Tom Atkins Hopes That Halloween III Has Finally Escaped From Under Michael Myers' Shadow

"Halloween III: Season of the Witch" has undergone a significant cultural re-evaluation in recent years. While it may not have focused on Michael Myers, that character's essence as one of the many sinister spirits of Halloween was still felt throughout the film. While this unconventional sequel is appreciated today, it is a shame it wasn't loved the way it deserved to be back in 1982.

It seems like the film's original crew feels the same way, even almost 40 years after the film's release. In an interview with horror blog Broke Horror Fan, "Season of the Witch" actor Tom Atkins was asked about the film's enduring legacy and how it was marred for decades as the so-called "black sheep" of the franchise, despite an anthology approach being part of the plan from the early days.

"I loved making 'Halloween III.' I really enjoyed it," Atkins said. "It was John Carpenter's intention to make an anthology of Halloween movies; to make a different Halloween movie every Halloween."

However, like all horror sequels at this time (and even to this day), it was all about the money. So, in order to draw fans to the box office, Atkins said that executives insisted on marketing it under the "Halloween" name.

"The money guys at the studio said, 'Well, you already have this one ready to go, and we'll do it, but you have to put Halloween in the title,'" he said. "It can be subtitled 'Season of the Witch,' but it has to have the franchise, 'Halloween,' up above."

An unfair detriment

In hindsight, it seems like tacking the "Halloween" subtitle onto "Season of the Witch" was a major mistake. The problem that many franchise fans had with the film is that it didn't feature Michael Myers, even if the core theme of Halloween fear was still intact. Advertising it as a "Halloween" movie and not its own thing seemingly doomed the movie, as well as the "Halloween" franchise as a whole, for years.

"A lot of people were unhappy when it came out," said Atkins. "They saw 'Halloween' [in the title] and thought Michael Myers would be in it."

Because of this subtitle and the misconceptions surrounding the movie, the lukewarm fan and critical reception it received put the kibosh on any future anthology entries to the "Halloween" franchise. Michael Myers would return in a movie aptly called "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers" in 1988, with all subsequent sequels and reboots focusing on the masked slasher with varying results.

At the same time, however, the appreciation for what "Season of the Witch" sought out to do has grown. John Carpenter's original vision of how fluid and encompassing the evils of Halloween can be has been praised as being ahead of its time in recent years, and deservedly so — at least, according to Atkins.

"It's different than the others, and it stands on its own," he explained. "It's a really good film."