streaming horror halloween 3

Welcome to 31 Days of Streaming Horror. Every day this October, we’ll be highlighting a different streaming horror movie to help you get into the Halloween spirit. Today’s (final) entry: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982).

Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Now Streaming on HBO Now and HBO Go

Sub-Genre: Sequel That’s Not Really a Sequel

Best Setting to Watch It In: Right in front of the TV while wearing your new Silver Shamrock mask

How Scary Is It?: Are you scared of bugs? If so…

Oh, what could’ve been. By the time Halloween III: Season of the Witch came about, John Carpenter and Debra Hill had had enough of Michael Myers. They wanted to try something completely new. Their brilliant idea was to continue the Halloween branding with new stories – stories revolving around everyone’s favorite ghoulish holiday. It was an anthology approach, and it could’ve been brilliant. We could’ve been blessed with year after year of exciting new movies centered around Halloween season.

But that didn’t happen. Critical reaction to Season of the Witch was negative, and audiences had only one question: where the hell was Michael Myers? While by no means a flop, Season of the Witch failed to generate as much money as Halloween and Halloween II, and that was what killed off Carpenter and Hill’s great idea. Moving forward, Halloween sequels would bring back Michael Myers, and Carpenter and Hill would walk away from the franchise entirely.

Time has been kind to Season of the Witch. While fans were befuddled at the lack of the Shape stalking around with a butcher knife, once the shock wore off, people began to realize what a fun, nasty little Halloween treat this is. The common consensus among horror fans these days is that if the film had just dropped Halloween III from its title and been released as Season of the Witch, it would’ve been accepted with open arms.

Halloween III is set in California, and while that’s not the most autumnal of states, director Tommy Lee Wallace and cinematographer Dean Cundey manage to perfectly encapsulate the feeling of Halloween. One of the film’s most famous shots – a trio of trick-or-treaters silhouetted against a faded orange sky, practically screams Halloween.

The story centers on a beer-swilling doctor (the always welcomed Tom Atkins) who gets caught up in a plot involving killer Halloween masks. Toymaker Conal Cochran (a wonderfully sinister Dan O’Herlihy) wants to bring Halloween season back to the old days. And we’re talking the very old days. “You don’t really know much about Halloween,” he says late in the film. “You thought no further than the strange custom of having your children wear masks and go out begging for candy. It was the start of the year in our old Celtic lands, and we’d be waiting in our houses of wattles and clay. The barriers would be down, you see, between the real and the unreal, and the dead might be looking in to sit by our fires of turf. Halloween…the festival of Samhain! The last great one took place three thousand years ago, when the hills ran red with the blood of animals and children.”

Any kid unlucky enough to be wearing the mask while a killer TV signal is beamed out from Cochran’s toy factory is doomed. Doomed to have their heads literally rot and spew forth insects like a Jack-o’-lantern that’s overstayed its welcome. “The world’s going to change tonight,” Cochran says. “I’m glad you’ll be able to watch it. And…Happy Halloween.”

Happy Halloween, indeed.

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