In the Year of the Scavenger, the Season of the Witch.
We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in this one, so if you want to know full plot breakdowns and cast and crew on these films, I will have IMDB links at the bottom of the page. These are my opinions on a series of films that I love so keep that in mind. I might be fairly harsh to a few of them but I still prefer to watch any of these movies more than just about anything else that comes out. Except for Halloween: Reserection. It straight up sucks fo reals.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Imagine if you will dear readers that Warner Brothers decided to make a Batman movie that didn’t have Batman in it. Instead, they put out a film about a totally unrelated superhero and stamped the Batman logo on it. This might give you a good idea of how a lot of people feel about Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
After Halloween II pretty much closed the story on Michael Myers, Dr. Loomis and Laurie Strode, John Carpenter had the great (no, I’m not being facetious) idea to make the Halloween series into an anthology. Think The Twilight Zone for movies. The films would keep the Halloween title and still be set on the holiday, but feature new characters and themes every time.Surprisingly, the producers agreed to this and set about the production of Season of the Witch. Tommy Lee Wallace was brought in to direct with Nigel Keale writing. Tom Atkins was cast in the starring role along with Stacey Nelkin and Dan O’Herlihy.
Season of the Witch does more than divide fans of the Halloween series; it actively pisses a lot of them off. The plot revolves around the Silver Shamrock toy company and their plot to kill a large amount of children on Halloween night by playing a song that melts the masks that Silver Shamrock produces. This mask melting also involves the melting of the children’s faces and the unleashing of snakes, bugs, lizards etc. from the remains of the mask. There are also androids, computer chips made from frickin’ Stonehenge, and the Gaelic festival of Samhain. Basically, this might be the most awesome movie ever made.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch is such a huge misstep that it somehow transcends what should be its own inadequacies, and ends up being easily the best of all the Halloween sequels. It makes me wish that they had gone directly from the original Halloween to this so that maybe, just maybe, we would have five or six more movies just as insane as Season of the Witch. The fact that it doesn’t have anything to do with the first two only makes it that much better. It is a movie that would never have gotten made had it not had the Halloween moniker attached, but thanks to this, it got a decent sized budget and the filmmaker were able to get an absolutely gonzo script made.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch is in a class by itself. It’s a horror classic in its own right and if you’ve never watched it then you need to check it out. If you have seen it before, then watch it again. It’s a movie that gets better and crazier with every viewing. And if you’re into books and shit, there’s a novelization of it too.
Halloween 4 and 5
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is the low point of the series up to this point. After the muted/hostile reaction to Season of the Witch, it was time to bring Michael Myers back, and what a terrible idea it was. Halloween 4 almost reads as a parody of itself at this point in time. It has all the trappings of a bad slasher movie i.e. no explanation as to why the killer can’t be stopped, seemingly being able to teleport from one place to the next.
Donald Pleasance returns as Dr. Loomis, which is always welcome, and Danielle Harris plays Myer’s niece Jamie Loyd. The movie’s plot is almost too stupid to describe. All you really need to know is Dr. Loomis and Michael Myers survived the un-survivable explosion at the end of Halloween II. It is ten years later and Michael, who has been in a coma since the explosion, conveniently awakens in an ambulance while he is being moved from the sanatorium, the day before Halloween. You can obviously see where this is going.
Halloween 4 is just straight up dumb. There is no logic involved, the plot is basically a slight retread of Halloween II, and it introduces plot points that I really don’t think anyone thought through. The screenplay is listed as being written by Alan B. McElroy but the screen story is attributed to four writers (McElroy, Danny Lipsius, Larry Rattner, and Benjamin Ruffner) and it feels like none of the four of them were on the same wave length.
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers is better than Halloween 4 in the way a filling is better than a root canal; it moves a little faster and isn’t quite as painful, but make no mistake, it still sucks. Halloween 5 also has the distinction of having the worst Michael Myers mask of all the movies. I never really understood why the mask changed in the first place but the one used in this one is almost incomprehensibly stupid looking. It’s fat, has greaser hair, and looks slightly Asian. So the Michael Myers in this movie looks kind of like a fat Asian greaser.
The movie also features a dumber set-up than Halloween 4, and that is an almost impossible feat. At the end 4, the audience is led to believe that Michael Myers died after being shot into a big ass hole (not to be confused with a big asshole), but at the beginning of 5 we see that he actually escaped into the conveniently located river that I’m pretty sure wasn’t there before. He floats downstream in a different mask than he was shot wearing, and is saved by a river hobo (a robo?) who nurses him back to health for an entire frickin’ year! And how does Michael Myers thank the river hobo? By killing him on, you guessed it, Halloween!
After this incredibly dumb set-up, the movie really gets going into looney ville. Much like the Friday the 13th with Corey Feldman (Part 5 maybe), this movie has Jamie seeing and feeling Michael Myers. You see, at the end of the last movie they set it up like Jamie was going to be a killer like Michael, but she’s better-ish now. Everyone has forgiven her for trying to, and almost, killing her foster mother, but Doctor Loomis is keeping a close eye on her. There is also a shadow man who is seen walking a lot throughout the movie and who even busts Michael out of jail at the end. Did I mention this one is only slightly better than 4?
Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers-Producer’s Cut
One of the big selling points of the Anchor Bay box-set is the first official release of the Producer’s cut of Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. It has been available on bootleg and for download for many years but this is the first high quality release of it. Halloween 6 in its regular form is okay, quality wise about the same level as Halloween II. The Producer’s cut, however, puts it at the top of the sequel heap at this point (with the exception of Season of the Witch).
This version of Halloween 6 pulls all the off-handed stuff from 4 and 5 (man in black, weird tattoos, mind controlled kids) and actually ties it all together, while adding whole other angles in. Now this movie (in all its forms) is hated by a lot of people for making Michael Myers into a puppet of the Thorn cult, but it’s a more unique and interesting back-story than the Rob Zombie cookie cutter serial killer ret-con a decade later. In all reality Michael Myers should have never been explained, but if you have to do it, Halloween 6 at least does it in an interesting way that is unusual in the slasher genre.
The film features Donald Pleasance’s last performance as Dr. Loomis (and his last screen role altogether), Paul Rudd as a returning to the series Tommy Boyle, and Marianne Hagan as Strode family member Kara. The film was written by Daniel Farrands and directed by Joe Chappelle. I’m not going to give too much away about this version since it differs quite a bit from the studio version but trust me, it is well worth searching out.
Jamie Lee Curtis returns to Haddonfield in Halloween: H2O and Busta Rhymes makes all the other Halloweens seem like The Godfather in Halloween: Reserection. It should be a whole lot of fun, or something resembling it at least.
Until next time…