RETROSPECTIVE: Halloween 3 is an Underrated Holiday Classic

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Halloween 3

The Halloween Franchise has always had an impactful part of my life as a horror fan. My first experience was at a sleepover when I was 12 and one of my friends brought over a VHS copy of Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. I was so lost with the story, but loved the movie so much I sought out the other films in the series to satisfy my need for more horror. I quickly watched all of the movies in the franchise. Well, except for part three. 

I was told by all the other kids at school who watched horror movies, ” Don’t watch it, it sucks, Michael Myers isn’t even in it,” and that was it. For several years I never watched part three because I just assumed it sucked because it had nothing to do with the Michael Myers storyline. When I was 19, I finally relented and decided I needed to see it for myself, and I loved it.

Ultimately, I feel like this is something a lot of Halloween fans can relate to. We grew up with these movies and we’re all told that simply because Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch didn’t have Michael Myers in it, it sucked, and isn’t worth watching. But times have changed and the movie is finally being appreciated and become a regular viewing for October.

Halloween 3

For context, At the end of Halloween II, Michael Myers is blown up by Doctor Loomis and the last shot of the film is of his burning corpse. This was meant to be the end of his story and Laurie and Loomis. the film was successful and as such, a sequel was demanded. So at the time, the idea was to change the format and make the franchise a series of anthology films each centered around a stand-alone story, with Halloween being the only thing connecting them. the setting, on. Thus, we got Halloween 3.

Halloween 3 was centered around black magic and witchcraft and focused more on the traditions of Halloween as a holiday more than the previous two films had. In it, Dr. Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) investigates the Silver Shamrock novelties factory after a patient of his is mysteriously murdered by an unknown assassin while clutching one of their masks and shouting, “They’re gonna kill us all!” Challis joins with his patient’s daughter Ellie, (Stacey Nelkin) and they set out to investigate Silver Shamrock and discover a conspiracy more horrifying then they could imagine. 

This movie highlights the Halloween season, even more than the first film does. When I see the three Silver Shamrock masks and hear that annoying jingle, I am instantly put into the Halloween spirit. The image of the three Silver Shamrock mask together is just as iconic as Michael Myers white mask in the shadows. If I had to pick one i would say the witch is my favorite of the three masks. But the best shots are of the children across the United States trick or treating together with their masks all lined up together. Halloween 3 is also a fast-paced and fun movie. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and fully embraces just how bonkers some of its aspects are.

Halloween 3

As a longtime fan, the highlight of this movie for me is in its villain Conal Cochran, played brilliantly by late great actor Dan O’Herlihy. When you first meet Cochran he seems like just a jolly old man who delights in bringing joy to the children for Halloween. But in secret, he is a bloodthirsty Celtic warlock wanting to bring about a mass sacrifice of children to appease the festival of Samhain. Cochran is the best kind of villain, he truly believes in what he is doing. He’s not just a knife-wielding psycho like Michael Myers. He is a cold, calculating and brilliant manipulator.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is our hero Doctor Daniel Challis played by genre legend Atkins. In most films like this the hero is either a final girl like Laurie Strode or a gun toting hero like Doctor Loomis. Daniel Challis is a total mess. He’s a drunk, he cheats on his wife and he is a lousy father. He’s a deeply flawed person, and weirdly thats what makes him a great protagonist. He feels like a real person that you might have met sometime in your life. He’s a screw up, but he’s a really likable screw up, and he’s got a killer mustache.

If you can just accept that this movie has nothing to do with Michael Myers and the Haddonfield storyline, it’s a really great movie to watch during Halloween month. At the time I can understand moviegoers being disappointed in the film after expecting another Myers film. Thankfully, Halloween 3 has found its audience through home video and revival screenings at cinemas.

I would love to see how differently the franchise would have turned out, had this movie been successful. Imagine how much more impactful the 2018 Halloween movie would have been had we not seen a Michael Myers movie for 40 years.  If you haven’t seen this movie do yourself a favor and watch it this Halloween. And don’t forget about the big giveaway at 9.

Matt Elliott, Author at HNN | Horrornews.net (@vigilante0514)