Oct 27, 2017

13 Reasons Why Halloween III is an Underrated Classic

Article By: Tyler Doupe

Rarely has a sequel ever been so despised as Halloween III was on its original release. Audiences were outraged that the filmmakers dared give them a Halloween sequel without the inclusion of Michael Myers as the villain. Viewers got so worked up about the absence of Myers that most of the movie-going public was unable to appreciate Halloween III for the great film that it is.

As time passes, more and more horror fans are catching on to just how great Halloween III is. And they are slowly learning to appreciate it on its own set of merits, rather than lambasting it for what it is not. If you have not seen Halloween III recently, it’s time to give it another chance and appreciate it for everything that it is. Below are 13 reasons Halloween III is an underappreciated classic. 

1. It wasn’t afraid to be different from the previous two films

John Carpenter was growing tired of making Michael Myers movies and was ready to move on. And he had already been part of a satisfying conclusion to the series with Halloween II. However, the studio wanted another sequel. Carpenter and company smartly attempted to take the series in a completely unexpected direction and refused to succumb to pressure to do the expected. As a result, the film bombed at the box office but after all these years, some fans are beginning to realize they may have been too hasty in their initial assessment.


2. The storyline is genius

Like a lot of projects Carpenter was involved with, Halloween III speaks out against consumerism and corporate America. There is ample social commentary and poignant subtext right below the surface. The idea of an evil corporation attempting to effectively eliminate millions of children from the face of the earth is a unique and truly unexpected concept. But it works perfectly.


3. The effects are very well executed

Although the violence in Halloween III is perhaps less brutal than in Halloween II, what you do see is very effectively rendered and also reminiscent of the monster films of years past.  


4. It was way ahead of its time

Halloween III was light years ahead of its time. So much so that it was approximately 30-years after its release before people began to appreciate it for just how innovative and different it is. It’s unfortunate that it took so long, otherwise we might have had more sequels that followed in its footsteps, rather than shoehorning Michael Myers back into the franchise. 


5. It’s the last film in the series John Carpenter was involved with

I can think of very few instances where John Carpenter’s involvement wouldn’t improve a film. And this was no exception. Carpenter produced, scored, and co-wrote (he did not take a screenwriting credit) the project. Even though Carpenter turned directorial duties over to Tommy Lee Wallace, his influence is apparent in all aspects of the picture. 


6. It’s full of Carpenter regulars

As he is known to do, John Carpenter made room for several of his regular collaborators. In addition to using much of the same crew from the original Halloween, he also ensured there were roles for Tom Atkins, Dick Warlock, Nancy Kyes (a.k.a. Nancy Loomis), and Jamie Lee Curtis. Curtis appears briefly in an uncredited role as a telephone operator. 


7. Dan O’Herlihy is the perfect villain

Oscar-nominated actor Dan O’Herlihy was the perfect choice to play the head of The Silver Shamrock Corporation. The late O’Herlihy chews just the right amount of scenery and still maintains a level of believability that keeps the audience both frightened and entertained. It’s hard to imagine anyone else taking on that role. 


8. Halloween III actually acknowledges that the first film is just a film

In something of an unexpected move, the trailer for the original Halloween is shown on a television at a bar. That was a fairly bold and somewhat unprecedented move. It’s also one of the only ties to the first two films in Halloween III. One of the other major tie-ins being that the score is derivative of that used in the original. 


9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers was a major source of inspiration

Tommy Lee Wallace took a lot of his cues from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and even shot a large portion of the film in the same town where Body Snatchers was lensed. Both films take place in the same fictional town (Santa Mira). 


10. It’s one of the few films from its era that wasn’t afraid to kill innocent children onscreen

It has long been considered taboo to dispense of children onscreen (particularly in horror movies) and to do so in violent fashion is almost unheard of. However, the creative team behind Halloween III did not let that stop them from executing their vision and they even went with a downbeat ending that leads viewers to believe that The Silver Shamrock Corporation was successful in their mission to rid the world of youngsters. 


11. It’s something of a murder mystery

Dr. Challis and Ellie Grimbridge spend a large portion of the film attempting to solve the murder of Ellie’s father. This was a major departure from the previous two films but if you can get past that, this film is an awful lot of fun. 


12. It was intentionally unlike anything else that was being made at the time

The surreal and bizarre characteristics of the film were no accident. Everything about Halloween III is very deliberate ad intentional. Director Tommy Lee Wallace once summed it up like this: “It’s like the Little Rascals went out and made this movie, just to spite Hollywood. And I love that.”


13. It provided inspiration to Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard when they were making The Guest

Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett made several references to Halloween III in their sci-fi-horror-action hybrid The Guest. And they have publically acknowledged their fondness for Halloween III and indicated that it was a definite influence on the creation of The Guest. 

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