When I was 9 years old I went to a overnight birthday party at my buddy Dave’s house. We had the typical birthday activities during the sunlight hours, tag, kick the can, and army. We also consumed large amounts of sugar and caffeine… ya know to “keep us frosty if Charlie ambushed us.” At night we settled down in the basement for watching a movie on his vintage big screen TV. His older brother had his girlfriend over and they decided we were all going to watch a horror film. Keep in mind the most scary thing I had seen up to this point were some old Gumby and Pokey episodes, so imagine my excitement, and fear when I heard it was “R” rated. It’s like being told you were being allowed to play with the big kids but they’re going out to play chicken with a train. So they slapped the VHS tape into that vintage top loading VCR deck we began to watch “Halloween III: Season of the Witch.” Unfortunately I watched most of the movie while covering my face with the sleeping bag, but what I did see was forever etched in my psyche. To this day I still don’t wear a Halloween mask, and I always check the back for a Silver Shamrock badge…you know, just in case.
I decided recently to watch it again for the first time since then. I can’t imagine any parent letting a bunch of 9 year old kids watch this film but hey it was the 80’s. We drove giant cars with no seat belts, nobody wore helmets, and everyone ate steak with butter for dinner. So in honor of our website relaunch I bring you my review of my very first horror film. Also a big thank you to Davey’s big brother for helping turn me into the big twisted weirdo that I am today. Don’t worry Joey, I’m sure the recent charges won’t stick, and you’ll be making bale soon.
“Halloween III: Season of the Witch” decides to forgo any box office logic, and kick Michael Myers to the curb for this round of terror. After raking in the money with the first 2 films they decided on no Jamie Lee Curtis, no Donald Pleasence and no escaped psycho from the mental ward on vengeful killing spree. Nope, now you’ve got to worry about Halloween masks that turn your skull into jello mush ( just when I was getting over my fear of the rubber band masks snapping me in the eye.)
Tom “It’s my Diet Plan” Atkins plays Dan Challis a divorced doctor who likes impressing the ladies with his well formed mustache and plaid shirts. Late one night a stranger clutching a Halloween mask is brought into the ER shortly after nearly getting crushed by a K-car. He’s spouting gibberish about how everyone is going to do die, it’s the end of the world, about how Oprah foretold it. Unfortunately nobody listens and he gets his eyes gouged out by a Mormon in a rental suit… an apparent victim of poor health insurance. Dan chases the killer back down to his parked car where the guy drenches himself with gasoline and lights his polyester suit on fire. The cops later blame it as a drug induced suicide but is more likely from his deep shame of owning a Chrysler. Dan finds it all a bit too coincidental…a Halloween mask, Mormons, Chryslers.. it’s all obviously apart of an evil mass murder conspiracy that must be investigated. Dan’s investigative skill mostly involves him sitting at the bar watching TV and drinking beer at least until Ellie, the daughter of the recently eye gouged shows up. Remembering her from the hospital, he invites her to go check out the mask makers hometown. That’s a sorta creepy first date.
They drive out to “Santa Mira” home of Silver Shamrock masks, where the leprechauns run free and the shamrock milkshakes flow like wine. The town folk are your typical Midwesterners… creepy, cold to the touch, and don’t take kindly to strangers. Ellie and Dan suspect there might be some shady dealings going on when a lady at their hotel gets her face burnt off by one of the mask’s electronic badges, a victim of botched home laser hair removal. The body is then whisked away in a corporate van by a gang of lab coats faster than you can say corporate lawsuit. Dan, and Ellie decide to visit the heavily guarded main factory outside of town where she was supposedly taken. Inside they meet the Bossman Mr. Cochran, a charming Irish grandpa type who surprisingly isn’t drunk but does have an insatiable thirst for death and pagan sacrifices. He takes them on a quick tour of the mask assembly line along with a family of annoying Corn Chuckers who eventually get locked up in a sound proof test room. The mask the kid is wearing inevitably goes Chernobyl causing snakes and other icky things to crawl out of the kids noggin and kill the parents. It’s a Pepsi taste challenge gone horribly wrong.
Ellie is kidnapped later that night while back at the hotel and Dan gets the smack down by some robot thugs when he tries to save her. Mr. Cochran. In typical bad guy fashion explains his evil plans to Dan blabbering on about how they’re pagan druids chipping out demon pet rocks from a wedge of Stonehenge and they’re putting a little piece of that evil in each mask to sell to millions of kids. “We’re slashing prices on possessed mask and passing the killings onto you.”
Dan must escape the evil clutches of the corporate Cult so he can warn the rest of the world before a commercial plays that night triggering the masks kill switch. This would cause millions of kids heads everywhere to blow up like pans of Jiffy Pop and who wants that cleaning bill. Dan gets dragged, punched, kicked and covered in robot goo and eventually ends up tied to a chair and forced to watch horror movie marathons all night long…as if that’s some sort of bad thing. Nevermind about a few rugrats getting their heads liquefied, there’s a zombie marathon on!!
Having been a good 27 years since I seen this film it’s doesn’t really hold up on the scare meter as much as I remember but it’s still an impressive horror flick. Yeah, I know I’m in the minority on this one as a lot of horror buffs pan it as the worse in the Halloween series. Seriously? Did you see the one with Busta Rhymes? Also you’ll dig the amazing soundtrack from John Carpenter and Alan Howarth. Retroman Steve says check it out and always store your druids in a cool dark place.
Who knew hospital crime scenes were such great places to meet chicks.
Check out the trailer for Halloween 3: Season of the Witch