Halloween fans whooped with collective joy when the news that Jamie Lee Curtis would return to the series to reprise her role of Laurie Strode for October 2020’s Halloween Kills. Excitement continued when it was announced she would return alongside former child actress turned Real Housewife Kyle Richards who played Curtis’s character’s babysitting charge, Charles Cyphers who played Sheriff Leigh Brackett and Nancy Stephens who played nurse Marion Chambers. The film is widely billed as Curtis’s showdown with Michael Myers, more than twenty years since their last meeting in 1998’s Halloween H20 (excluding the start of Halloween Resurrection, where Laurie Strode was killed…). The Halloween franchise has a habit of overlooking certain installments, but time tells us that we should go back and look at Halloween III: Season of the Witch, because it was actually quite good.
Halloween has attracted audiences for the past forty years and will go down in film history as crafting the slasher as we know it. It has also been credited with the surviving heroine of the film becoming the horror staple of the ‘final girl’, as Carol Clover coined. Indeed, not only does each film in the franchise gain popularity, including the prequels and non-canonical films, but the themes have cemented themselves into pop culture. As Regal Wins Casino shows, there is even a slot game themed around Halloween, which is played year-round to show just how prolific the series and Michael Myers is. But, what about the film that Michael Myers skipped, Halloween 3? Originally, the series was supposed to be an anthology – much like American Horror Story – where each year a new Halloween film would introduce a new Halloween threat. But Michael Myers proved so popular in his first two outings that the idea floundered with Season of the Witch.
1982’s Season of the Witch featured a doctor looking into a series of deaths linked to the Silver Shamrock Novelties company and focused on the magic of Stonehenge and other Celtic tales rather than in-the-flesh slashers. The plot fares up well, while the acting and tension of the film also stand the test of time. But, people accustomed to the slasher genre won’t give it the time of day. Had Season of the Witch been the first Halloween anthology film and Michael Myers arrived next, he would likely have still stolen the spotlight. But this would also have allowed us to enjoy Season of the Witch.
When watched for what it is – Season of the Witch – it is a clever and poignant horror flick. When watched as a sequel to Halloween and Halloween II, it is like watching Nightmare on Elm Street without Freddy or Paramount Pictures‘ Friday the 13th without Jason. Interestingly, the first Friday the 13th didn’t feature Jason (mostly), but his mother. Had this element been introduced later on, it would likely have overlooked in that franchise too.
Season of the Witch has rightfully earned its cult status over the years. It might not have had the infamous mask of Michael Myers, but it did have several other masks that provided the catchiest Halloween-related song – the creepy Silver Shamrock Halloween countdown.