US movie (1983). Universal/Dino De Laurentiis/ Moustapha Akkad. Pr John Carpenter, Debra Hill. Exec pr Joseph Wolf, Irwin Yablans. Dir Tommy Lee Wallace. Spfx Jon G Belyeu. Mufx Tom Burman. Screenplay Wallace (and Nigel Kneale, uncredited). Novelization Halloween III: Season of the Witch by Jack Martin (Dennis Etchison) * (1982). Starring Tom Atkins (Dan Challis), Stacey Nelkin (Ellie Grimbridge), Dan O'Herlihy (Conal Cochran), Garn Stephens (Marge Gutman), Ralph Strait (Buddy Kupfer), Wendy Wessberg (Teddy). 98 mins. Colour.
California, a few days before Hallowe'en. The Silver Shamrock Novelties Toy factory is running a massive promotion of Halloween Masks. It proves that Shamrock's mad Celtic owner, Cochran, has loaded the masks' brand decals with microcircuitry based on fragments of a sarsen stolen from Stonehenge; these fragments are loaded with occult energy so that, in response to light strobing at the correct frequency, the device blasts the brains of the mask's wearer, conjuring up in her/his place scuttling insects and poisonous Serpents. Cochran's motive is rooted in Witchcraft: at a time of correct planetary alignment it is necessary to perform Human Sacrifice, preferably of children, on a vast scale in order to . . . well, HIII follows his motives no further than that.
HIII is gory and confused, but is well enough directed and contains enough interesting ideas to hold the attention. Although Kneale objected to the gore sufficiently to have his name withdrawn from the credits, HIII continues the same line of horror/ technofantasy displayed in his Quatermass and the Pit (1958-1959 tv; 1968) and Quatermass (1979 tv). [JG]