The only Halloween without Michael Myers. When asked to shape a third Halloween film, John Carpenter and Debra Hill were hesitant to be involved. They finally agreed provided it was a new project and not a direct sequel to Halloween II (1981). Producers Irwin Yablans and Moustapha Akkad set the budget at $2.5 Million and Director Tommy Lee Wallace later said in an interview, “It is our intention to create an anthology out of the series, sort of along the lines of Night Gallery, or The Twilight Zone, only on a much larger scale, of course.” Hill added it was supposed to be “a ‘pod’ movie not a ‘knife’ movie.” Tom Atkins is cast as Dr. Challis and seasoned character actor Dan O’Herlihy is hired as Conal Cochran. The movie opened to hostile reviews and disappointing box office as Carpenter and Hill walked away from the franchise. Eventually it gained an audience on home video as its popularity continues to grow. An 80s sleeper or jumping the shark?
Halloween III: Season of the Witch Filming Locations w/Tommy Lee Wallace - Horror’s Hallowed Grounds.
I always liked it. I started getting into the franchise in the mid to late 90s and it took forever to track down so I was really pleased to get a copy. Knowing it wasn’t a Michael film I approached it on its own terms and thought it was very cool. It has a similar pacing and sense of menace to the original, slow compared to some other horror movies of the time but not out of place. The main complaint I ever hear/read about it is that it doesn’t have Michael in it and I think that if you’re intentionally missing the point of the film you’re not going to enjoy it. I would’ve liked to have seen what they did with the anthology format if it had taken off.
I think there’s been a critical over-correction where this films rep is concerned. It’s got a fun premise and some arresting visuals, but it’s pretty heavily padded. Always thought it’d work better as a single story in a Creepshow-style anthology film.
But it is a fun seasonal watch. Obviously the jingle is a mind breaker. Kudos to whoever came up with that.
It wasn’t done by Carpenter. He was too busy. Alan Howarth and Tommy Lee Wallace are responsible. Set to the public domain tune “London Bridge Is Falling Down”, it is diabolically unforgettable.
Blimey, it had never occurred to me that the tune is actually London Bridge is Falling Down, despite having sung it many times back in short trouser days.
I was, sadly, in the camp of “what is this?! where’s michael meyers?!” when I saw this in theaters when it first came out. Once it landed on cable, well maybe Preview back then, prior to cable in our area, I LOVED it. Once I knew it wasn’t a “meyers” movie, I dig into all aspects of it. Plus, in the year before seeing it again, I became a huge Carpenter fan and am to this day. I know he wasn’t as involved in III but still give him credit as a great Carpenter film (and despite not directing it).
I’m now reminded of a podcast that had blended this movie into the canon of the others (sort of) through the medium of tabletop roleplaying. Look up the Film Reroll, it’s quite good.
It sports every trapping of a vintage Carpenter movie. A Carpenter/Howarth score, Dean Cundey cinematography, Debra Hill producing, and that late 70s/early 80s flair and intensity. The director Tommy Lee Wallace is a childhood friend of Carpenter’s and he was Sound Effects Editor and Art Director on Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) and Production Designer and Co-Film Editor on Halloween (1978) and The Fog (1980). Wallace is the one who found that William Shatner mask and transformed it into Michael Myers.
Producer Debra Hill proposed it to Alan Howarth. A public domain song presented zero downside. Alan still gussied it up with synthesizer tricks giving it a unique feel.
I loved this movie. I think it was very good and very underrated.
I’m still trying to figure out how you get a chunk of Stonehenge across the Atlantic Ocean and then across the United States completely undetected!