A Nightmare from Friday to Halloween - Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
The three most prominent American horror franchises (Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street) have influenced American cinema even beyond the horror genre. As of 2021, there are exactly 31 movies across all three franchises, and I am going to attempt to watch all of them, for this Halloween, one per day.
In theory, I am on board with Carpenter and Debra Hill’s idea that the Halloween films could be an anthology type series that just happened to take place around Halloween. The idea that the Halloween films are fictional films in this universe was nicely meta in a way that seems ahead of its time. On top of an interesting critique on capitalism and the rampant commercialization that children are exposed to, there’s a nicely Wicker Man-esque story when they go to Santa Mira, the home of the Silver Shamrock factory. I really wish Carpenter or some other really talented director had been at the helm of this potentially excellent movie. There is predictably good cinematography from Dean Cundey, a frequent collaborator of Carpenter’s. The image of the bugs and snakes emerging from a kid’s mask is still quite chilling and effective. But the pace of the film is sluggish. It does not do enough to elicit tension on a storytelling level and the performances are not memorable either. I do think most people dislike this film for the wrong reason (the lack of Michael Myers and the continuation of Laurie Strode’s story), but we got that with Halloween II and that was just uninspired and boring. I can see why this has become a bit of a cult hit, but Halloween III is ultimately being compared to other horror sequels, and, even in my brief sojourn so far into these franchises, that’s a pretty low bar to clear.