When last I had left you, I went through the good and the bad of Halloween and it’s sequel the aptly titled Halloween 2. I did mention that we wouldn’t spend a lot of time on part 3 due to it not really having anything to do with the series. Upon further reflection however, it does deserve a little explanation because it’s just this weird anomaly of a film in a series that are essentially about one guy. But before we go any further..

 

WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!


TITLE: Halloween III: Season of the Witch

YEAR OF RELEASE: 1982

DIRECTOR: Tommy Lee Wallace

WRITERS: Tommy Lee Wallace and Nigel Kneale (uncredited)

STARRING: Tom Atkins and Stacey Nelkin

RUNNING TIME: 98 Minutes

DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures

 

 

I’m not going to go into great detail here but essentially, what happened was that Carpenter and Debra Hill would only be involved in another sequel if it didn’t involve the Myers character.

The idea was to do an anthology film that could spawn more sequels. This particular one was basically about Halloween masks that could be used for mind control and turn people into killers.

Unfortunately, everyone just asked “Where was Michael Myers?”.

The concept did not work out well and was scuttled with the next sequel. For all intents and purposes, this film really isn’t part of the series. There is one theory that figures that one of the mind control masks that got out was the Myers standard issue mask, hence why he’s an emotionless killing machine. But after some research and a viewing, there is absolutely nothing to support this theory aside from the fact that there are Halloween masks in the film. The Myers mask never actually appears and the writer and producers have gone on the record to say that it is unconnected so there you have it.

It’s kind of like if Schindler’s List was titled Indiana Jones and The Hidden Jews.

… okay maybe it’s not that bad but you get the idea.

Rating: N/A

TITLE: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

YEAR OF RELEASE: 1988

DIRECTOR: Dwight H Little

WRITER: Alan B McElroy

STARRING: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris

RUNNING TIME: 88 Minutes

DISTRIBUTOR: Galaxy International Releasing

 

This where most of the original team (with the exception of producer Moustapha Akkad) have left the series and we dive head long into 80’s slasher flick territory.

“I wasn’t dead, I was under your bed the entire time living on soda crackers and fear!”

Turns out Myers and Loomis didn’t die in the explosion in part 2 as we had previously thought. Both were “horribly burned” and Myers was also shot “six times”, but both survived. Myers escapes while being transported to another hospital. We are introduced to Laurie’s daughter (Curtis’s character conveniently being written off via car accident) Jaime (played by Danielle Harris who also shows up in the Zombie remakes). Jaime lives with a foster family including an older foster sister, Rachel.

Myers is coming back to Haddonfield in order to get revenge on what’s left of his family… I suppose? Talk about a one track mind.

On a whole, this isn’t terrible but it is very typical. In fact, there’s even a psychic kid much like Friday the 13th part 4. Loomis’ scars seem to come and go. The Michael Myers mask seems like a cheap rip off of the original. The actual kills step more in line with it’s contemporaries: a gradual incline of gorier and more elaborate kills and bodies. There’s also a pretty tacked on love triangle that really doesn’t add anything other then a nice rack of 80’s era boobage.

But there are some bonuses.

“Wait… you mean people actually pay attention to my warnings?”

Finally there’s a sheriff that believes that a killer is on the loose, something you rarely see in slasher films. He even tries to lock down the town. Even the townsfolk seem very aware that when stuff goes weird, it’s time to take cover. Which they should. Sure, some of them form a drunken posse and accidentally fill a kid with a large amount of lead but at least they are actively trying to hunt down the psychopath.

I could be wrong but this is one of the few slasher films where common sense seems to be more prevalent then any other slasher film I can think of.

I do like the Loomis/Myers relationship. Donald Pleasence takes the part very much like a Hammer films Van Helsing. And if I had to be honest, I love the scene where Myers is like fucking Rambo and takes out four guys armed with shotguns in the back of a moving pickup. He is “killed” this round by a shit ton of gun fire and then falling down a mind shaft. Jaime apparently kills her foster mom at the end of the film.

(On a side note, I was also really surprised at Anchor Bay’s blu ray treatment of the film. Really good picture quality and a bunch of extras and two commentary tracks. If I were a Halloween completest, I’d think about doing the upgrade.)

What part 4 suffers from more than anything else is time. While the first Halloween was an originator of many of the slasher tropes we now take for granted, by the time this 3rd Myers film came out, Friday the 13th was on it’s 7th film (6th with a Myers-like character in Jason Vorhees) using many of the things we loved about Halloween but amping them up and making them slightly silly. Director Dwight H. Little does a an adequate job but nothing really special in terms of look or feel. (side note, Dwight also directed my favourite Segal film, Marked for Death).

Rating: Not Bad With A Couple Of Beers

NEXT WEEK: The story of Michael Myers continues in part 5 and gets really kind of weird in part 6… stay tuned!

Last Week’s Column: Fear and Loathing in Geekdom #41 – The Ballad of Michael Myers Part 1