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Old 06-13-2004, 12:44 PM
Scored: 10
Views: 19,443
Default Halloween III

Reviewer: John
Review Date: November 12, 2002

Released by: GoodTimes
Release date: 9/29/1998
MSRP: $9.95 (Out of Print)
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 2.35:1 | 16x9: No

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the most unconventional sequel in the history of film. Having nothing to do with the plot of its predecessors, the third installment angered many fans during its theatrical run. Even today, many horror fans dismiss it as an entry into the Halloween franchise. Is it worth another look though? You may be surprised how well 20 years will help a movie lose such a harsh reputation. development and Jamie Lee Curtis was merely a horror actress.

The Story

inline Image Clenching a Silver Shamrock pumpkin mask, Harry Grimbridge (Al Berry) is on the run. The look of fear on his face tells us that he knows something that he shouldn't. Now his life is in danger because of this knowledge. Soon, bright headlights begin to make their way up the road. The pursuit is on. John Carpenter's score lets us know that time is running short for old Harry, who is in a junkyard desperately looking for refuge. When the car stops, we get our first look at the pursuers. They walk very methodically in business suits and their eyes are lifeless. Harry manages to elude his would be captors and gets help at a gas station from Walter Jones (Essex Smith). Walter takes him to the hospital where Dr. Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) takes him under his care. Harry still has a death grip on the pumpkin mask as he sleeps. A notoriously well dressed man finds his way into the hospital room to silence Harry for good, and then casually walks out of the room. Dr. Challis, or Dan, tries to run down the man before he leaves the hospital. He manages to get close enough to witness the killer get into his car, cover himself in gasoline, and spark up. Now Dan is left with a lot of questions and very few answers.

inline Image Harry's daughter Ellie Grimbridge (Stacy Nelkin) doesn't want to accept anything less than the truth about the death of her father. She talks Dan into accompanying her to Santa Mira, the location of the Silver Shamrock factory. Harry's final days were in Santa Mira picking up a shipment of masks for his store. Ellie hopes to find out what her "Papa" knew about Silver Shamrock and why his life was taken. Dan and Ellie get more than their share of horrific sights during their short stay in Santa Mira. All along, mass marketing for the masks, and an annoyingly catchy jingle, serve as a countdown for the morbid plans that Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy) has in store for all of the Silver Shamrock trick-or-treaters.

inline Image First off, get Michael Myers out of your head. He is nowhere to be seen in this movie (except on the TV screen between Silver Shamrock commercials). The original idea behind the Halloween series was to give a scary, Halloween themed tale each year for viewers to enjoy. Halloween featured Michael Myers, the boogeyman who stalked babysitters and grew a fondness for Laurie Strode. Halloween 2 supposedly killed Myers off to make way for a new story. The third installment was designed to scare trick-or-treaters by giving them a glimpse into the mad mind of a mask maker. The idea of a fresh story for each Halloween chapter is a great one. It gives viewers some variety on how they would like to be scared each October. The one thing director/writer Tommy Lee Wallace didn't think about was the popularity of Michael Myers. From 1978 on, fans swear by any Halloween movie that centers on Myers. The thought of anyone else killing in the series is considered blasphemy. This has given Halloween 3 a backlash that it has never recovered from. Released in 1982, fans have had twenty years to get over the fact that this movie is different from the others. It is strange that Tommy Lee Wallace, John Carpenter, Debra Hill, etc. are supposed to be apologetic for giving fans an original concept, rather than regurgitating another Michael Myers story. Was I upset initially? Hell yes! Still, I have come to appreciate Season of the Witch with time and feel it is a solid entry into the series.

inline Image Something that certainly stands out is the deaths in the film. While some are what you would expect from a horror movie, a couple of kills are a bit disturbing. For those who have seen Season of the Witch, you probably know which ones I am talking about. Two deaths in particular really punctuate just how deranged Santa Mira 'savior' Conal Cochran actually is. By tapping into some everyday fears of the audience, Tommy Lee Wallace gives Halloween 3 a much darker edge that has not been seen in any of the other Halloween movies. Also, as with many early 80's slashers, the kills are more graphic than what we would see on the screen today. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of other movies that are gorier, more over-the-top, etc. Halloween 3 just manages to get you to squirm a bit while you watch it. It certainly beats the "grab a sharp object, stab, and repeat" lull that other horror movies fall into.

inline Image The most refreshing aspect regarding Halloween 3 is that it doesn't feel like a sequel at all. It certainly contains sequel type flaws though. A far fetched plot, some unconvincing actors, and a huge question mark in the Silver Shamrock jingle.

"Eight more days till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.
Eight more days till Halloween. Silver Shamrock."

Don't act innocent. I know that anyone who is reading this, and has seen the movie, was singing along. So is this jingle simply annoying or does it a great way to promote the movie? Just like when a song on the radio gets stuck in your head, Silver Shamrock lingers with you for days. Let's break this down. When you think of the jingle, you think of the movie. When you think of the movie, you rent/buy the movie. When you rent/buy the movie, Moustapha Akkad (the executive producer of all entries in the Halloween series) wins. Are Moustapha Akkad and Conal Cochran the same person? Do the three masks in the movie actually symbolize the three entries into the Halloween series? It certainly is a strange coincidence. World domination through horror movies? Now that's a scary thought. Just to be on the safe side, this conspiracy theorist is going to make sure my DVD isn't embedded with a piece from Stonehenge.

