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It's that time of year again. When the weather starts to get chilly and the leaves change. I love Fall and everything that comes with it...

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Halloween III (1982)

The dive into the Halloween franchise continues with the most controversial of them. It was decided that the Michael Myers story was over, but that there were many more spooky tales to be told. Not only did the movie not have the killer we all knew and loved, but it wasn’t even that kind of story! This is well before the days of the internet where everything was spoiled months before a movie came out. Opening weekend people showed up for some more Michael Myers and got something very different, which made many of them very mad. Before I get too much further let me explain the plot. 

The action kicks off with an old man running from someone. He eventually ends up in a hospital under the care of Dr. Challis, played by Tom Atkins. The man is killed, and the killer blows himself up in the parking lot after committing the murder. When the murdered man’s daughter, Ellie, starts asking questions the pair of them head off to figure out what the hell her father was up to before he died. This leads them to the Silver Shamrock novelty factory that is in the midst of a busy season making Halloween masks for the kids. Okay clearly something isn’t right about the town and the factory, especially the strange men in suits that seem to be everywhere. They turn out to be automatons, mechanical creatures that are controlled by the man in charge of Silver Shamrock to guard his plant and his plans. 

Some creepy stuff happens, people are killed, and a huge conspiracy is revealed. The owner of the factory turns out to be a devotee to the “old” ways. Using magic and the power of Stonehenge he plans on using the masks to kill the children who then sprout out insects and snakes that kill their parents! It all is triggered by a television commercial that is advertised as the big giveaway. Can they stop this evil plan in time to prevent the sacrifice of millions of innocent children? I’m not sure and don’t want to spoil the movie, but I can say that Tom Atkins has an awesome mustache. 

So, no masked killer… unless you want to count the masks that are used to kill people. More importantly there was no killer stalking his victims while they drank and got up to other naughty hijinks. I can totally understand why this movie flopped with audiences when it was first released. But Halloween III is a decent movie that was an experiment that I wish had succeeded, especially given the track record of the sequels that followed and ignored this movie. The cast is solid with Atkins in the lead role. I don’t totally buy him as a doctor, especially when he dumps the kids on his ex-wife to go play detective armed only with a six pack of beer! But he has enough charisma that I ended up not caring how silly that was. The villain of the movie is played by Dan O’Herlihy, who is great. He is always charming, even when he is about to murder some innocent people. 

There are some decent bits of gore in Halloween III. The best might be when a hand is jammed thru the eyes of a victim, who then has his skull fractured from the inside. There are also melted heads, an exploded face, multiple yellow gooey bits from automatons used by the villain as his guards, and a head gets twisted right off a body! Not all of it is right in your face, but there is still enough to have some fun with. 

The one thing that has always bugged me about the movie is the twist at the end with Ellie. Spoilers are coming. Well, you were warned so here it is. She was either one of the automatons from the start or was replaced at some point during the trip to the factory. After fighting it out with fake Ellie the good doctor makes it to a phone where he is somehow able to convince the networks to not air the commercial… How did that work? This was a weird way to end movie. 

Clearly there are issues with the plot, but overall Halloween III is a good time. Atkins is a charismatic leading man and there is enough to the story to be creepy and at times gory. The movie is hurt by the ending as it just doesn’t seem to fit. It feels like the filmmakers weren’t sure of what to do with it and just winged it. But the movie doesn’t deserve all the hate that it initially got and is worth a watch. I recommend it. 


© Copyright 2021 John Shatzer



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