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          Halloween is 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 candy."
                    - 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 movie's coffin. 

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          - The 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. 

          - The 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 factory. 

          - After 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. 




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