Image Quality

inline ImageA major plus from this GoodTimes release is the aspect ratio. Halloween 3 is presented in widescreen for the first time ever. Sporting a 2.35:1 non-anamorphic transfer, there are very little compression artifacts and the black levels are great. Though the overall quality of the films does show its age, Halloween 3 looks better than it ever has. This release towers over previous pan and scan installments of the film on laserdisc and VHS.


The soundtrack is in Dolby Digital 2.0, which is a slight improvement over what we have gotten in the past. The movie sounds good, but really doesn't stand out in any form. Dialogue and sound effects are at a good level and John Carpenter's score helps to draw viewers into the tense mood. Dolby Digital Mono is fitting since Halloween 3's sound isn't overly active. Outside of the score, there is little to no use in involving the rear speakers.

Supplemental Material

inline ImageThere are no supplements on this DVD.

Final Thoughts

I know this movie has a bad reputation, but it needs another look by those who have snubbed this Myers-less entry. GoodTimes presents us with a fine widescreen transfer and average sound to give people a nice, inexpensive purchase for October 31st. Erase Michael Myers for your memory for 98 minutes. See the movie as a scary Halloween story and not as "that one Halloween that doesn't count".


Movie - B
Image Quality - A-
Sound - B-
Supplements - N/A

Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • English Dolby 2.0
  • English subtitles
  • French subtitles
  • Spanish subtitles
  • N/A

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Old 06-16-2004, 08:24 AM
Joe Six-Pack
H3 is the best Halloween sequel, period! Forget Michael Myers. His sequels weren't that great anyway.
Old 12-16-2004, 04:39 AM
I put this movie off for the longest time before I finally saw it the other week. I have the benefit of having barely been old enough to speak when Halloween 3 came out, so there was no baggage going in about how Michael Myers isn't in it. The guy at the video store (easily over 30) threw in his two cents before I checked out, explaining how it didn't have Myers, therefore it was terrible. I really liked Halloween 3. Not as much as the first, but much more than any of the other predictable sequels. As much as I enjoy seeing Donald Pleasance do his thing, I was always either mildly amused or outright bored watching the other sequels. Maybe 2 and 4 were ok. 3 at least tries to be different. And when the plot involves a plot to take over the world (or not? can't really tell) involving face-degenerating masks powered by stonehenge of all things and killer robots, you really can't take it too seriously. It's certainly more fun than the humorless Halloween installments made after. There's even a news report saying 'how the hell can someone steal stonehenge?' No, the motivations don't make any sense. But the pacing makes sense in a strange Lynchian nightmare logic way. Things get creepy when it seems appropriate that they should. And when things spiral out of control for the characters, the script doesn't fall flat on its face and resort to boring slasher conventions. The acting is surprisingly solid. Not spectacular, but much better than you'd get with a group of hip young 20-somethings. The scares work. The creepy scenes really work. The ending is suitably ambiguous and dreadful. And the score is great. Both the title theme and the torturous 'shamrock' song are effective. Don't believe the old fogies. This is the only Halloween sequel worth squat.
Old 09-27-2005, 03:53 PM
This has always been one of my favorite movies. It's too bad the film makers didn't continue with their idea of coming out with a completely different movie each year, who knows what sort of fantastically creative stuff we might have had? For once Hollywood showed some creativity and everyone bashed them for it. So what did we get instead? One more "okay" Myers movie and the rest of the sequels were basically unwatchable.

What a waste.
Old 10-27-2010, 03:19 AM
Could someone please review the R1 Universal disc as part of October Madness? Many thanks! Also, thought this one was good too.
Old 10-27-2010, 05:12 AM
I've always felt that had this film simply been released as SEASON OF THE WITCH it would have found a much warmer reception at the time of it's release.It's interesting to think how different the genre landscape mighy have been if the film had been a bigger hit and they had continued with the idea of turning the HALLOWEEN franchise into an omnibus format.We would have lost the other direct sequels,good and bad,but what would we have seen instead ? We'll never know.

I'm a big fan of this one.In fact I just saw it on the big screen with a packed house.For a film that came out under a cloud it seems to have found an enthusiastic audience over the years.Time's been good to it.
Old 10-27-2010, 06:41 AM
A little late to be asking for an October Madness review of this, but your request has been duly noted. While we may not review this one this October, expect a Halloween of a different sort to finally be added to our reviewed list.
Can't argue with a confident man.
Old 10-27-2010, 12:15 PM
Screamy Bopper
Like many other people I was disappointed with Halloween 3 when I first rented it expecting a further Myers sequel.However over the years I've grown to appreciate the film and I now regard it as one of the best horror films of the 80s.The heavy cuts to the UK video almost ruined the film,so it was terrific seeing the uncut US dvd for the first time.I'm also dismayed that the film has such a low score on the IMDB.
Old 10-27-2010, 12:17 PM
Screamy Bopper
I have the Korean R0 dvd now which seems to be a port of the old Goodtimes release.

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