Hospital emergency room Dr. Daniel “Dan” Challis (Tom Atkins) and Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin), the daughter of a murder victim, uncover a terrible plot by small-town mask maker Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), a madman who’s planning a Halloween mass murder utilizing an ancient Celtic ritual. The ritual involves a boulder stolen from Stonehenge, the use of Silver Shamrock masks and a triggering device contained in a television commercial — all designed to kill millions of children.
Halloween 3: Season of the Witch is known as the odd movie of the Halloween series, as it’s the only movie in the series to not feature the iconic fictional killer Michael Myers. After the character’s death in Halloween 3, John Carpenter wanted to take the series in a different direction away from Myers, and to be more of an anthology horror movie series, with each entry being a standalone story. The movie was poorly received, and led to the following sequels bringing back Michael Myers. However, Season of the Witch has been receiving something of a cult following more recently, and having seen the movie, I can see why. While it’s not as good as the original movie by any mean, it’s pretty good and I had fun with it.
As said previously, Halloween 3: Season of the Witch isn’t really connected to the series. The most you get is footage of the original Halloween as a movie playing in the background at some points, that’s it. The story is campy for sure, and it does have a B movie feel to it. There’s a lot that happens in the movie, robots that look like humans, rituals and a Bond-like villain. That campiness does make the movie quite entertaining, and its quite creative, which was quite a breath of fresh air compared to many of the Halloween sequels which mainly just consisted of Michael Myers trying to kill people yet again. Season of the Witch also plays more like a mystery thriller than a horror film at times, with a sense of suspense and dread. Also, while I said there was some cheesiness to it, there is a good amount of horror, and some stand out gory and grotesque scenes that I’m impressed the filmmakers went for, especially with one particular iconic scene. The ending is really good too, and quite memorable. The movie is just under 100 minutes long and that was a pretty good runtime and keeps you on board throughout, though at times has some pacing issues.
The cast do pretty well in their parts. Most of them weren’t anything special, but the standouts were Tom Atkins who works as the main character, and Dan O’Herlihy who works as the rather James Bond-like villain of the whole movie.
The direction from Tommy Lee Wallace was pretty good, definitely having a pretty good handle of the movie. For one it’s a well shot movie, the cinematography is beautiful and helps convey a spooky atmosphere. It looks straight from the 80s, but it actually works to its benefit, especially considering the tone and overall story of the movie. The effects and makeup are detailed, grotesque and hold up well today. The synth score from John Carpenter is also great, a slower, darker sounding synth score.
Halloween 3: Season of the Witch is surprisingly good, well made, and makes for quite an entertaining and creepy 80s horror flick. While there are many other Halloween movies I have yet to watch, I think Season of the Witch is one of the best movies in the series, and I feel like the anthology approach to the series might’ve been for the better, but of course we know what happened when the movie was released. If was just titled Season of the Witch and ditched the Halloween subtitle (rather than calling it Halloween 3), it probably would’ve done better with people back then. If you haven’t given this movie a chance and you like horror, I recommend checking it out.