Happy Happy Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. Happy Happy Halloween, Silver Shamrock!
For many people, the Halloween franchise is an iconic part of horror cinema and the titular spooky holiday season. The first Halloween, released back in 1978, follows the story of enigmatic masked serial killer Michael Myers (no relation to the actor Mike Myers) who escapes from an insane asylum to stalk and kill various teenagers on Halloween night. Myers is defeated by babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and his former doctor Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance), but he manages to escape. Since then, Myers has returned to spread terror in every single Halloween movie sequel, remake, and reboot except for one: Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
Instead of continuing the Meyers’ story, Halloween III: Season of the Witch tells a completely unrelated and downright bizarre anthology tale about a doctor, played by Tom Atkins, trying to stop Silver Shamrock, an evil corporation that plans on killing children using witchcraft on Halloween night. Silver Shamrock’s plan involves selling three very distinct Halloween masks that, when worn while watching a special broadcast, magically melts the wearer’s head into a pile of bugs and snakes. So yeah…. this movie is very different and remains the black sheep of the Halloween franchise.
When it was released, Halloween III: Season of the Witch was not a critical or a financial success. Not only were fans upset that it felt so different from the previous two films, but many critics accused the film of anti-Irish and anti-capitalism due to the villains being a corporation run by Irish warlocks. However, Halloween III was praised for its special effects, specifically one horrifying sequence where a child’s head turns into bugs, and the jingle (seizure warning) used for the Silver Shamrock commercials is both loved and hated for being so annoyingly catchy. These days Halloween III: Season of the Witch is considered to be a weird cult classic.
But why is Halloween III: Season of the Witch so different? Well the answer to that question is pretty interesting.
You see Halloween director John Carpenter never intended for the Halloween series to just be about Micheal Myers. Carpenter and fellow producer Debra Hill wanted to turn the franchise into an anthology series, in which each Halloween movie would follow a different story revolving around the holiday. Unfortunately the failure of Halloween III: Season of the Witch put an end to these plans, and Myers returned to in the next Halloween entry. This is kind of a shame, because the idea of a Halloween anthology series sounds really great. Just think about how cool it would be to have completely original Halloween movies made by different directors and writers come out every year!
In hindsight, Halloween III: Season of the Witch was probably not the movie that Carpenter should have used to kick off his anthology series. As mentioned earlier, the plot is pretty out there and, when you really think about it, the villain’s plans don’t make any sense. The movie itself can be kind of boring in some places, and there isn’t a whole lot of gore or scary moments beside the famous mask sequence.
In a sense, the story behind how Halloween III got made is actually a lot more interesting than watching the movie itself. But when you watch it, you can still see all the sincerity and weird creativity that went into making this really bizarre supernatural movie. So perhaps Halloween III: Season of the Witch is still worth checking out.
But be warned though: that insane jingle will get stuck in your head. It’s a real killer!