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35 Years of Silver Shamrock: 5 Reasons You Should Stop Giving ‘Halloween III’ All the Grief

35 Years of Silver Shamrock: 5 Reasons You Should Stop Giving ‘Halloween III’ All the Grief

It was 35 years ago today (October 22, 1982) that Halloween III: Season of the Witch was released, a film that most fans and critics alike initially dismissed as an atrocity, but one that is finally getting the amount of love and admiration it rightfully deserves. It’s taken quite some time and endless arguments with fellow friends and family members on my end, but goddammit if it ain’t a beautiful thing when they finally see the bigger picture here… Halloween III: Season of the Witch isn’t just a Halloween film with the absence of Michael Myers, but actually a great stand-alone movie completely removed from the horror of Haddonfield.


During my adolescent years and well into my twenties I encountered a seething hatred for the unconventional third film in the Halloween franchise anytime it was brought up in conversation. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I really studied the film for which I now adore. There are still many people who are stubbornly unwilling to even give this movie a chance, always exclaiming, “It has nothing to do with Michael Myers.” I’ve heard it so many times that it’s prompted me to give you five damn good reasons to stop giving it so much grief.

For those that may not be hip to it, John Carpenter intended for the Halloween sequels to continue as an anthology series. After enduring bullet wounds, blown-out eyeballs, and then being fully engulfed in flames like a Halloween yule log, Michael was dead at the end of Halloween II. It was a fitting finale to the Haddonfield Halloweenie and was fully expected to stay that way. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the later sequels just as much as the next Halloween aficionado, but I always wonder what could have been had the franchise stayed the alternate course throughout the years.

Anyway, here are five reasons why Halloween III totally rules.


5. The Murderous Magic Pumpkin

The Silver Shamrock commercial will have you dancing an Irish Halloween jig of glee. It has become a Halloween anthem for the month of October as we count down the days until the big giveaway of tricks or treats. However, the possibly seizure-inducing strobe light pumpkin is not just a jingle that will run around like a cracked-out hamster on a wheel for 72 hours, but a forewarning of the doom, and the messenger of death that lies ahead on Halloween night for literally millions watching it. The Magic Pumpkin is a murderous bastard, guys. Not just an annoying flashing jack-o-lantern, but an underrated horror icon.


4. That Beautiful John Carpenter/Alan Howarth Score

I realize this is a bold statement, but the score to Halloween III is one of the greatest horror movie soundtracks ever produced. It’s brilliantly synthesized tone of impending terror and haunting sounds set a perfect background for a 1980’s Halloween film. (The duo of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth also paired for both Halloween II and Big Trouble in Little China‘s score.) If you can’t get on board with the movie itself, the soundtrack on its own is a masterful piece of composed horror art that will put any Halloween Scrooge in the mood for some trick or treating.


3. That Brutal Death Scene… With a Kid!

Very few horror movies have the balls to kill off a child. The kill is so unique and brutally done, and also sets the stage for the grand finale: Halloween III’s main target is the children and this is the fate for ALL OF THEM. That’s pretty gnarly.


2. Tom Atkins: The Man, the Myth, the Mustache

I don’t really think I need to persuade the lot of you that Tom Atkins is a goddamn national treasure to the horror community. With other films like Creepshow, Night of the Creeps, and The Fog, I really feel like he shines his brightest in Season of the Witch. In the film, he plays a booze-lovin’ doctor that takes on Cochran and his army of android henchmen with his bare manly hands. I know that sounds cheesy as hell, but hey, if anyone can save the world from a Pagan madman, it’s gotta be Sir Tom of Atkins, am I right? So, grab a Miller High Life and watch Tom Atkins save the world, won’t ‘cha?


Conal Cochran: The Most Underrated Horror Villain of All Time

I don’t use the word “underrated” lightly, however, I feel it’s quite appropriate here. Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), the proprietor of Silver Shamrock Novelties and sworn allegiance to the dark arts of Witchcraft make him for a dangerous enemy to have indeed; especially if you’re a kid. Cochran, presumably has way more kills under his belt than not only his film predecessor Myers, but the holy trinity of slashers themselves – Freddy, Jason, and Michael. And think about this: The ending is open-ended and leaves us to speculate whether the final commercial ran its full course. If it did, then Cochran would have succeeded in committing mass genocide of children across the United States.

