This is a strange film with a great story behind it. John Carpenter and Debra Hill, writer / producers were quite bored by the Halloween series by this point, and decided that rather than resurrect Michael Myers again, they’d turn the Halloween films into an anthology series. So, every year you’d get a different scary movie based around some Halloween myth or legend, and hopefully things would tick over nicely for many years. That this is the only one, and Halloween 4 was right back with good old indestructible MM, will tell you all you need to know about how successful their plan was. But the question we’re going to answer is – was the failure of Halloween 3 to do with it deviating from the slasher template, or to do with it being a terrible movie?
Before we even swing a bat for the first time, the title gives us two hefty mistakes. If you’re going to turn this into an anthology, don’t number it as if it’s a sequel to the last one; and if you’re going to call it “Season of the Witch”, PUT SOME DAMN WITCHES IN IT
You’ve almost certainly heard of the plot, if you’re reading this site. The Silver Shamrock Novelty company has made a bunch of masks, each of which imbued with a tiny fragment of Stonehenge. When a certain advert is played on TV, the masks activate then a bunch of worms and bugs devour the face of the person wearing the mask, then the person gets replaced with a robot, I think, as the villain also has a robot factory. One might ask “why does a toy manufacturer want to turn all the kids in the world into robots?” but you would not receive an answer from the film itself. How does a company which makes three rubbish looking masks have such an extraordinary market penetration? No, down that path is madness.
There’s a bereaved woman, a local cop, and a town which seems under the thrall of the toy company, and they, in true “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” style, try to save the day. The sad thing is, I’d agree with the tone of the film. It’s got a strong anti-corporate message, which becomes more prescient with every passing year, when toys and worthless junk for the next big holiday appear on supermarket shelves earlier and earlier. But the good thing about being a progressive, a leftie, call it what you will, is that I don’t have to like things just because they agree with the way I see the world.
This film was originally written by Nigel Kneale, the British writer who gave us “Quatermass”, one of the all-time great speculative fiction series. Unfortunately, when the studio and director had finished with his script, what might have been a genuinely fascinating story was turned into a boring, stupid film with a ridiculous plot, some of the cheesiest scenes I can think of (the guided tour of the evil factory, for one) and one of those awful nihilistic endings that comes into fashion every now and again.
Is there anyone who thinks this is bad, or badly reviewed, because of the lack of Michael Myers? Get ready for my reviews of the later films in the series if you think that’s the case. This is a curious film, because it seems to have got something of a following in these internet-filled times. Every now and again, two or three people who love this film will find each other and create a loud piercing noise that drowns out all the sensible people who say “yes, this film is absolutely terrible”, and a passerby, like me for example the first time I watched this film, will think “perhaps it’s not that bad” and give it a try. Please do not be one of those people. Because it started drifting into “worst films of all time” lists in the 90s and 00s, some people just got desperate to the one who rediscovered it, I guess.
It’s probably not the worst film ever made, but it’s really pretty terrible. It’s either sleazy (the cop’s relationship with the leading lady, for one), stupid or boring, or a combination of the three.
Rating: thumbs down