(1982)

The night no one comes home.

https://www.uphe.com/movies/halloween-iii-season-of-the-witch-1982

Dr. Daniel Challis and Ellie Grimbridge stumble onto a gruesome murder scheme when Ellie's novelty-salesman father, Harry, is killed while in possession of a halloween mask made by the Silver Shamrock mask company. The company's owner, Conal Cochran, wants to return Halloween to its darker roots using his masks -- and his unspeakable scheme would unleash death and destruction across the country.

Conglomerate Carnage.
A different animal to the Halloween films that preceded and followed it, Season of the Witch is slowly but surely gaining an appreciation as a standalone horror film. Gone is Michael Myers’ indestructible killing machine, in his place is the nefarious Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), the owner of the Silver Shamrock corporation that specialises in Halloween masks. Cochran has a sinister plan this year - and it’s deadly - Dr. Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) and Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin) are caught in the middle of the vile plot and may just be the only salvation to Americana.
With Nigel Kneale involved in the writing process Season of the Witch is delightfully fiendish. There’s definite barbs being stung here about the commercialisation of holiday occasions, Cochran is intent on restoring Halloween to the true meaning of its origins, creating a Silver Shamrock world order in the process. Kneale would take his name off the credits when the studio tampered with his vision, a shame because his core essence remains - even if Cochran as a Warlock Wicker Man type could well have been genius.
With John Carpenter and Debrah Hill over seeing things from their production chairs, the picture had supervision of some standing. Tommy Lee Wallace maybe directing but it feels like a Carpenter movie, from Dean Cundey’s photography - Carpenter’s foreboding synth musical score – and the sharpness of the horror scenes (which are excellent), it’s not hard to see the “non Michael Myers” Halloween series that Carpenter had envisaged after part 2 had been and gone.
Boosted by an irritatingly potent advertisement jingle (a Silver Shamrock variation on London Bridge is Falling Down) that counts down the days to Halloween and the day of carnage, Season of the Witch is consistently gnawing away at the senses. Having Atkins and O’Herlihy propping up the acting helps, both are reliable performers for this material, while the race against time finale has edge of the seat credentials.
It doesn’t all work of course, there’s some drag and the narrative feels schizophrenic at times, while if it wasn’t for Cundey’s camera work then Wallace’s inept direction of scenes would be over exposed. Yet as it asks Halloween franchise fans some forgiveness for not actually being part of the franchise, it delivers a smart sci-fi horror hybrid that’s not without shock and awe. 7/10

Universal Pictures, Dino De Laurentiis Company by Tommy Lee Wallace, John Carpenter, Nigel Kneale.
Stars: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O'Herlihy.

Genres: Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Keywords: commercial factory gas station curfew mask halloween cult hospital doctor death surveillance camera stonehenge

10/22/1982

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