What a dick, eh?

Cochran, who uses his success of his company to coordinate the largest Samhain sacrifice to appease the Celtic Gods on the glorious night of Halloween, is as evil and terrifying as they come. As if his ominous staredowns weren’t creepy enough, his monologue alone is chilling to the bone (the thrill and absolute madness in his voice sells it completely). Cochran is hardcore. I’ll give you all the credit you twisted bastard…


I hope these ramblings have persuaded you to take another look at Halloween III on its 35th anniversary.

Oh, and that whole “Michael Myers isn’t in it” thing? He’s totally in it…. same mannerisms and all, just without the mask, and in the form of an android.

Dick Warlock just wants to hand out throat hugs?



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COMMENTS

69 Comments
  • Are people still pretending H3 was a bad movie?

    • Randy Moses

      Nope!
      H3 has been embraced by horror fans for about…
      hmmm… a few decades now?

      • MODOK

        I’d say it’s a lot more recent than that, probably coinciding with the advent of YouTube. I only saw it in the last few years because growing up, I remember hearing that it was awful.

        It was held in the same low regard as Friday the 13th Part V because neither movie even featured its famous killer. And like F13 V, Halloween III’s reputation as an outrageously failed experiment was cemented when the series returned to its roots in the next sequel.

        The renewed interest in Halloween III came when some of the now-famous clips of the movie started surfacing on YouTube. That sparked people’s curiosity and encouraged them to seek it out and judge it for themselves. The same exact thing happened with Exorcist III. It was basically forgotten until the famous jump-scare was put up on YouTube.

        • The difference between Friday the 13th: A New Beginning and Halloween III: Season of the Witch is that A New Beginning wasn’t good (and no, the lack of Jason wasn’t the main problem). It was just bad; it wanted to relaunch and reinvigorate the franchise after The Final Chapter, but was utterly clueless as to which direction it should go. Instead, it opted to just remake the original, only dumber. I think Jason Lives did a great job at course correction, even if Jason Takes Manhattan killed it again shortly after.

          It was probably more comparable to Saw IV than Halloween III.

          • MODOK

            I don’t disagree, but I’m not actually comparing them, just using F13 as an example of another disliked sequel from the same time period. My point was that up until a few years ago, even if you had never seen Halloween III you had probably at least heard it was terrible and should avoid it.

            In fact, although people seem to only speak well of it these days it’s still sporting a dreadful 4.7 on IMDB. Obviously at least some of those ratings pre-date the YouTube renaissance, but it does show that even today, it’s not quite as beloved as us horror-hounds may think.

          • Yeah, it also has a surprisingly low userscore on RT. A lot of the user reviews highlighted the lack of Michael Myers. Still, I do hope more people are willing to ignore the Halloween III title and give it another shot as the popularity grows. Then again, I’m somewhat grateful that it’s called Halloween because it might have otherwise fallen into obscurity.

        • J Jett

          i actually love F13 part 5! lol. it’s the last F13 film that actually had that tone/vibe/griminess (in a good way!) that the first 4 films had.

          • I understand your problem with zombie Jason, but I honestly thought Part VI and Part VII were faithful to the tone/feel of the original Friday the 13th films. For me, the franchise didn’t start its downward spiral until 1989 with Jason Takes Manhattan. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 are the best for me.

      • Good. I’m really tired of being on the opposite side of everyone else, but H3 is my number two out of the whole franchise.

    • Eh. Most of the complaints that I am seeing are still about the lack of Michael Myers. The people that have moved past that seem to have enjoyed it, from what I’ve observed.

