The Sci-Fi Horror Sequel Fans Once Hated Is Now A Cult Classic

By Brian Myers | Updated

A film’s sequel can be seen as a continuation of a brilliant story or as a studio’s attempt to milk more returns at the box office out of a proven commodity. In the case of Halloween 3: The Season of the Witch, filmmakers went another direction entirely and crafted a production that, despite lead character Michael Myers being tied to the title, told a story unrelated to either Myers or any of the storylines from the first two Halloween films. Halloween 3 is a stand-alone film that deserves praise instead of the criticism it received after its 1982 theatrical run.

Halloween 3 Has No Michael Myers

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As Halloween 3 begins, shop owner Harry Grimbridge is being chased by several men through the streets until he collapses in front of fellow shopkeeper Walter Jones. Jones notices that his friend is carrying a Halloween mask crafted to look like a jack-o-lantern. Jones takes him to see Dr. Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins), but the fatigued Grimbridge is murdered by one of his pursuers later that night.

Silver Shamrock Is A Different Villain

Grimbridge’s daughter Ellie (Stacey Nelkin) meets with Challis, and the two are puzzled by both the murder and the mysterious Halloween mask that he was clutching in the final hours of his life. The newly acquainted duo heads to Santa Mira to investigate the Silver Shamrock Novelties factory in hopes that they’ll get answers from the mask’s manufacturers.

In the hotel they’re staying in, a fellow lodger has one of Silver Shamrock’s masks in her possession. The curious woman examines the mysterious mask and notices a microchip, prompting her to try to remove it with her hairpin. As she is doing so, a laser beam shoots from the mask and burns her face off, from which a large insect crawls from her mouth.

The Real Villain Is Capitalism

Halloween 3 sees Daniel and Ellie arrive at the factory and uncover a sinister plot that involves Silver Shamrock Halloween masks activating on cue during the broadcast of an upcoming commercial. As they are confronted by factory overlord Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), Daniela and Ellie discover that Cochran’s plan to sacrifice millions of children is related to ancient Druid rituals. The movie becomes a race for Daniel and Ellie to escape with their lives in time to prevent the triggering mechanisms within the masks from killing countless innocent children.

A Box Office Disappointment

With the elevated level of storytelling and captivating plotline, it’s hard to imagine on the surface why Halloween 3 was a disappointment at the box office. The acting was on par as well, Tom Atkins and Stacey Nelkin both doing a brilliant job on screen and making the portrayals of their respective characters believable on every level. Villain Dan O’Herlihy shines in his role as Conal Cochran and should be remembered as one of greatest antagonists in 80s horror history.

The Title Doomed It From The Start

Most of why Halloween 3 fell flat with the audiences and critics of its time was due to the film’s lack of Michael Myers. The film took fans to an entirely different place than Haddonfield, Illinois, and replaced the slasher/scream queen elements with a beautiful combination of horror and science fiction, with a smattering of ancient witchery thrown in for good measure. Had the movie been produced under a different name, it likely would have been more successful.

Only Available Through Video On Demand


Halloween creators John Carpenter and Debra Hill originally aimed for the films to act as a movie anthology series that focused on characters experiencing different terrors on or around the October holiday. They deviated from this almost immediately with Halloween 2 in 1981, setting the action in this installment in the immediate aftermath of the first film’s ending.

Halloween 3 was meant to be the first stab at the anthology approach, but its lackluster performance and poor reviews led to Michael Myers being brought back for the next installment, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, in 1988.

Halloween 3 is not available to stream for free, but you can see the movie On Demand with Prime, Vudu, Google Play, and AppleTV.