masks for their Halloween costume. But why?

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It doesn’t take long before he discovers the truth behind the hidden agenda in the popular yet annoying Silver Shamrock commercial and Cochran’s diabolical plan to bring back the ancient art of witchcraft. Can Challis put an end to all of the madness before it’s too late?

Seriously, how can you not love this movie? There’s Halloween! Masks! Witchcraft! Tom Atkins! What’s not love? It was the perfect horror story for an anthology series, but sadly we never got to see that all the way through. Leaving it with a lot more hate than it deserves, however, over the years, it has gained popularity and has become a cult classic as standalone film – which is exactly what it is. Stop comparing it to the first two movies! Embrace it for the unique story that it is and I’m sure you’ll love it a lot more.

Let’s start with the story. A sleazy company decides to take control over children by getting them to wear their magicked masks by watching their obnoxious commercial. That’s an awesome, creepy Halloween story idea and they delivered it great. The masks were simple: a witch, skeleton, and pumpkin, and yet they’ve become iconic and well known by the horror community.

However not quite as iconic as the Silver Shamrock commercial with that catchy and annoying song that never leaves our heads once we hear it: “Happy, happy Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. Happy, happy Halloween, Silver Shamrock!” Tune in at 9:00 pm, but don’t forget to wear your mask…

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Those are two of the bigger factors that make Season of the Witch a cult classic, but the movie wouldn’t be the same without Tom Atkins. He’s starred in many movies such as The Fog (1980), Escape from New York (1981), and Night of The Creeps (1986), and he’s brilliant in everything he does. In Season of the Witch, he brings passion and life to his character, making us feel like we’re right next to him investigating the mystery behind the Silver Shamrock company. Basically, his performance in itself is enough reason to watch this cult classic every chance you can.

Here are some fun facts about the film:

  • The skull, the witch, and the jack-o-lantern masks in the SOW were mass-produced by Don Post Studios and sold to retails store to help promote the release of the film.
  • The gas station that is seen in SOW is also in John Carpenter’s The Fog.
  • Joe Dante was the original director of the SOW but then moved on to a different project.
  • The original Halloween film is playing twice on two different TVs throughout the story.
  • On the cover of the film, the tagline, “The Night Nobody Came Home” is a play on the original film’s tagline – “The Night He Came Home.”
  • How many times was The Silver Shamrock theme was played during the film? A whopping 14 times!

Overall, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a great Halloween story that shouldn’t be so quickly dismissed. Love it for what it is, a standalone horror story that doesn’t have anything to do with Michael Myers. If it didn’t have the title of “Halloween” in it, I’m sure people would be way more open-minded about it since most of the horror community loves anthologies. So next time you watch it, go in with a new perspective and see if your opinion changes. For the rest of us who love the film already, it’s the season of the witch, baby!

 

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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