  • The_Gentleman

    Patti, I like you articles but you’re incorrect on this film and H4. Most horror fans love these goofy, fun and flawed films. Maybe you’re just talking to the wrong people. I dunno. Critics think they suck but who cares? The fans love them. That’s all that matters.Halloween is my favorite film of all-time, and while I think all of the sequels and remakes are not really “good” movies I have affection for each of them in one way or the other.That being said, I like your writing. It’s spirited and dynamic. Keep up the good work.

    • jasonlives1986

      Makes you wonder how close she is with community?

      I stopped reading her article yesterday literally after the first sentence when she made claim that she would basically receive shit for calling h4 good.

      H4 is literally in everyone’s top 3. In a lot of people’s top 2

  • Jay Bennett

    Dont think anyones really giving halloween 3 grief anymore

    • Saturn

      It’s finally found it’s way home.

  • I’m glad H3 has the respect it deserves now. I’ve always hated that it’s ‘the one without Michael Myers’. When you ignore Myers, H3 is a classic horror movie with a very unique premise and genuinely unsettling. I’ve never been much of a Myers fan.

  • Kyle Ord

    Hated it as a kid

    But now as an adult I appreciate it for what it is

  • Jay

    Hated it as a kid also. Did not watch again until Scream Factory Blu Ray came out and LOVE it now!! Such a great movie

  • Munchie Strikes Back

    Including the H4 post, these articles are quite a bit behind the curve. Agree with what everybody is saying below me, except for the people who hated it as a kid. I loved it the first time I saw it, 11 years old.

  • Munchie Strikes Back

    Also, wow. How exactly is it a “bold statement” that the score of this movie is one of the best horror scores ever? I never even realized there was a question about that. And, in my opinion, it’s actually Carpenter’s best work.

  • Saturn

    Actually, Michael Myers is in it…….

    Don’t forget the that a trailer for Halloween is shown on tv at one point!!!!!!

    I’ve always loved Halloween 3 – from the very first time I saw it back around 1985/1986 to just the other day when I watched it for probably the 50th (at least) time over the years.
    To me it’s the 2nd best of the entire franchise – and sometimes I think that perhaps I prefer it to the original Halloween, but something stops me from claiming it as the best of them all.

    I’d love a direct sequel if I’m honest, set years later, after the deaths of millions of kids in the US – when Halloween is started to be celebrated once more……
    Perhaps this time around though the signal isn’t sent to kill the kids – but to turn them into killing machines who attempt to wipe out the adult (Christian/Muslim/Jewish et al) population of the US, who then will continue to follow “the old ways”

    • They actually tried to connect Halloween III with the series in Halloween 6. In Halloween III, Cochran says that he has a meeting with Mrs. Blankenship. In Halloween 6, Mrs. Blankenship is introduced as a member of the Cult of Thorn.

      • Woah! Didn’t know this!

        • Yeah, it’s a subtle connection. It would have been cool if Halloween 6 featured more connections between the Cult of Thorn and the Season of the Witch cult. If you think about it, it doesn’t make sense that the original Halloween was played on a TV in Halloween III (implying a different universe), but I’m not complaining.

          • Nicolas Caiveau

            Not necessarily, in universe the events of the first 2 movies could have been turned in to a movie, by John Carpenter !

      • Nicolas Caiveau

        I didn’t know that 😮 But that as always my theory to tie it to the other movies. I considered him a rogue Thorn cult member.

  • It’s a great movie when you forget when you forget that Halloween III is in the title. As Season of the Witch, it doesn’t disappoint.

    • Mr. Meeseeks

      There was already a Season Of The Witch.

  • drew
  • The Night King

    At the time, to those of us who saw those films in theaters, a Halloween movie without Michael Myers was a slap to the face. There was no internet back then to tell you this before hand so you sat in the theater confused and wondering what the hell was going on. Of course we felt gypped. In the years since, the film is appreciated for what it is. And Tom Atkins lives a few miles down the road from me so I totally have got that bit of coolness going for me.

    • Chris

      Never noticed in the tv trailers that there was no Michael Myers and a very different story?!

      • To be fair, film trailers usually showed a lot less back then. The trailer for this film was probably assumed to be ambiguous.

        • Chris

          That is true haha. Forgot about that. Now you know everything before seeing the movie.

