Wednesday, June 10, 2009

'Season of the Witch' isn't all bad

Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982)
Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O'Herlihy and Ralph Strait
Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

After one of his patients is murdered, Dr. Challis (Atkins) teams with the victim's daughter (Nelkin) to solve the mystery surrounding his death. In the process, they uncover a monstrous scheme that could cost the lives of millions.

"Halloween 3: Season of the Witch" is a quirkly sci-fi/horror flick with an undeservedly bad reputation that stems from the fact that its producers--including series originator John Carpenter--had a complete different direction in mind for the Halloween series than the general public expected. After two films featuring the masked killer Michael Meyers, the public had figured on getting more of the same instead of this strange little outing.

The film's bad reputation isn't entirely undeserved, however. While the notion of modern-day witches/druids/whatever-the-hell-weirdo-pagans using mass-media and American consumer culture to conduct a human sacrificial rite on a scale never before known is an intriguing one, the its execution in the film wasn't thought all the way through. Wouldn't a simple thing like time zones thwart the Evil Masterplan? Or does the Big Giveaway happen at 9pm on the West Coast and Midnight on the East Coast? That's not really clear in the film. (The film also suffers from featuring one of the most useless and unbelievable romantic subplots ever featured in any film, anywhere. I don't usually make absolute statements like that, but I am certain that it's the case here.

Those weaknesses aside, the film is otherwise a fun, fast-paced, off-center sci-fi thriller with horror overtones. It may not challenge the intellect, but it will certainly entertain you. I'm certain this film would be held in much highter stead if it it hadn't been released under the Halloween banner. (Plus, any film that features beings who are literally "corporate drones" deserves more respect than "Season of the Witch" gets!)

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