“Halloween III: Season of the Witch”
Movie #11: 31-Days of Horror Challenge
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Harry Grimbridge, a toy store owner is murdered by a mysterious man in a hospital. Daniel Challis, the doctor on duty at the time, and the toy store owner’s daughter, Ellie, attempt to unravel the strange events leading up to Harry’s murder and become drawn into a plot by Silver Shamrock, the most popular Halloween mask company in the country.
I get what the intention was with this… a series of movies which could stand on their own, all horror, perhaps related in a small way, but not directly sequels of each other. Great concept. Less great execution.
Let’s start with the unquestionably talented Tom Atkins, who is well known for his rugged charisma and strong screen presence, was either miscast, or couldn’t pull off the complexities of the role. (At least as I understood the character based on the background shown in the movie.) Tom Atkins is our hero, Dr. Daniel Challis. He is a man troubled by a broken marriage and trying to repair a relationship with his children, while maintaining his responsibilities at the hospital. It is also strongly implied throughout the movie, in every interaction with his ex-wife, that he has a drinking problem and it has affected not only his marriage, but his work. Further, he is some sort of “Lady’s Man.” So the character could be portrayed in a tragic way, a fellow who made a mistake for which he is striving to make amends, at least with his children. However, that’s not the character that we get. Instead, at the first bat of an eye from the lovely Ellie, who he has met only that same afternoon, and he is lying to his ex-wife and bailing on his kids after promising to spend the weekend with them, so he can go investigate Ellie’s father’s death. I say investigate, but I mean bang Ellie, because, let’s face it, dear reader, that’s what it comes down to. So, either the character is an irresponsible dick and utterly unlikeable, the writing was that bad, or Tom Atkins didn’t understand the role or was miscast.
But there is plenty of good in this. The whole clockwork people concept was rather brilliant and added a nice twist to the mystery, and I really liked that it was the lady doctor who figured that out. I rather wish they would have explored that more. The movie has very lovely gore effects, is full of suspense and has a creepy atmosphere. I could even suspend my disbelief and roll with the whole Stonehenge subplot. I applaud the entire idea of using materialism, consumerism, and commercials as vehicle to destroy society as we know it.
I think that this would have been a really solid 30 -45 minute short film had they cut the entire back story of Dr. Challis and just made him a single doctor trying to help out a pretty lady who lost her father.
I am so not the target audience for this movie. Although I recognize its potential, it just fell short, mostly because there were no characters who were worth connecting with. I would love to be convinced otherwise.