      • The Night King

        The tv trailer for Halloween 3 was a slow pan in on the witches face until a spider came out of her mouth. Most tv trailers back then only were about 20 seconds long.

      • DukeStKing

        Exactly! I remember seeing the trailer in theatres. I knew from the get Michael Myers wasn’t involved. That it was a totally different gig. And I loved it way back then. I even went out and bought a Jack-o -lantern mask that same year. With the silver shamrock emblem glued on the back!

      • diapers

        Negative. Went in cold, was very surprised this was a sequel in name only. There was even a mini-riot in the theater once it became obvious. I was 13 at the time, but I don’t remember TV trailers being nearly the component that they are now.

  • I Am Colossus

    This movies boring, they should’ve released as a direct sequel to the 1st and skipped the second altogether….it’s not even the best movie of 82 let alone today

    • They are skipping the second movie and making a direct sequel to the original… In 2018. You’re welcome.

      • I Am Colossus

        Finally

    • Grim Citizen

      It is not boring. I don’t get how people don’t think this movie is creepy. The automatons alone are scary to me, but adding the masks that make snakes and other creepy crawlies come out of your mouth always gets me. Freaks the hell out of me. Not every movie needs to be about gore, blood and guts.

      • I Am Colossus

        Good point, a better way to put it is, it hooks me in the same way everytime. The film is very well made visually and opens incredibly scary, like genuinely scary. But man that second /middle to 3rd act….the movie really just puts the brakes on…the ending still hits home like when I was a kid (shamrock jungle still makes me queezy at the end) but the pay off isn’t to my satisfaction….idk…I think if they would’ve had a less cartoon reason behind the plot, maybe work in a plot device that said that’s WHY Myers was a dead automaton type character…I could’ve got on board

  • RJ MacReady

    I’ve always loved H3. The feel/vibe, the soundtrack, cast etc. Watch it every Halloween season.

  • gjk2012 .

    I didn’t think much of H3 when I first saw it but with repetitive views it is really good.

  • Will Coors

    I truly think this movie would of been a hit if it didn’t have the “Halloween” title. It’s a great horror flick, terrible “sequel”. I think both Halloween and Friday the 13th could of been anthology movies IF the second sequel didn’t keep the story of the first going. Once we saw/heard the continuation off the first movie, we only grew deeper into that story and only wanted more of that. Still want more of it too!!!

    • Noah Holt

      Considering the trends in horror at the time of its release and how this film in no way fit within those, I couldn’t disagree with you more regarding how well this film would have been received without the “Halloween” banner. This film would have likely gone unnoticed upon release if it had not been able to ride the coat-tales of an already established and successful franchise.

  • Carl Chrystan

    It would have been amazing to have had a completely original standalone film,once a year celebrating Halloween, instead of retreads. But the studios opted for the same. Big shame.

    • Gower Cox

      The original plan was for each Halloween to be a different story. The fans got mad that Myers wasn’t in 3 so they had to go back to the Myers format for the fans to watch them.

      • Mr. Meeseeks

        As always fans are idiots.

  • TheTwoJakes

    Just thought I would add Maniac Cop as one of Atkins best roles. I just love him and it waa great to see him in My Bloody Valentine 3D. Tom Atkins is a womanizing player in Halloween 3 and is one of the best flawed heros of any horror movie and would probably be brought up on multiple sexual harassment charges nowadays.

  • xcalibrate ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    I’m with you, Patti. When Season of the Witch came out, it was pretty much despised by all my horror buddies. Sheesh, it was so disliked that the studio tagged 4 as ‘the return of Michael Myers’ to try encourage fans back to see it.

    Personally I would have rather the anthology route have continued than truth be given to the Law of diminishing returns. Carpenter was perfectly correct.

  • J Jett

    i may be mistaken but i think H3 is for the most part considered a good/decent film. it may get some “grief” for not actually being a Michael Myers HALLOWEEN film but that’s reasonable. i admit when i went to go see the film in theaters (during it’s original theatrical release….yes, i’m old. LOL) and realized Myers and/or Laurie Strode was not in the film and that it basically had nothing to do with H 1 & 2 i was pissed but over the years i’ve come to (kind of) appreciate the film as it’s own thing.

