In this weeks episode of the Halloween Rewatch, Cory and Nathan pack up their masks for their trip to Stone Henge as they discuss “Halloween III: Season of the Witch.”
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982):
On October 23, 1982, shop owner Harry Grimbridge runs along a barren road in Northern California, chased by mysterious figures in business suits. He makes it to a gas station, clutching a jack-o’-lantern mask. He is driven to the hospital by station attendant Walter Jones. At the hospital, Grimbridge is placed in the care of Dr. Dan Challis. That night, another mysterious man in a suit enters Grimbridge’s hospital room, kills him, then goes to his car and immolates himself.
The next morning, Grimbridge’s daughter, Ellie, arrives to identify her father’s remains. Ellie and Challis agree to investigate his murder, leading them to the small town of Santa Mira, California. The motel manager explains that Conal Cochran and his company, Silver Shamrock Novelties, which produces wildly popular latex jack-o-lantern, witch and skeleton masks for Halloween, are responsible for the town’s prosperity. While signing the motel register, Challis learns that Grimbridge stayed at the same motel. Other motel guests include shop owners Marge Guttman and Buddy Kupfer, Buddy’s wife, Betty, and their son, Little Buddy, who all have business at the company’s factory.
Guttman finds a microchip on the back of a Silver Shamrock button, and is electrocuted by its laser beam after poking it with a hairpin. Challis and Ellie learn of Guttman’s accident, and Challis attempts to help, but is forced away by a group of men dressed in lab coats, who drive away in a van with Marge’s body. The next morning, Challis and Ellie tour the factory with the Kupfers, and discover Grimbridge’s car there, guarded by more men dressed in suits. They return to the motel, but cannot contact anyone outside the town. While Challis attempts to phone for the authorities, Ellie is kidnapped by the men in suits, and driven to the factory.
Challis pursues them, breaks into the factory, and discovers that the men in suits are androids created by Cochran. Challis is captured by the androids and Cochran reveals his plan to sacrifice children wearing his masks on Halloween, thus bringing about a resurrection of the ancient age of witchcraft. For Silver Shamrock’s “Big Giveaway”, which will air at 9:00 P.M. on all television channels following the “Horrorthon”, each of these masks contain a fragment of Stonehenge implanted in its trademark microchip. When activated by a flashing signal of the commercial’s on-screen “magic pumpkin”, the microchip causes the mask wearer to succumb to brain damage from absorbing the energy of Stonehenge and unleashes a swarm of insects and snakes that come out of the wearer’s corpse and kill anyone nearby. To demonstrate, Cochran kills the Kupfers this way.
That night, Cochran puts the Silver Shamrock mask on Challis, and leaves him to die the same fate as the trick-or-treating children, who will come back home for his false watch-and-win Halloween sweepstakes that he created for his company. But Challis, after destroying the television set and removing the mask, escapes through a ventilation shaft and rescues Ellie. He dumps the chips from the overhead rafters, and activates their signal with the commercial, killing Cochran and his employees, and destroying the computer chips along with the entire Silver Shamrock factory. As the two drive away, Ellie attacks Challis, revealing that Cochran replaced the real Ellie with an android duplicate. Challis crashes the vehicle and decapitates the android with a tire iron. On foot, Challis arrives at Jones’ gas station, where he contacts the television stations and convinces all but one of the station managers to remove the commercial. However, at the same moment, a group of trick-or-treaters, wearing their masks that are not destroyed, come to participate in the Big Giveaway without being aware of the sacrificing threat. Challis persuades the stations to take it off channels one and two, but not channel three where the fake sweepstakes keeps on playing, right onto the magic pumpkin sequence. He then desperately tries to convince the company to stop playing the commercial, yelling on the telephone, as the animated pumpkin head blinks non-stop in front of him and the children. The film ends with Challis screaming for the final station to turn off the commercial.
We got a bit harsh when we really broke this movie down, but at the end of the day it’s perfectly competent film making. Yes, the story is silly and ridiculous and was certainly not the best way to branch out into an anthology. It had to be a lot stronger story to stand up next to the original film or even the sequel. It shouldn’t be a part of the Halloween franchise, it may actually be better or even more passable if this were it’s own, stand alone film. Middling recommend.
What’s Up Next?:
Haddonfield is going to see more horrors on Halloween as we continue on with “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.”
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