Awesomely Awful: “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”

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Yup.

The one WITHOUT Michael Myers.

In 1978, John Carpenter brought forth a new era in horror, introducing a subgenre that would rule supreme for 20 years… the “Slasher Film”. Although certainly not the first movie to feature a psychotic killer, nor even the fist movie to depict a killing spree, “Halloween” connected with audiences in a way that few other horror movies had. Shot on a budget of $325,000, the film went on to gross $47,300,000 domestically and another $13,000,000 internationally. Michael Myers became an icon of horror, Jamie Lee Curtis was on her way to becoming a superstar.

Three years later, in 1981, a sequel was released, again featuring the iconic Michael Myers, again starring Jamie Lee Curtis. While not the runaway smash that the first one was, the film still performed exceptionally well, grossing $25,000,000 in the United States alone.

In 1982, the very next year, they said %$&# all that noise, let’s make a movie about a Halloween mask manufacturing company out to kill the children of America.

“Halloween III: Season of the Witch”

The World’s Awesomest Title Card

The film begins with a man running onto a construction site, being chased by some people in a car. It’s set to this early eighties hyper synthesized music beat that really just makes you wonder what the world was thinking musically back then. The car figures out he has to have gone in the construction site and slowly pulls in… he goes to run away, but runs into a guy standing behind him! It’s Michael Myers!! Oh wait, he’s not in this movie. It’s just some guy in a suit. Obviously one of the people who were chasing him.

So this man in a suit, wearing leather gloves, begins to strangle him, and gets him on the ground, and is sitting on top of him, strangling him. Within reach is this chain… the guy being strangled pulls on it, and releases a tire wedge and a conveniently placed car on a hill rolls down to squash the man strangling him in between two cars. He reacts strangely and there’s this weird sound effect…

Freed, the man runs off, as another suit wearing man in black leather gloves gets out of the car…

ONE HOUR LATER

One hour later, the running man has made his way to a gas station. He bursts inside, scares the attendant, and then collapses to the floor and dies. But not before he’s able to pull a Halloween mask out of his pocket and cryptically moan… “They’re coming… They’re coming…” with his dying breath.

Outside of the gas station, one of the gloved men is shown. Apparently, they got him.

But that’s not what’s the most important thing here. Even though a first time viewer probably wouldn’t pick up on it (and yes, that means I’ve seen this movie more than once), what IS important here is what the gas station attendant was shown watching on tv before the running man broke in and died.

  • A news blurb tells us that one of the Stonehenge stones has been stolen.
  • A commercial for Silver Shamrock Halloween masks.

No person on Earth has any chance of watching this movie and NOT getting “X more days til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween…” stuck in their head. 0.0% chance.

Yes, the Silver Shamrock mask company. More on them later, but seeing as this is the first appearance of the commercial, let me describe it for those of you who didn’t click on the YouTube embed in the header.

Essentially it’s a brief commercial using Commodore 64 level computer graphics, with children wearing Halloween masks bopping their heads back and forth from side to side, while the world’s most annoying jingle plays. Set to a synthesized bass beat, the Silver Shamrock jingle is essentially “London Bridges Falling Down” with new lyrics, sung by people who have just sucked down entire balloons full of helium. They count down the number of days remaining until Halloween throughout the movie.

Eight more days ’til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween                    Eight more days ’til Halloween, Sil-ver Shamrock!

Then the narrator’s voice will take over and say something directly to the kids like, “Yes kids, there’s still time to get one of the big Halloween three! That’s right, THREE horrific Halloween masks…. etc etc” before they cut back to the chorus.

I wish I was kidding, but we’ve just met the villain of this film. The Silver Shamrock Mask Company.

I need you… like the flowers need the rain, you know I need you…

We’ll get to them again later.

In the meantime, we’re introduced to our hero. A schlubby looking divorced father of two named Dan Challis. Dan’s a doctor. After a quick scene where he stops by to visit his kids (in order to establish that they have Silver Shamrock masks for Halloween), he heads off to the hospital. Leaving his kids in front of the tv as the Silver Shamrock commercial plays for the second time in the movie.

Marked for death.

At the Hospital, Dr. Dan has an emergency patient. The man from the Gas Station. Apparently somehow he survived, and the attendant brought him in. He’s wheeled into a room while the television over his head plays the Silver Shamrock commercial for the third time already.

Eight more days ’til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween                      Eight more days ’til Halloween, Sil-ver Shamrock!

Dr. Dan gets to work. Even though the man is moaning, “They’ll kill us, they’ll kill us all…” he sedates him. We don’t need to know what the hell he’s talking about anyways! Of course, it takes all of about ten minutes for the gloved men to sneak into the hospital and kill this guy for good.

