By Jerome Reuter
John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher film Halloween is quintessential viewing for any horror fan. As far as film franchises go, it’s one of the most enduring and lucrative. It’s seen endless sequels, and villain Michael Myers is one of the trademark figures of the American slasher craze. It’s the third film of the series, 1982’s Halloween III:Season Of The Witch however, that has many fans of the genre split down the middle.
It seems people either like it as a separate product in the franchise. or they totally hate it for having almost nothing to do with the previous 2 installments. As for me, I’m going to be completely honest; It’s my favorite film of the series. It’s an original idea, and I think a lot of fans overlook all this film has to offer.
The biggest complaint from most people is the absence of Michael Myers. I honestly feel this is a cheap cop out. A huge trend with the slasher craze of the 80’s is the killer being in every installment, somehow returning to life in time for the next sequel. Instead of Myers, we have Conol Cochran, played by veteran Irish stage actor Dan O’Herlihy. His acting credentials even included and Orson Welles’ production of MacBeth. In all honesty, I feel he makes the better villain. An old Irishman bent to murder children on Halloween night, is a bit more sinister than a slow moving serial killer wearing a William Shatner mask.
It also has to be remembered, that this was the directorial debut of Tommy Lee Wallace. It was his first film that he would write and direct. Considering this was his first attempt at a franchise, that was rapidly taking off in terms of popularity, I feel he did an amazing job. Much better than Rob Zombie could ever do. (Thats right, I went there)
One element I should address, is a psychological. Everyone’s seen pretty entitled teenagers hacked away my Freddy and Jason. But when we see violence inflicted upon small children, It somewhat resonates with us. We think of small children as being innocent, and naive. A lot of us have fond memories of trick-or-treating on Halloween night when we were younger. Seeing a child devoured by vermin from the confines of a mask, leaves a mark on the viewing audience. Also, the fact the in the end there is no definite resolution. We’re left to wonder just how many children meet their fate as that happy little jingle plays on. Sometimes, the best ending is an unanswered one.
Where the sequels kept rehashing recycled ideas, this one took things in a new direction. It’s the best of the series, because of its originality, and its ability to stand out among the rest.
And finally, for the record–I’d work for Silver Shamrock.