Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (also known as Halloween III: The Nap of Michael Myers and Halloween III: The One Without Michael Myers) is a 1982 film and the third entry in the Halloween Series of horror films. Unlike the previous and subsequent Halloween films, this film has nothing to do with Michael Myers.
In the events of Halloween II, Michael Myers burned to the ground, but he did not die. Instead he took a long, seven-year nap. And dreamed up this crazy scenario:
On Saturday, October 23, shop owner Harry Grimbridge (whose name makes him sound like a porn star) is chased by something far scarier than Michael Myers -- mysterious figures wearing business suits. He collapses at a gas station clutching a Silver Shamrock jack-o'-lantern mask and is driven to the hospital by the station attendant (Essex Smith) all the while ranting, "They're going to kill us. They're going to kill us all." Grimbridge is placed in the care of Dr. Dan Challis. Another man in a suit enters Grimbridge's hospital room and kills him, then goes to his car and kills himself through self-immolation.
Dr. Challis and Grimbridge's daughter, Ellie (who has a less amusing name), investigate the incident leading them to the small town of Santa Mira, California, home of the Silver Shamrock Novelties factory. Hotel manager Rafferty (Michael Currie) reveals the source of the town's prosperity is Irishman Conal Cochran and his factory. Challis learns that Ellie's father stayed at the same hotel. Other hotel guests are shop owners Marge and Homer Simpson (Julie Kavner and Dan Castellaneta) and Buddy Kupfer (Ralph "Dire" Strait), Buddy's wife Betty (Jadeen Barbor) and their son Little Buddy (Bradley Schacter). All have business at the factory and eventually meet gruesome ends through the Silver Shamrock masks and the men in suits. You with me so far?
A day after arriving in Santa Mira, Challis and Ellie tour the factory with the Kupfers and are alarmed to discover Grimbridge's car there, guarded by more men dressed in suits. They return to the hotel but cannot contact anyone outside the town. This was before they had cell phones and fancy technology. Ellie is kidnapped by the men in suits. Challis breaks into the factory to find her and discovers that the men in suits are androids created by Cochran. They stole this plot twist from Alien.
Challis is captured by the androids and Cochran reveals his plan to kill children on Halloween night, giving the film a reason to include Halloween in the title. The Silver Shamrock trademark on the masks contains a computer chip containing a fragment of Stonehenge that is not in danger of being crushed by a dwarf. When the Silver Shamrock TV special airs on Halloween night, the chip will activate, killing the wearer and unleashing a lethal swarm of insects and snakes, killing those around the wearer. Cochran explains his plan to resurrect macabre aspects of the Gaelic festival Samhain, which he connects to witchcraft.
Challis escapes and rescues Ellie. They destroy the factory just like in Good Burger, killing Cochran and his team of scientists, then flee the town. While driving away, Challis is attacked by "Ellie", causing him to crash his car. He finds that she is an android copy and destroys it in a brief struggle. On foot, Challis returns to the filling station, where Ellie's father had come to eight days earlier, and contacts the television stations, convincing all but one to remove the commercial. Challis screams into the telephone to stop the commercial as the film abruptly ends.
No, no. Stop it. STOP IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!
- Dr. Daniel Challis... Tom Atkins's Mustache
- Conal Cochran... Dan O'Herlihy (You know, "The Old Man" from Robocop)
- Ellie Grimbridge... Stacey Nelkin
- Rafferty... Michael Currie
- Buddy Kupfer... Ralph "Dire" Strait
- Betty Kupfer... Nobody I've heard of
- Buddy Jr. ... Some kid
- Marge... Julie Kavner
- Homer... Dan Castellaneta
- Harry Grimbridge... Ron Jeremy
- Walter Jones (Not to be confused with The Black Ranger)... Essex Smith
- Linda Challis... Nancy Loomis (Kyes)
- Assassin Robot... Dick Warlock (who played Michael Myers in Halloween II)
John Carpenter and Debra Hill here reluctant to make another Halloween, given their experience making Halloween II," and also sue to their aversion to sequels. They agreed to make a third movie ONLY if it weren't a direct sequel, and did not feature Michael Myers.
Special effects artist Don Post of Post Studios designed the latex masks in the film which included a glow-in-the-dark skull, a lime-green witch and an orange Day-Glo jack-o'-lantern. Hill said, "We didn't exactly have a whole lot of money for things like props, so we asked Post, who had provided the shape mask for the earlier 'Halloween' ..., if we could work out a deal." The skull and witch masks were adaptations of standard Post Studios masks, but the jack-o'-lantern was created specifically for Halloween III.
Producers recruited British science fiction writer Nigel Kneale to write the original screenplay mostly because Carpenter admired his Quatermass series. Kneale asserts that movie mogul Dino De Laurentiis, owner of the film's distribution rights, thought it sucked. While much of the plot remained the same, the alterations displeased Kneale, and he requested that his name be removed from the credits. Director Tommy Lee Wallace was then assigned to make sense of the script.
Wallace told Fangoria that he created the title of the film (the film has not witches to speak of, then again, neither did The Blair Witch Project) as a reference to "a plot point" — the three masks featured in the film — and an attempt to connect this film with the others in the series. He explained in the interview the direction that Carpenter and Hill wanted to take the Halloween series, stating, "It is our intention to create an anthology out of the series, sort of along the lines of Night Gallery, or The Twilight Zone, only on a much larger scale, of course." Each year, a new film would be released that focused on some aspect of the Halloween season.
John Carpenter and Alan Howarth scored the film. Instead of the piano of the previous films, the score was synth-heavy. The Silver Shamrock jingle is sung to the tune of "London Bridge is Falling Down" and counts down each day until Halloween.
Eh, it didn't do too well at the box office. Halloween III: Season of the Witch opened in 1,297 theaters in the United States on October 22, 1982, and earned $6,333,259 in its opening weekend. Like its predecessor, the film was distributed through Universal by Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis. It grossed a total of $14,400,000 in the United States, but was the worst performing Halloween film at the time.
It did so poorly that the series went dormant and the rights lapsed. In 1988, Moustapha Akkad decided, "What the fuck is this shit?" and ordered a new Halloween film. Halloween III's performance is the main reason they brought back Michael Myers for Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.
Initial reviews ranged from mixed to negative. It has since grown in esteem, at least among Halloween fans, as has become a cult classic. Scream Factory released a Special Edition Blu-ray in 2012. Despite having no connection to Michael Myers, the film is included in the Blu-ray box set, Halloween: The Complete Collection. You know, to make it complete and all.