A nurse’s scream alerts Dr. Dan and he runs after the murderer, but too late. The man has time to go out to his car, pour gasoline all over himself and light himself on fire.

It’s just, whenever I talk about Elaine, I get so carried away… I lose all track of time…

Bizarre, right? Dr. Dan thinks so too. Just look at that look on his face…

So, in spite of the fact that he has nothing tangible to offer the police and fire inspectors aside from “I saw the man pour gas on himself and then blow himself up,” he calls his ex-wife, cancels his night with the kids, and stays at the hospital over night as they investigate.

It’s a good thing, too, because in the morning, the daughter of the murdered man (the man who was running from the men in suits) comes to identify him.

Even though she’s 50 years his junior, the thought balloon over Dr. Dan’s head reads “Hubba Hubba”.

The police can offer her no explanations as to the reason behind her father’s murder.

Obviously, it bothers the good Doctor. A few days later, he’s following up with the Coroner’s office to see if they’ve learned anything. The prevailing theory seems to be that the gloved man was a lunatic on drugs (it was a big answer for a lot of strange behaviour in the 80s), but Dr. Dan calls bullshit! He asks the coroner to look into it for him. She gives him a quick kiss on the way out. Dr Dannnn… Studmuffin.

I drink alone! Yeaaa-ahh with nobody else.

A day later, Dr. Dan is drinking in a bar, when the Silver Shamrock commercial plays on the tv for the fourth time in the film.

Two more days til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween
Two more days til Halloween, Sil-Ver Shamrock.

Dr Dan pulls at his hair and screams “That song is driving me crazy!!” No wait, that’s me.

Ellie Grimbridge, the daughter in mourning from a few days ago, comes to ask him about what happened. Dr. Dan can’t tell her, but he admits it’s been eating at him. He tells her how her dad was clutching the Halloween mask when he died, and that he heard him saying “They’ll kill us all” before he was murdered. Together they go to the Mom and Pop store her father used to run, and investigate his schedule book.

It’s there they realize that the last appointment he had before he died was to “Pick up more masks” from the Silver Shamrock mask company.

Don’t be afraid. No, seriously. Don’t be.

Together they decide to investigate. Conveniently Thankfully Silver Shamrock is a local company. So, after a quick call to his ex-wife, Dr. Dan grabs a six-pack of beer and together they drive off to see if the Silver Shamrock headquarters will hold the answers they seek.

The Silver Shamrock mask commercial plays (for the 5th time) in the window of a tv shop as they pull away…

Will they find what they’re after?

What IS the story with the Silver Shamrock mask company?

You can click here for more “Awesomely Awful: ‘Halloween III:Season of the Witch’”!

And if you haven’t seen it yet, but want to check out the Awesome Awfulness that IS “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”, AMC has it in heavy rotation all this week. Look it up and set your DVRs!

Baby come back… any kind of fool could see! There was something… in everything about you! Baby come back! You can blame it all on me! I was wrong… and I just can’t live without you!

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8 thoughts on “Awesomely Awful: “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”

  1. I’d read that Carpenter’s intention had always been to have Halloween be an anthology series, but he just had too much story to tell about Michael Myers to not lead off with two movies, hence the initial appearance that it was going to be a series on Myers throughout and then this abrupt shift. Not having seen Halloween III yet (or II, for that matter — and why is it that’s the one that AMC isn’t showing, anyway?) I’ve wondered if it would have gotten the negative reaction it did had it been, say, the second in the series instead of the first non-Myers entry in what had seemed like (and then reverted to) a Myers series.

    But it’s sounding like it wouldn’t have been a winner any way…. Fun write-up, man. Looking forward to part II.

    • Oh. It won’t be. (A winner, that is). Trust me, by the end, you’ll realize just how awful this flick really is.

      I’ve heard that about the intention behind the series too. And you raise a REALLY good question about what if it had been 2 and not 3… But it sucks so bad the no matter what, it was going to be horrible.

  2. As if having that song in my head for the past almost 30 years wasn’t enough, I actually saw this film…in a movie theatre…in 1982…when I was 12! &…my mother brought me, and…. you brought all that back for me today; thank you (she says sarcastically). It is a really horrid movie, but for some reason, my 12 year old self loved it. I can’t help but wonder how emotionally scarred I am by the fact hat my parents let me watch horror moies from, like, birth…but, alas, that is a conversation for another day. Fun post!

    • Thanks Kim! :D

      Yeah… I think a movie this bad would scar someone regardless of how old they were. I’m trying to clear my head still! LOL

      I can see loving it when you’re young. Probably felt cool just getting in, I’m sure it was R Rated (That was the days before EVERY MOVIE ON THE PLANET needed to be PG-13)… And seeing as kids are threatened the most, it might have even been scary.

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