Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the Weirdest James Bond Film

The oddity of the Halloween franchise casts aside Michael Myers and slasher sensibilities and instead is inspired by James Bond?...

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a very strange film. As it’s own horror movie it’s weird, but as an instalment of the Halloween slasher series it’s even weirder. A true oddity in the thirteen-film series, Michael Myers is nowhere to be seen, apart from a meta scene of the original Halloween appearing on a television set. It marks a failed attempt to turn the franchise into an anthology, which may well have worked if it was the second instalment of the series rather than the third.

Season of the Witch is now a cult classic, undergoing a critical re-evaluation, with many proclaiming it a misunderstood gem. I can’t in good conscience say it’s a good film. It’s bad. It’s really rather rubbish. But it is a lot of fun and I find it more watchable than many of the endless Michael Myers sequels and reboots. Rewatching it recently, in April, because why wait until October, it dawned on me just why I may enjoy Halloween III so much. It reminds me of a franchise I love. Halloween III: Season of the Witch is an incredibly bizarre James Bond film.

In the era of scream queens and final girls, Halloween III makes the odd choice to have a middle-aged man as its protagonist. Tom Atkins portrays Dan Challis, a divorced dad who is half Alan Partridge and half James Bond. He’s supposed to be some regular relatable everyman vying for his kids’ love but he’s also written as a screenwriter surrogate, a wish fulfilment of divorced dads everywhere. I’ve never bought Atkins as a romantic lead but John Carpenter clearly sees him as the most desirable man on the planet. In both this and The Fog he’s lusted over by every woman. Here he’s an alcoholic who’s banging teens and flirting/sexually harassing every woman in sight. Just like James Bond. Challis. Dan Challis.

Stacey Nelkin’s Ellie Grimbridge is the more fitting eighties horror star but instead is pushed to the side. Her father dies under suspicious circumstances (getting your eyes crushed by a suicidal robot is pretty suspicious) and teams up with Dan to investigate Silver Shamrock, a company behind new Halloween masks. Like a typical Bond girl, her objective and grief is quickly pushed aside and instead would rather spend the whole film in Dan’s arms. She even packs sexy lingerie especially for this mission. But like Bond, Challis isn’t content with just one woman. He’s a doctor by trade and back at work he has his own Miss Moneypenny, a nurse who does nothing but sit behind a desk and feed Dan information while incessantly flirting with him.

As with all good Bond films, our hero goes undercover with a clearly fake pseudonym and is given a tour of the baddie’s base like a true secret agent. This infiltration is obvious to the villains but they politely show him around instead of, you know, killing him. While on his undercover mission, Dan fights the odd henchman, again like a Bond movie. These aren’t slasher villains to be ran from but instead suited goons that can be fought and defeated by shear manliness. But these henchman turn out to be robots, with Alien being the clear influence. Although the androids spit orange juice instead of milk, and are played by Dick Warlock, the man with the greatest name in history.

At the center of the criminal conspiracy is Conal Cochran, played by Dan O’Herlihy. O’Herlihy always plays a great villain, whether in Robocop or Twin Peaks, and he’s really wonderful in Season of the Witch. A bonkers foreign baddie with an insane plan giving megalomaniacal speeches. He’s a Bond villain through and through. He could easily drop in that he’s working for SPECTRE and it would fit perfectly.

Instead of just shooting Dan, Cochran leads him to his secret underground lair filled with scientists and computers and explains his entire plan. Dan is then strapped to a chair, that is part of a convoluted death trap, instead of just being shot. He then escapes, rescues his love interest, kills the baddies, and destroys the facility just in the nick of time. Although, of course, one henchman survives and suddenly strikes at the end, only to be quickly defeated. I swear, I’m still describing Halloween III. It follows the exact same formula as a classic Bond film.

The ending does also seem to have Raiders of the Lost Ark as another influence. I’ve avoided actually writing what the villain’s plot is because it’s so crazy I don’t think I can explain it, and even if I did, if you haven’t seen the film, you wouldn’t believe me. But it involves the theft of Stonehenge. One of the blocks of Stonehenge ultimately fires off laser beams, for some unfathomable reason, which kills all the bad guys circling it, including Cochran. It’s essentially the end of Raiders, but with the wrath of God emanating from a big druidic rock rather than the Ark of the Covenant.

Season of the Witch is less a horror film and more a bonkers paranoia conspiracy thriller with genre flourishes. With the right mindset it can be watched as a Tommy Lee Wallace-directed, John Carpenter-produced-and-scored James Bond movie, and who doesn’t love the sound of that. Its influences are very varied so it might be a bit of a stretch to call Halloween III: Season of the Witch a James Bond film, but, then again, it makes as much sense as anything else in the movie.  

ArticleFilmOpinionTV And Movies

The world is full of mysterious creatures whose existence spark constant debate. Scotland have the Loch Ness monster, North America have big foot and the Himalayas have the Yeti but none can hold a candle to England's mythical beast. The Kyle Barratt has eluded scientists for decades, many doubt he even exists and is really a man from Ealing named Carl. Yet time and time again proof arrives in the form of completed and well written articles.
No Comment

Leave a Reply