In the days leading up to Halloween, I’ve seen references to “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” (1982) on Twitter, with some people claiming that it’s “underrated.” I am forced to assume that the authors of these tweets are Russian bots bent on fomenting lies and discord.
The best praise that can be given for “Halloween III” is that it’s watchable. It is rarely boring and outrageously stupid, two qualities that can make even the most godawful movie fun to watch.
This film is the result of John Carpenter’s wish to produce a Halloween-themed anthology movie series. That’s kind of a great idea. One can imagine an endless series of films about ghosts, haunted houses, zombies, werewolves, poisoned trick or treat candy, urban legends, etc. And everyone wants to get scared at the movies in October. Seems like a sound business plan.
So what kinda story did they go with for their first installment in this Halloween anthology? Why, an action/sci-fi story, of course, with the starring role given to a doughy, mustachioed dad-type who seemed to have wandered off the set of The Rockford Files.
In the movie, Action Dad leaves his job to investigate a mysterious killing. His half-assed sleuthing leads him immediately to a supervillain with a grand plan to sacrifice children because of witchcraft, or something.
The villain’s name is Conal Cochran, owner of the Silver Shamrock toy company. His plan is as follows:
- Spend a lifetime creating a lucrative toy company to act as a front for Evil Plan.
- Steal a piece of Stonehenge and harness its magical ability to teleport flesh-eating bugs.
- Develop microchips that act as conduits for this magic.
- Develop a means of wirelessly communicating with these microchips via a television signal.
- Build an army of lifelike killer androids (just for fun).
- Create a line of children’s Halloween masks and secretly implant in each one a sliver of Stonehenge and an evil microchip.
- Create a marketing campaign to get children across the country to buy the Halloween masks.
- Continue massive ad campaign in days leading up to Halloween to convince all of these children to watch a television program while wearing their masks.
- During the appointed broadcast, activate the TV signal, which activates the microchips, which activates the Stonehenge magic, which teleports flesh-eating bugs into the children’s masks.
- The children’s heads are consumed from inside their masks. Nearby adults die of shock. Witchcraft reigns.
One thing is clear. The Silver Shamrock Corporation didn’t have a Board of Evil Directors, or they would have replaced Cochran for misappropriating funds for his pointless android obsession that had no real connection to the overall child-killing mission.
To be fair, Cochran’s plan is the saving grace of “Halloween III,” not because it’s scary or clever but because it’s so amusingly stupid that it makes the movie – kind of – fun to watch. It helps if you have some friends and an ample amount of intoxicating substances.