Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Halloween III: Season of the Witch ★★★★½

There's a weird discrepancy between Halloween III's action/horror and its narrative bits- the chases feel like they've been directed by Carpenter, with their perfect framing and subtle pans (the opening shot), experiments with artificial light (again, parallel to Christine), stillness and silence as events grow more tense (rather than cutting quicker and getting louder), all edited hypnotically to the bass pulse of the music. The horror too (both in the way of violence and inference) predates and predicts the black hole anti-life anti-everything Apocalypse (not just apocalypse) of Prince of Darkness through the bodies of children (!), CCTV, television sets, and nondescript men in suits standing in doorways and on rooftops to maximise their presence through the sheer placement of their bodies in locations unexpected (we expect to see them empty) and regular (but why? They're just doorways!), watching everything but never turning their heads. On the other hand the parts with people talking and doing things are what the film's critics are thinking of when they describe it as 'typical low-budget 80s horror fare' which might ostensibly hold more truth per minute than the alternative ('Halloween III as masterpiece'), but a) that undermines Tommy Lee Wallace's expert Carpenter imitations, b) while Wallace's narrative sequencing leaves much to be desired, Dean Cundey dresses things in his best colour palettes and pulls tricks like shooting Harry Grimbridge's profile with a wide angle lens so that his face looks like a landscape (making his end all the more disturbing), and also c) the film is a veritable grab bag of themes, ideas, metaphors, statements, contradictions, etc for those who want/need those. It is a beautifully shot, averagely sequenced, mega-atmospheric low-budget 1980s horror film framed with all out terrifying black hole anti-life Apocalyptic peak Carpenter.

(even the non-Carpenter parts have a B sci-fi vibe which consciously riffs on the paranoia of Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, only Halloween III leaves little room for political ambiguity, and is as proudly Left as They Live)

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