Sunday, July 13, 2014

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) Review:

For aficionados of the Halloween franchise, it is a known fact that Halloween II (1981) was supposed to be end for the character of Michael Myers. After the explosion in the hospital, that was it. Myers was no longer relevant. John Carpenter's plan after that was to create a franchise based on the holiday of Halloween, not Michael Myers. This is the reason why this sequel although related to the franchise has nothing to do with Laurie Strode, Dr. Loomis or Michael Myers. These particular characters were never intended to have a continued story. Because of this reason alone, it is obvious to why the film performed poorly and had fans turning their heads. The surprising thing is, is that it's not the concept that didn't work. It was practically everything else.

Tom Atkins without white hair?
Instead of the story revolving around a serial killer, the focus changes to that of a much bigger scale. Dr. Challis (Tom Atkins) comes across a strange case where a patient is killed in his hospital over what seems to be a regular halloween mask. In order to understand why his patient was killed, he teams up with the patients daughter Ellie (Stacey Nelkin), to find out the problem. The mask that Atkins finds, brings them to the factory that makes the rest, headed by Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy - most notable for his role as "the old man" in RoboCop (1987)). The rest of the cast is completely forgettable. As for these three actors, they do their best but the problem is that their acting can't save them from either sounding or being extremely silly on screen.

Tommy Lee Wallace (better known for directing Stephen Kings It (1990)) wrote and directed for his first time in this picture. Unfortunately, it's quite apparent that Wallace's experience isn't polished because there are a number of things that don't work in its screenplay. Characterization is one. Tom Atkins is a respectable actor, yet his character and his Nelkin’s character are written with little development. Dr. Challis' motivations are extremely confused when it comes to women. He has a wife and kids, flirts with his nurse, dates a coroner and makes out with the patients daughter. Is he really that careless and sleezy? Why exactly is he like that? Cochran's motivations are explained but don't make much sense either.

A lot of the dialog is also forgettable and awkward at times too. This takes away much of the tension that the story tries to build up, which isn't good. Then there's these robots that are lead by Cochran. It is never explained to how they are made or how they exist. They're literally just there to add creepiness and that's not even fully exploited. Even stranger is that this movie continuously makes references to the last two Halloween movies. Wallace films Cochran’s robots like they were Michael Myers due to their stiff poses. Clips are randomly played and even Jamie Lee Curtis plays an uncredited voice in the film. If you listen carefully, you might be able to tell when she speaks. Nevertheless, why do this? All this does is remind its viewer what either they could be watching or reminding them that this isn't that movie. Either way, it only distracts.

"Dick, I'm very disappointed"
Thankfully, there are some redeeming qualities, which don't make impossible to sit through. The special effects are noteworthy for when they are on screen. For example, the intro credits basically digitizes that of the first two Halloween films, which was different and creative. The gore scenes were relatively new as well. Not all of them make sense because of how they're connected to the plot, but it still can be enjoyed. The element that worked the best was John Carpenter's score to the film. There wasn't a main theme this time but that's appropriate since Michael Myers isn't in it either. The intro track strangely sounds like Brad Fiedel first terminator score. But with that are other tracks that sound creepy, which work. Sadly this isn't enough to make it entirely compelling. I wanted to favor it but it lacked a lot.

It has good music, decent effects, respectable actors and an interesting concept but its writing is so flawed in its execution. The characterizations, motivations and plot are very flimsy.

Points Earned --> 5:10

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