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Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

This is going to come as a surprise to a lot of people who regularly follow my reviews and know how passionate I am about the Halloween franchise. With that I mind, this was my first ever watch of Halloween III: Season of the Witch. This was such a well overdue watch for me. As a die hard Halloween and Micheal Myers fan, I always refused to include this film in the franchise, due to the lack of continuity of the Myers storyline - something countless people have told me is a mistake. Thankfully, I think I made the right call not giving this too much attention when I first discovered this franchise. That's not to say it doesn't hold its own in moments as a stand-alone entry, but a Halloween sequel, this is not. I'm going to start on a quite controversial note, and that is Tom Atkins as Dr. Daniel Challis. I know he is loved by fans of the genre but I found him to be insufferable. This may be due to the writing of his character in this film but he was not enjoyable to watch and seriously harms the overall investment you are expected to give as a viewer. He is an alcoholic, an adulterer, a terrible father and we are expected to champion this man through to succeed as our hero of the story. Not only that but he shows no redeeming qualities or signs of redemption as we get to the closing moments of the film. This is something I found to be seriously misjudged by the writing department. Tommy Lee Wallace, who worked alongside John Carpenter in editing the 1978 Halloween original, returns to the franchise as writer and director for this installment. In terms of direction, I found this to be quite competently shot and the cinematography to be rather pleasing to watch. Yet, as for the writing, I think it is rather lacklustre in imagination and creativity. These are tropes we have come to find so familiar in most sci-fi tales. Nancy Kyes (Annie Bracket) makes a welcomed return to the franchise as Dr Challis' wife, making this her 3rd appearance in the franchise and at this point the only actor in all three Halloween films. Granted, she is dead on a stretcher in Halloween II, but still came back briefly for an on screen appearance. We also get a return of Dick Warlocks who plays Micheal Myers in Halloween II, only this time taking on a less prominent role as one of the grey suited assassins. The practical effects work is remarkably well done and one of the more stand out elements, most noticeably the first child we see suffer at the hands of the Sliver Shamrock mask in the James Bond style 'Evil Lair' test room. As snakes and Bugs start to fall from his face, the level of detail and movement of the make-up effects of the skin beneath the mask as this was taking place was so detailed. Even some of the more basic of deaths in this have an incredible level gore and make-up work, such as the decapitated homeless man, this single scene is on screen for no longer than a few seconds yet full of torn flesh and blood splatter. The score is done by John Carpenter and in collaboration with Alan Howarth and it has a very Neon Noir and synth driven feel to it. It still has the similar repetition that Carpenter brought to the original Halloween score, yet holds nowhere near the same impact. It's difficult not to talk about the score without mentioning the Silver Shamrock commercial jiggle that is so over used and played throughout this film. I can recognise its significance but, It feels like it is used in almost every other scene and after the first 30 minutes it became very tiresome. There is one particular segment of the score that really didn't sit well with me. That is the moment when Dr. Challis is strapped to the chair and the use of the 'Myers House' track from the original 1978 score is played out over his escape. This is my favourite piece of music from that original film and to see it used here so inappropriately and lazily was disappointing. This along with the decision to use the trailer for Halloween on the TV in the Bar early on in the film felt so out of place. I would much prefer these to be set in the same universe and timeline as opposed to the film inside a film approach that was used here. It's not something I like at the best of time let alone when it is done so poorly in my favourite film franchise. Overall, this comes across more like a made for TV film or a weekly anthology show that I would liken to an episode of the Twilight Zone. A shorter run time and a much tighter story, like the and episode of the Twilight Zone, would actually have made this better. It felt very bloated in places and caused a few pacing issues. Had this not had the Halloween title, I don't think this would be as well remembered or discussed as it is today and it will continue to be excluded from my regular run through of the Halloween franchise. I'm happy to have finally seen it, but only for me to be able to say that I have.



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