Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Killer masks!
Each mask has a microchip made from a piece of Stonehenge!
Each latex mask has a microchip made from a piece of Stonehenge!

The film’s rather batty story involves murderous androids and a stolen piece of Stonehenge being used to create microchips for killer halloween masks! This sequel, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, was not liked by many HALLOWEEN fans because it didn’t feature Michael Myers, but I think the movie is a fun watch (and Myers is actually featured, very briefly, in a few scenes from HALLOWEEN that are shown in a television commercial advertising the airing of the film).

Poster
Poster
Wiring pulled out of the innards of a downed android
Wiring pulled out of the innards of a downed android

There’s a lot to enjoy with HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH. I especially like the Silver Shamrock commercial jingle that counts down the days: it’s a real earworm! Tom Atkins is a likeable lead and Dan O’Herlihy is good as the quite charming villain Conal Cochran, who accepts his defeat at the end with good grace, applauding Atkins before he gets zapped. There are some gore moments too, including a woman getting blasted in the face by a faulty microchip and a tramp being decapitated.

A face is mangled by a faulty microchip
A face is mangled by a faulty microchip
Dan O'Herlihy plays a villain with a touch of class
Dan O’Herlihy plays a villain with a touch of class

A memorable moment involves Cochran testing his masks on the Kupfer family in a test room at his novelties plant. As the Silver Shamrock commercial plays on a television, a flashing signal triggers the microchip in the mask that the Kupfer son is wearing, causing his mask to writhe & squirm as it absorbs the energy of Stonehenge, then a mass of insects and snakes crawl from the mask to kill the rest of the family!

The original script was written by Nigel (Quatermass) Kneale, but he asked to have his name removed from the credits after his screenplay was altered and extra gore was added.

A victim loses his head
A victim loses his head
I like this shot from the movie
I like this shot from the movie

Don Post designed the skull, witch and jack-o’-lantern latex masks that are the focus of Cochran’s plan. The skull & witch masks were actually adaptations of existing Post Studios masks and the jack-o’-lantern was created specifically for the movie.

The three latex mask designs
The three latex mask designs
The ending's pretty gripping as Daniel Challis (Atkins) tries to stop the Silver Shamrock commercials going live
The ending’s pretty gripping as Daniel Challis (Atkins) tries to stop the Silver Shamrock commercials going live on TV

After the film’s disappointing reviews and lacklustre box office performance, Michael Myers was brought back in HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS in 1988 but, as I’ve already said, I think this movie is a very entertaining standalone horror/science fiction flick… and I can still hear that Silver Shamrock jingle playing in my head!

Don't watch that commercial, kid!
Don’t watch that commercial, kid!
Private commission illustration by Graham Humphreys
Private commission illustration by Graham Humphreys

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