Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Year: 1982
Production Co: Dino De Laurentiis Company
Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Producer: John Carpenter
Writer: Tommy Lee Wallace
Cast: Tom Atkins, Dan O'Herlihy

I would have said this was probably a very cheesy 80s style horror movie just made for VHS before hearing about a plan by John Carpenter (by then listed only as a producer) to make a series of horror tales with Halloween itself rather than Michael Myers in common.

It fell flat and of course the next dozen or so sequels all went back to being about the endlessly-resurrected killer. The reason is probably because, despite a premise that had some potential for social commentary (about how TV makes us docile slaves), it turned out to be utter VHS fodder.

A Halloween mask-making company (Silver Shamrock) is the basis for most of the commerce for an idyllic Californian town, but they have a nefarious purpose. Each mask contains a technology that - when triggered by a certain TV signal - turns the person wearing it into snakes, lizards and other horrible beasts.

Two questions never answered are these. Why does it turn you into a pile of snakes and gross stuff? And why does the company, led by a kindly old president (O'Herlihy) even want to do this, apart from some throwaway line near the end about a Celtic festival of blood sacrifice?

A doctor (Atkins, Ray Cameron out of Night of the Creeps) decides to go and investigate the strange town after the beautiful daughter of a murder victim claims he was killed for finding out the truth about a conspiracy connected with the popular masks.

Almost as quick as they can fall into bed together and are chased around by robotic employees with super strength trying to keep everything under wraps, the pair discover the TV commercials are extolling the Halloween special that will trigger the masks to go off, and with millions of children sitting watching it on Halloween night in their Silver Shamrock masks, all hell's set to break loose.

Its not bad fun, but can't escape either it's miniscule budget or 80s styling in either the clothes or the gender politics.

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