Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982) - Review

It's pretty clear that Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (also referred to as The One Halloween Without Michael Myers) is the black sheep in the series. John Carpenter originally wanted the show to be an anthology series; every installment would focus on a different horror, the only thing connecting the films being the setting of Halloween.  But after the success of the first movie, a sequel was made to tie up the loose ends.  But after Halloween 2, the Michael Myers story had concluded, and the series could finally become the anthology that Carpenter intended it to be.  And then, of course, one movie later, Myers is resurrected for several more sequels because Halloween 3 completely tanked without Myers to hold audiences' interests.

But is all the hatred that the film has garnered deserved?  Well, it's definitely a different kind of film.  It's more of a mystery with some horror undertones about an evil corporation rather than an outright slasher, and it actually incorporates a lot of cool ideas.  The thing is, the ideas don't really go all that well together, giving the movie a really inconsistent feel to it.  It never quite meshes together, which hurts it a little bit.

From a technical standpoint though, it's pretty good.  The acting is mostly pretty solid, even though the characters are pretty thin in this one.  The main character Dan, played by Tom Atkins, is likable but has his faults.  Unfortunately he doesn't get any sort of character development, nor does the pseudo love interest.  The direction is decent for a first-timer, although I am really confused as to how the characters are watching the original Halloween in a couple of the scenes.  The special effects are really the show-stealer, as there are some great, disgusting makeup effects.  Even the score in this one is good; it does lack the traditional Halloween piano theme, but it makes up for it with an atmospheric synthy droning that blares much of the movie.

Despite all its advantages though, for some reason it comes up strangely lacking in the entertainment department.  The movie has some serious pacing problems, and almost immediately, the film stops to a grinding halt.  Even when things do pick up, it still feels like everything is moving pretty slowly and nothing's getting done.  While it was a commendable effort, the pacing of the film really does drag it down; with a tighter screenplay and perhaps better editing, this concept could have been delved into far more.

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