AtkinsIt was the first and only Halloween film that didn’t involve Michael Myers, and for years Season of the Witch has been the whipping boy of the series as a result, but recently that general sentiment has begun to change. And it’s warranted. If we can offer even the slightest push in the right direction, we are happy to do so.

iHorror’s own Eric Endres posted Why It Actually Doesn’t Suck last October and I’m just expanding on those thoughts right here. If you were one of those who railed on Halloween III because it’s not a Myers / Loomis story, haven’t seen it in forever or maybe not at all, I have a special giveaway of nine reasons why you should pop the third Halloween into your DVD or Blu-Ray player right now and appreciate a damn good horror flick who’s only sin was perhaps, in titling itself Halloween.

Opening sequence

I feel like Wolf Blitzer breaking news out of the Situation Room when I say that John Carpenter and Alan Howarth developed a soundtrack that was both evocative and set the tone for the entire film, but it has to be said. Between the foreboding sounds and close-up graphics that slowly reveal the menace behind it all, you’re all-in before we see a single character appear on screen.

Halloween-main1Drinking and doctoring

You know it’s a good sign when someone can ask one of your nurses where you can be found and it’s down at Charlie’s, where you’re exhibiting callousness for cartoons and Halloween spirit…but not for the ladies. Dr. Challis taps one of said nurses on the ass declaring that he should have married her instead with a point and “I’m serious,” and he’s always ready for a dinner with his little investigative redhead in the bowels of the hospital. And that’s before he demonstrates his “bedside manner.”

As Dr. Dan Challis (@Cochran_Hater) said on Twitter: “A sixer of Miller a day keeps the doctor away…because he’s riding around with hot, grieving daughters half his age.”

The man puts the Pimp in PhD.

Whether’s he’s brown-baggin’ it down an alley, downing drinks at the local lounge with Essex Smith on the football call or a snaggin’ that sixer of High Life after the latest edition of reliable disappointment (aka talking to the ex), the philandering physician is like Art Weingartner and food in The ‘Burbs, beverages will be involved.

Did we mention Atkins is a crack shot with a Halloween mask whilst tied to a chair? Yeah. Pimp.

O’Herlihy delivers

CochranIn the unsettling style of Max von Sydow’s Leland Gaunt in Needful Things, Dan O’Herlihy’s Conal Cochran is all smiles and charm as he hatches his plan against not only Santa Mira, but the country as a whole with a cool, emotionless “Happy Halloween” to the good doctor.

It’s not just jokes on children or the venom with which he describes those very same little ones “begging for candy,” but watching his mindless minions cutting off pathways to information with a “trade secrets” and shrug before unleashing the most devilish of dagger stares.

Even after said drones are decimated and the Samhain sacrifice is all but certain, O’Herlihy offers a smirk and mock applause before, and I love that I finally get to use a commercial that used to some fuck me up as a lad, Stonehenge exacts revenge.

By the way. Cochran. Cunt. Words that start with “C.”

Tom Atkins’ lines

Once Atkins sifts through the bikes and RVs and cars and oddballs between him and some afternoon delight, Tommy Boy reaches the hotel room, shoots Ellie a look and proclaims “This place is a zoo!”

Later, he wants a look at a “misfire” victim who is being carted out by simply saying “Excuse, I’m a doctor. Please. Hey, I said I’m a doctor!” I mean, it doesn’t get more officious than that, folks.

But the line that will leave you in stiches will be when Atkins emerges from the restroom trying to shake off what he has seen and heard, predictably downs a drink and declares “I think it’s time for the Marines.” No further explanation necessary.

The jingle

You will get the Silver Shamrock theme stuck in your head. There’s just no avoiding it. The good news, though. You won’t be wearing a mask, so the insects crawling in your head with be of a safe-to-say less invasive variety.

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The results

“What you need to see is a demonstration, and there’s one…coming right up.”

Alright, so much like any horror film, you have to suspend your level of disbelief for a moment, because any realistic scenario where a mask with a chip could result in the infestation that results is simply not feasible, but at the end of the day, it’s brutal and happening to children. That’s pretty intense. Dare I say fucked up? And for that reason alone, Halloween III deserves some credit for its willingness to not only imply nefarious intent toward the Trick or Treaters of America, but execution.

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Nods to the Halloweens WITH Michael Myers

Challis’ wife is played by Nancy Kyes, aka as Annie from the 1978 classic, which gets some love through quick flips of the channels revealing parts of a promo for “The Night HE Came Home” or clips before shit got real in the original as Atkins is fettered to an office chair all the way to the little mention of a certain Dr. Castle from one of the first shots in the hospital, Halloween III is replete with tips of the cap to Haddonfield.

Scream Queen as operator

And it doesn’t end there. When Challis tries to phone the operator and information for help, he gets the same voice telling him “no dice.” That voice, of course, is Laurie Strode herself, Jamie Lee Curtis. Should have called the Marines. And not for nothin’, but it’s probably a good thing for The Last Star Fighter that Challis wasn’t on staff that night at Haddonfield Memorial, or he would have had some stiff competition from the good doctor.

The final scene is straight money

If you haven’t seen it, I won’t give it away, but know this: It is intense and desperate and exits stage left at precisely the right moment. It does not disappoint.