drawing near, and all across America, children are getting ready... for
what could be their last Halloween. When a crazed man wanders into
Dr. Dan Chaliss' hospital, clutching a Halloween mask and raving about
people trying to kill him, Dan assumes the guy is nuts. But then
the man is gruesomely murdered and turned to a mysterious ash. With
the man's daughter, Ellie, Dan decides to investigate the man's last days.
The trail takes them to the spooky, remote town of Santa Mira, home of
the Silver Shamrock Novelties factory.
"You don't really
know much about Halloween. You thought no further than the strange custom of
having your children wear masks and go out begging for
- Conal Cochran
Almost universally hated for being such a digression from the much known
and loved Halloween movies, Halloween III comes along almost
like John Carpenter and Debra Hill, who produced it, are trying to sneak
up on audiences and show them something they weren't expecting. While it's
true that it has absolutely nothing to do with the two Michael Meyers slashers
that came before it other than the fact that we see commercials for the
original Halloween film on TV sets in this movie a couple times,
it's not true that this is one of the worst horror films ever made, as
I've heard it called very many times.
I first saw this movie in 1998, when I was in junior high school, and the
two things that I remember were bugs crawling out of the masks while they
were on peoples' heads and that god-awful music they played during the
Silver Shamrock commercials. So when I watched it again tonight I tried
to look at it as a separate film from the other Halloween movies,
because I think that it's association with them is a large part of why
so many people hate it. In a horror series that at the time of this writing
has spawned seven sequels, including this one, it's the one movie that
simply doesn't belong. Unfortunately, even as a separate film, Halloween
III doesn't have much going for it.
Clearly, there was enough stock put into the disturbing nature of the crime
involved, since we are not given a reason for its existence. An elderly
toy maker has developed a scheme to sell masks rigged with secret electronic
devices, then on Halloween night at 9pm stage a Big Giveaway on TV, at
which point he will broadcast a special commercial I supposed reminiscent
of those commercials in Japan that are supposed to give you seizures. This
version will activate the electronic devices lodged in the masks and cause
them to somehow turn kids heads into piles of creepy crawlies.
What is the purpose behind this scheme? What does this guy hope to achieve?
And what the hell does Stonehenge have to do with anything? His hordes
of robotic assistants is at least explainable by his need for secrecy given
what he's really up to in that factory (and I imagine they have something
to do with his remarkable ability to essentially hold an entire town hostage
without even a single person leaving and complaining to authorities.
Early in the film, a guy runs frantically into a gas station asking for
help and is brought to a hospital to receive medical attention. Once there,
a well-dressed gentleman walks calmly into his hospital room and pulls
his skull apart, then just as calmly walks outside, gets into his car,
douses himself with gasoline and promptly sets himself on fire. The subsequent
mess is left to the hospital staff to clean up, as the car is left smoldering
in the parking lot the next day without an inch of police tape around it
and a lab technician is left to pore through the ashes. What is truly funny
is the length of time that this technician spends sifting through these
ashes before she realizes that they are nothing but car parts, a stupendous
explosion of idiocy that she describes as a 'colossal boo-boo.'
The doctor working at the hospital takes it upon himself to do a little
investigating into the situation, traveling to the town that houses the
Silver Shamrock factory, which of course sports an Irish caricature of
a man presiding over the local hotel. I have to admit that I thought that
the 'misfire' scene was pretty impressive, and is one of at least a few
scenes that tend to argue that this movie deserved a title that would not
have cast it in an eternal shadow.
For the first thirty minutes or so, the movie is very impressive. The opening
shot of the man running as fast as he can out of a calm night is especially
unsettling, as is that entire chase between him and his robotic pursuers,
whom we know nothing about at the time. But the more we learn about what's
really going on, the less believable the movie becomes, until it hits rock
bottom with Conal Cochran, the evil toymaker, gleefully giving Challis,
the investigating doctor, a tour of his underground facility and a detailed
description of his wicked plans, coming dangerously close to a Scooby-Doo ending.
I really don't think that the movie is as bad as so many people seem to
think, it's just too bad that it starts out so well but by the end the
last attacks of the final un-killable robot are simply tiresome. By the
end, I was just waiting for it to end, but at the beginning I found it
very interesting. I think that these two things balance themselves out
in terms of the quality of the movie, and then the association with the
other two previous Halloween films is just another nail in this
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original writer of the story was Nigel Kneale but he sued the producers
to take his name off the movie after seeing how violent it was.
music playing on the radio when Marge Guttman notices the tag on the floor
was also played in John Carpenter's The Fog.
- A milk factory was used for the setting of the Silver Shamrock
Michael Myers died in Halloween II, the plan by John Carpenter was to make
a new "Halloween" movie each year, each telling a different Halloween
related story. After this movie failed at the box office, the film-makers
decided to bring Michael back to life for future sequels.
- The tagline "The Night Nobody Came Home" is also a play
on the original Halloween movie's tagline, "The Night HE Came Home."
- Michael Myers does appear briefly in this film, on a television
advertising the original "Halloween". It comes near the beginning
when Dr. Challis is drinking in the bar.
- When Challis fills in the register at the motel office, he scans
the list of names for evidence of Ellie's father's stay. All of the other
names on the list are the names of the crew.