Monday, October 11, 2010

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

I’ve seen Halloween 3 so many times over the years that I’m probably the wrong person to write a review about it, because my love for it has since a long time ago went from something innocent to something almost perverted. Directed and written by Tommy Lee Wallace, based on an idea by an uncredited Nigel Kneale (who hated the movie with a frenzy seldom seen) and produced by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, this feels like a Carpenter-movie in every detail. Even Jamie Lee Curtis has a voice-cameo.

What attracts me is the pulpy story about a modern druid and toymaker with a plan to sacrifice millions of children Halloween night with a retro-laser beam placed inside the manufacturers tag on the most popular Halloween-masks. This ancient technology is connected to a piece of Stonehenge that he has stolen and placed inside his toy-factory. He also has an army of mechanical cyborgs doing his evil deeds… and in the middle of this is cool doctor Tom Atkins and the revengeful daughter to one of the toymakers victims.

Blablabla. You know the story. It’s a great story, and it proudly goes too far and gets absurder than many other horror movies from the eighties. The atmosphere is like Halloween 2: long trackning shots, eerie atonal music, sudden violence with eletronic sharp music cues. It’s beautifully shot by Dean Cundey and the music by Carpenter and Alan Howarth is perfect (one of the few soundtracks I listen to outside of a movie too).

The biggest success is the always competent hero and random macho-man Tom Atkins in the lead. Excellent actor and has both the sensitivity and violence to carry a movie. It’s also the first time that I don’t think it’s strange that the younger woman falls for an older guy, because he’s just so sympatethic and likable. Atkins injects something in his character, which his humanity.

But a horror movie from the eighties wouldn’t be anything without the gore, and this movie has discreet and very powerful gore and violence. It’s hard and very graphic, but never too much. Some of the characters, like the family in the end, are over-the-top – but I’m sure that was just the plan, because when they finally bite the dust it feels so much more painful. The ending is also without a real ending, we never know what’s happening and that’s alright with me. It’s a lot more stronger that way.

And I also want to state that the pre-credits is one of the best ever. Simple and moody. It sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the movie.

Halloween 3 is Season of the Witch, and it dosen’t need Michael Myers to scare us. One of the most underrated movies ever and thankfully it’s starting to get the respect it deserves.


Steve Langton said...

Fully agree with your thoughts. This film is enormously underrated, wonderfully atmospheric and gets my vote as one of the best horrors of the '80s

alesum said...

What a nice, pleasant reading. Thank you for this posting.

forestofthedead said...

Totally agree Ninja.