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Halloween III: The odd one out!

The images used in this post are covered under the Fair Use Act.

When you think of the Halloween franchise, the ominous force that is Michael Myers is who usually comes to mind. The statuesque figure donned in a boiler suit and the iconic white William Shatner mask, he is an depraved presence within the world of horror.

Yet, there is one movie in the franchise where he isn’t the antagonist; in fact, he doesn’t even appear in person, except for an advert for the original Halloween movie shown as an advert within the movie.

In today’s post, I’ll be talking about the interesting, and underrated Halloween title Season of the Witch.

Unlike its predecessors, Season of the Witch moved away from the Slasher genre and explores witchcraft and science fiction themes. The creators of the franchise, John Carpenter and Debra Hill, intended the Halloween movies to be an anthology series, set around Halloween, with each sequel containing it’s own characters. Michael Myers was intended to be killed off permanently in the second movie.
Season of the Witch performed poorly at the box office and wasn’t received well by fans. This led to Michael Myers returning in the fourth movie.

The plot is considerably different from the series slasher origins. Season of the Witch’s story revolves around the fictitious Silver Shamrock Novelties, which are popular among the children of this setting. The company is run by the nefarious Conal Cochran who has created lethal masks to sacrifice children as part of an ancient pagan ritual.

As a concept, this is bold. Children don’t tend to be hurt within the world of horror, but Halloween 3 didn’t hold back, and actively showed it on screen. It is gut-wrenching to see with visual effects that look incredible for their time, and add to the overall shock factor of the plot. Such a nefarious plot tends to end with the children being saved just before such an event. But Halloween 3 ends with the main character, Dr. Dan Challis frantically calling TV stations and pleading with them to not broadcast the killer commercial.

For me, this feels far more malicious than the series usual plot involving a deranged, masked killer on the prowl. As unnerving as Michael’s presence is, he is human, thus will have weaknesses, and has been detained in the past. His killing sprees tend to remain in his stomping ground of Haddonfield, whereas Halloween as a holiday has a far larger reach. America is a large country, and these masks are popular among children in this universe, so the range of damage that such an event like this can do is far more devastating than one man with a knife.

Of course, you could argue that given America’s different time zones would lessen the damage this type of event would cause. But it’s always important to suspend your disbelief in most horror movies. Many horror movies don’t tend to be based on real events, after all.

The movie’s initial poor reception was due to Michael Myers not being present within the story. While Halloween wasn’t the first slasher movie, you could argue that it was the movie that perfected the craft. Michael Myers is still a prevalent part of the horror genre. The character has appeared in equipable outfits in video games; he is in the video game Dead By Daylight, the Halloween franchise received a timeline rework in recent years, the most recent movie being released in the current year. With such a popular character and premise, it was inevitable that something that strayed from the familiar formula wouldn’t be received as well. I also imagine the shot of a child being killed so abruptly in the grotesque manner would not have sat well with audiences at the time.

This doesn’t mean that the movie is bad. As a standalone title, it’s a great watch. It has a horrifying plot. Has fantastic effects, cinematography, and the science fiction elements also add to the overall impact of the movie. It is honestly worth the watch at least one time if you’re a fan of the horror genre. It’s a shame the idea of having separate stories never continued after this; I believe there is so much potential for more unnerving stories, but the movie world is a business. Michael Myers sells, this didn’t.

Have you ever watched this movie? If so, what did you think?

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