    • Mr. Meeseeks

      Did you not see the Trailer?

  • jasonlives1986

    I just think part 4 is well respected in the series and it’s an off based opinion to think otherwise.

    My opinion of course

  • J Jett

    Patti anyone calling you names for simply having an opinion is unacceptable. i’m sorry that’s happened to you. we’re all horror movie fans and we should all stick together! 🙂

  • Creepshow

    2 years from now, Halloween lll will still be ranked higher than Halloween: McBride.

  • Rake

    I always loved the idea of the Halloween franchise being made up of different halloween stories and not being focused on Myers. After Halloween 1 I don’t want to know what happened or caused Myers, it’s just more disturbing to think that he occurred like a freight train of nature that we do not understand and then disappeared with no explanation. But Season of the Witch was a crappy film. If they had a stronger followup people might have followed the franchise into a different direction but that film was just generic crap.

    • Call it crap if you really must, but generic? In what way was Halloween III generic?

      • Noah Holt

        Yeah…”generic” implies that this film hit very common beats in horror. This film is quite unusual both for the time of its release and still today. Call it crap if you will. But I believe calling it “generic” is a misnomer.

  • pumkinheadfan VHS Forever!

    I was lucky enough to be an attendant of the Halloween 3 reunion(there were other Halloween guests, but the most where from SOTW) at Flashback a couple years ago. It was truly awesome to have; Tommy Lee Wallace, Allan Howarth, Dean Cundey,Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dick Warlock and Nancy Loomis all in one place! The panel was super cool having all these people involved talking about making the film and on top of all that Sean Clark(HHG) was moderating! Now I can’t say I seen this in the theater when it was first released or anything like that. I’ve always know that this wasn’t apart of the Meyers’ Halloween film series, but have always championed this film on it’s own merit.I will still defend it and show it to friends that haven’t seen it for many years to come.

  • Frank Gambino

    I like the idea of having each Halloween movie completely separate from the other. I just think Halloween 3 sucks. Not scary. Not entertaining.

  • Rez

    Halloween 3 is a great F**king movie….it has everything especially a tribute to the Halloween films.

  • AtkinsLight

    “Where do you wanna sleep, Mr. Chalis”?
    One of the quickest transitions into romance/love making I’ve ever seen in a script not labeled for porn. And it’s believable, because Tom Atkins is a damn stud.

  • Drool Bear

    In all honesty, if they just named it anything else, no one would have ever complained about it. I too remember when I was a kid and this came out and it had no Michael Meyers I was like WTF? But after dismissing the title, I found it to be one hell of a scary premise and movie.

  • Wes Draven

    I don’t think much of Halloween 3. True, people wouldn’t be so hateful would it had the film not been given the “Halloween” label, but, on the flip-side, I don’t think people would be talking about it at all if it didn’t have it. I simply don’t think it’s very noteworthy

  • I want to like it but it just doesn’t work for me nothing to do with Mikey not being in it just doesn’t work and as for the silver shamrock song f##k me it drives me insane

  • Nicolas Caiveau

    In my headcanon, I like to consider Cochran as rogue Thorn cult member. I also consider the little kid from Halloween 2 who ate razor blades to be a victim of Cochran.

  • Noah Holt

    I do enjoy this film quite a bit. And I have been a defender since I was a kid. But let me make another bold statement. Sure, if this film had not had the “Halloween” name it wouldn’t have received so much hate. However, without the “Halloween” name it would have likely gone nearly unnoticed and wouldn’t be remembered today in either a good or bad way.

  • Grim Citizen

    I love this movie and it still scares the bejebies out of me. Great article.

  • PAAAWWWNNNED

    I dink they need to make the Halloween 3 II.

  • El_Fez

    Man, all mutherfuckers who think Halloween III is weak must pay. That movie is goddamned awesome. I weep for the lack of Halloween anthology series spawned from this movies financial failure.

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