Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) is my second-favorite movie of all time (right after the original Halloween from 1978). And to show you just how much of an “H3 Geek” I really am, I’ve decided to do something really special for Samhain this year. I’ve decided that for the next 31 days – leading right up to All Hallows’ Eve – I’ll be posting some kind of “daily fun fact” concerning this crazy movie. Some of these “fun facts” will concern the actual making of the film itself, while others will explore subjects that are brought up in its story and which aren’t exactly explained. One of the things I love about this movie is that it’s so multi-faceted; it contains numerous layers about everything from apotropaic magic to Western capitalism. Seeing Season of the Witch, in fact, was one of the catalysts that jump-started my self-initiation into esoteric matters, which is to say that I probably wouldn’t be a Pagan today if I’d never seen it. (It holds much the same place in my heart that 1996’s The Craft does for many other Pagans.) I therefore have much more to say about Halloween III than I could possibly fit into my initial review of the film that I wrote a few years ago.
The original 1982 Halloween III poster.
Please note: These Halloween III “fun facts” will contain spoilers. If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t wish to have anything ruined…well, it was made all the way back in 1982 (which means it’s about as old as I am), so what do you want me to do? Hurry it up and watch it, already!
The most important thing you have to understand about Halloween III: Season of the Witch is that it’s marketed as a “sequel” to the original Halloween, but it really isn’t a “sequel” at all. It has nothing to do with Michael Myers, Laurie Strode, Dr. Loomis or the sleepy town of Haddonfield, Illinois. In fact, it’s not even a “slasher movie”; it’s more like an alien invasion story. It’s about a guy named Dan Challis (played by Tom Atkins) and a lady named Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin) who decide to investigate a brutal murder that their local police just don’t seem to care about. In doing so, Dan and Ellie stumble upon a ghoulish plot that’s masterminded by Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), the founder and CEO of a major toy-manufacturing company called Silver Shamrock Novelties.
I’m not even sure how to explain what Cochran’s plan is without making this film sound totally batshit, but here goes: he’s grinding up the Bluestone from Stonehenge and placing its debris inside these glow-in-the-dark Halloween masks for which his company is now famous. Then, whenever someone wears one of these masks while watching a special Silver Shamrock TV commercial that will only be aired on Halloween night, the Bluestone dust is “activated” by an occult signal that’s hidden inside the TV broadcast. When this happens, the person wearing the mask is then transformed into a bunch of snakes and spiders from the inside out. (They literally start vomiting up their own insides, which then crawl or slither around and kill anyone else who happens to be nearby.) Combine this with the fact that virtually every little kid in America now owns one of Cochran’s deadly masks and is gearing up for Silver Shamrock’s televised “Big Giveaway” on Halloween night, and you should be able to do the math. Cochran’s first reason doing all of this is simply because he thinks it’s “funny.” His second reason is to punish modern Americans for not respecting the true spiritual meaning of Samhain. And his third reason – the most mysterious of all – has something to do with the planets, which are now in alignment with each other.
(Did I mention that Cochran also has an army of killer robots at his disposal? This movie has everything, man!)
Beware of killer robots.
“Thirty more days ‘till Halloween,
Thirty more days ‘till Halloween,