It rarely happens that I have two days in a row off from work, so I took advantage of it and dusted off some old DVDs to get in the upcoming Halloween spirit. One of the movies I watched was John Carpenter and Debra Hill’s 1978 classic, Halloween, the one with a young Jamie Lee Curtis playing babysitter Laurie Strode, and Donald Pleasence playing Dr. Sam Loomis, Michael Myers’ psychiatrist.
I saw the movie in the theater and loved it. Until then, Psycho was my favorite scary movie, followed by The Birds and Carrie, respectively.
After I watched Halloween, I watched its sequel, 1981’s Halloween II, which, after great consideration, led to watching Halloween III: Season of the Witch, the one without Michael Myers, the one so many of my friends and I disliked when Universal Pictures released it in 1982. They disliked it because it omitted the Michael Myers storyline. I disliked it because of a faulty script. But after all these years, I gave it a second chance and watched it again. And again I felt bad that the movie could not have had better script supervision.
This was Carpenter and Hill’s last Halloween movie and it came with a twisted and morbid plot: The owner/CEO of a novelty toy company, Conal Cochran (played by Dan O’Herlihy), wants to kill children all over the United States on Halloween by using witchcraft and computer chips in the Halloween masks the company makes.
Why does Cochran want to kill children? Because it is the ultimate trick he can play on kids.
Why does he hate kids so much? The movie never reveals the answer. If it’s our first viewing, we wonder if the protagonist, Dr. Dan Challis (played by Tom Atkins), will stop this madman and save the kids. Spoiler: We never find out. The movie ends with a cliffhanger.
My biggest problem with the movie is the ticking clock thrown in to add suspense. During the days leading up to Halloween, TV commercials play across the country and tell children to wear their masks during a special commercial, which will air at 9pm on Halloween. That is when Cochran plans to activate the killer masks and his sinister plot. It’s up to Dr. Dan to stop it from happening.
Problem: Dr. Dan is in California and he is racing against a clock—a clock that reads 8pm and later during the movie’s final chapters.
Did no one among the movie’s production crew realize that if it is 8pm in California, then 9pm has already hit the three other time zones in the U.S.?
And that is the main reason why Halloween III is a disappointment for me to watch.
But don’t feel too bad for me. There are plenty of better movies to watch. And you can bet I will view the first Halloween movie again before October ends. And I will enjoy it all over again, even though some of my friends are still disappointed that there are no buckets of blood in it.