Halloween III is far from the most beloved of its franchise, but it has gained quite a few new supporters in recent years. A lot of fans hate it for its lack of Michael Myers and for having a plot that is so far removed from the rest of the franchise, but a lot of people are coming around to the fact that it really works well on its own, as a separate entity from the rest of the series. Plus, it earns the Halloween title simply by being so entrenched in the holiday.
With that said, you might not think of it as an excellent choice to watch on St. Patrick’s Day, but it is. In being so tied to the Halloween, Season of the Witch is also tied to its Celtic history and to Irish culture as a whole. So it works as a healthy alternative if you don’t want to go for the full-blown ridiculousness that is the Leprechaun franchise.
Halloween III makes all of this clear from the very first time it plays the Silver Shamrock commercial, which we proceed to see at 5-10 minute intervals throughout the picture’s runtime. On the surface, the film is about consumerism and commercialism, about something once revered that has just become kind of tacky. The message could apply just as much to St. Patrick’s Day as it does to Halloween. Conal Cochran is kind of an old-school Bond villain, both in the sense that his ideas are convoluted and outlandish and in the fact that he explains his whole plan to the hero as soon as he has him tied up. Cochran is going to kill all of the children in the world using masks imbued with magical energy he stole from Stonehenge. But while he’s explaining all this, he begins to talk about the way Halloween used to be revered. It used to mean something, it used to be taken seriously and was once a deeply serious time of the year that signaled change, as respected as it was feared.
Of course, for Americans, St. Patricks’ Day is little more than an excuse to drink. And that brings us to the hero of our film, Dr. Dan Challis, for whom every scene of Halloween III is an excuse to drink. Challis—played by excellent genre vet Tom Atkins—is actually a pretty terrible doctor, when you step back and look at it, considering that when one of his patients gets killed he’s in the back sleeping off a hangover. But his guilt over this propels him to investigate the murder and also inspires him to sleep with the dead patient’s daughter.
Only an actor as great as Tom Atkins could actually make this neglectful father who abuses the medical profession a likable character, but he does. We just have fun with Challis’s boozing antics, and that makes him the perfect drinking buddy on St. Patrick’s Day.
These are all solid reasons to watch Halloween III on this of all days, but to be perfectly honest, it’s also just a great excuse. You don’t need a reason to watch Halloween III. In a perfect world, every day would be the perfect day to watch Halloween III, simply because more people need to see this movie. A lot of people have come around to it, but Season of the Witch fans are certainly not in the majority. I myself was victim to the “If it doesn’t have Michael Myers in it, what’s the point?” line of thinking for a very long time and it wasn’t really until I was in college that I started to allow myself to see the film for its own merits, which are plenty.
As much as I love Halloween II, you could tell how bored the whole crew became at times in just rehashing the original. With Season of the Witch, you feel that passion again. John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Dean Cundey and of course Tommy Lee Wallace; they all brought to Halloween III exactly the same amount of passion and creative spirit that they had brought to the original.
So if Leprechaun is not your deal and you’re looking to settle for a more refined cheese, I humbly present Halloween III: Season of the Witch as an alternative. If you’ve always been put off from seeing it because of its lack of Michael, now’s the time to give it a go. If you hated it the first time, why not give it another shot? It worked for me. Just sit yourself down in front of the TV, slip on your mask, and remember to tune in for the big giveaway.