alloween III" has long been viewed as the
bastard child of the "Halloween" series and is frequently the
subject of scorn and derision. Michael Myers is glaringly absent, replaced
by an entirely new set of circumstances that have little relation to the
previous two films. Nevertheless, the third entry is a fair horror flick,
although still undeserving of the "Halloween" moniker.
"Halloween III" doesn't have a killer in a
mask, but instead the masks themselves are the killer. The masks were
created by the evil head of the Silver Shamrock company, who plans on
using them to kill their purchasers on Halloween night. It seems that
pieces of Stonehenge are placed in each of the lethal masks and when the
Silver Shamrock jingle is played, the wearers die a gory death. Only a
hospital doctor and the daughter of a man mysteriously killed can prevent
the year's trick or treating from turning into a slaughter.
With Michael Myers reduced to ashes at the end of "Halloween
2", the producers tried a different approach to keep the series
going. Their idea was to turn the "Halloween" films into a
horror anthology series, with each film a completely different tale of
terror involving new characters. It was such a brilliant idea that the
concept lasted only one film, and there wasn't another
"Halloween" movie for five years.
Primary scribe Nigel Kneale requested his name be removed from the
credits, so director Tommy Lee Wallace ("Vampires
2: Los Muertos") is given sole credit for the script. (That was
sure to have done wonders for his resume.) The plot itself isn't really
bad and at times even shows some glimmer of imagination. Corporate
conspiracies, evil androids, and mysterious deaths -- they're all jammed
into a script that does its best to make you forget Michael Myers isn't
lurking about. The downside is that the Silver Shamrock jingle will haunt
your dreams for years to come, and viewers are sure to really appreciate that.
As for the masks themselves, they truly are terrible sights to behold.
Whether they are the pumpkin, grim reaper or witch models, they're
probably the last thing you'd want a trick or treater to confront you with
on Halloween night. Prop maker Terry Feller certainly did his duty
creating the masks, and they're the highlight of this misguided effort.
In one of his first directorial efforts, veteran Tommy Lee Wallace does a
somewhat respectable job. He delivers a fair amount of suspense, keeps the
action moving, and presents a good amount of eerie atmosphere as well as a
good amount of gore to keep viewers awake. There are some scenes that get
under your skin, but sadly not enough to rescue the film. Wallace shows a
lot of promise as a director, promises that will later be fulfilled in
The cast is of little help in this effort. Tom Atkins ("The
Fog") and Stacy Nelkin are serviceable in their roles; they show
up, recite their lines and perform just enough to justify their paychecks.
But if they're the ones we're relying on to save us from a Halloween
massacre, then we're all gonna die. On the other end of the spectrum, Dan
O'Herlihy is excellent as the creepy owner of Silver Shamrock. Seemingly
friendly at first, he soon reveals a macabre side to his personality -- a
side that will result in the death of many innocents. O'Herlihy seems to
put a lot of effort into his part, and his work ethic is truly
If "Halloween III" was simply titled "Season of the
Witch", it would have been a diverting and forgettable fright film
that is entertaining to a point, but easy to dismiss. But the producers
insisted on keeping the "Halloween" in the title, and that name
comes with a U-Haul full of audience expectations. Namely, we expect
Michael Myers, since he's what we've come to associate with the
"Halloween" series. Taking him out of the film is like making
Park" without the dinosaurs or a "Batman"
film without the Dark Knight.