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on 10 November 2012
Trade Secrets:

Shout! Factory present 'Halloween III: Season of the Witch' uncut and in its correct aspect ratio on this Region A locked disc. I never saw the DVD Universal released Stateside, but given the praise that disc has received over the years, I wouldn't be surprised if this hi-def transfer was struck from the same source.

With a thin-but-clear sheen of grain covering the image, 'Halloween III' is rewarded with an increase in detail and clarity. As ever, close-ups provide the best cases for oohs and aahs, but what struck me especially were the little patterns and textures now clearly visible on clothing and other materials (most notably when "Little Buddy" tries to rip through the degenerating pumpkin mask in his death throes).

Digital noise reduction may have been applied, as there is a surprisingly slight amount of grain in evidence, but there's no obvious detrimental knock-on effect, and that filmic quality is very much in evidence with little in the way of print damage.

Likewise, edge enhancement is never a problem, and black levels are rock solid. In fact, Dean Cundy's darkly envisioned cinematography is given perhaps the most substantial upgrade, with strong colours that pop right off the screen and shadows which only ever swallow details they were always intended to.

The disc is supplied with a basic DTS HD Mono audio track that won't exactly blow away seasoned audiophiles, but still does an efficient job of reproducing the film's original sound design. A front-heavy affair, dialogue and music are well balanced, with John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's jump scare music cues receiving a notable boost. Of course, the Silver Shamrock jingle has never sounded better either (ohhono).

Onto the extras, and 'Stand Alone: The Making of Halloween III: Season of the Witch' is exactly the kind of retrospective documentary fans of this once sadly doomed sequel have been waiting for. Members of the cast and crew reflect on the film's development, its disappointing release and the slow-but-sure rise in its cult appeal.

In 'Horror's Hallowed Grounds: The Locations of Halloween III', hosted by enthusiastic mega fan Sean Clark, we're taken on an eerily nostalgic trip through the present day locations used three decades earlier to shoot 'Season of the Witch'. Most of the key haunts are covered, with Clark later joined by director Tommy Lee Wallace as they explore the small town that doubled for Santa Mira; and watch out for a fun cameo by an actor from another underappreciated 80s horror sequel.

Two audio commentaries are also made available. The first features Tommy Lee Wallace, who's joined/moderated by Rob G. (from `Icons of Fright') and Sean Clark (once again). This is a most enjoyable listen that delves into virtually every aspect of 'Halloween III', whether on or off-screen. There's never a dry moment, and its three contributors pull off the impressive balancing act of being both deeply informative and highly entertaining.

The second track plonks star Tom Atkins in the spotlight alongside moderator Michael Phelps (who worked on the 'Night of the Creeps' Blu-ray). Atkins exudes a huggable warmth as he fondly recalls his time playing Dr. Challis (with tongue wedged in cheek). At times, the discussion becomes more of a commentary on Akins' career as a whole, with some surprising 'Lethal Weapon' trivia and one particularly lengthy tangent focusing on his nightmarish experience behind the scenes of William Peter Blatty's 'The Ninth Configuration'. Lack of focus aside, Atkins makes for some brilliant disembodied company, and fans shouldn't hesitate to sit through 'Halloween III' with him.

And rest assured, both commentaries enjoy poking fun at Atkins' character's natural ability to hit on anything without a Y chromosome.

Additionally, a selection of trailers and a still gallery are included to round out a package that even incorporates reversible artwork. If there's one problem worth noting, then it's the lack of a scene selection option. I mean, c'mon, what gives?

Final Processing:

This was the disc that finally convinced me to buy a region-free Blu-ray player (albeit a modestly priced one with all the durability of a Kinder Egg), and I'm glad I took the plunge. Shout! Factory have released what looks set to be the definitive edition of 'Halloween III: Season of the Witch' for a while at the very least. Any fans on this side of the pond not held back by region coding shouldn't hesitate to mark it down on their import list.
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on 31 May 2014
REVIEWED VERSION: 2000 MIA UK DVD

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace

Cast: Tom Atkins, Dan O'Herlihy, Stacey Nelkin

SYNOPSIS

Cochran, the CEO of Silver Shamrock, a company manufacturing Halloween masks, has a diabolical plan to kill millions of American children on Halloween. Something is hidden in the masks and will be triggered by a TV commercial...

THE PROS & CONS

HALLOWEEN III - SEASON OF THE WITCH could have been a lot more than it turned out to be. The absence of Michael Myers is not a bad thing at all. Personally, I believe this character is seriously over-hyped. He was a good character for HALLOWEEN 1 and 2, but that's all. The makers wanted to go a different way with HALLOWEEN III, a way without Myers, and they were on the right track.
The story - written by director Tommy Lee Wallace - itself is not bad but badly executed. It would have needed a little more "fleshing out" to distract from the fact that it is totally illogical. It could have worked!
They assembled some really great actors, who do their best, namely Tom Atkins and Dan O'Herlihy, still this movie fails:
- the Halloween song REALLY gets on one's nerves. It's funny hearing it once, it's funny hearing it twice... but after you hear it 6 or 7 times it REALLY becomes a nuisance.
- logic usually cannot be applied to horror movies - and certainly not to the HALLOWEEN movies, but this one really is the worst: snakes and bugs coming out of Halloween masks? Where were they hidden???
- Dan O'Herlihy's character lacks a motive for his actions. Besides if he is so famous and his company is all over the news, how does he expect to get away with the crime?
HALLOWEEN III had potential. Carpenter again composed the music, but he was no longer involved in the screenplay.
I did like the dark and threatening atmosphere that comes across well. That's why I give it 2 stars instead of 1.

DVD DETAILS

Feature running time: 92 mins. (uncut)
Rating: R (MPAA) / 15 (BBFC)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 (non-anamorphic)
Audio: English 2.0
Subtitles: NONE
Extras: None
Region: 2 (locked)

Picture quality: 1/5
Audio quality: 2/5
Extras: 0/5
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Am not going to bore you and go on about how this film should never have been called Halloween 3, well the only thing am going to say is, it should of been called The night of the Mask or its underline title, The season of the Witch so I am going to review this film as a separate entity from the Halloween series.

The film is great with a brilliant performance by Tom Atkins(the fog) the story is about a mask maker who has lost the plot and wants to commit mass murder by using Halloween masks, that have a power to make snakes and all sorts of poisonous creatures. I loved the beginning with the opening title with a, graphic pumpkin, plus the soundtrack was so creepy, this is a great film if you can get past the fact that Michael Myers is not in this, well he does appear for a breath second.
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on 19 November 2015
I never grow tired of this film and I'd go as far as to say, it's the best one of all the Hallowe'en series of films as the story is completely different from the others. My only warning is, be very selective of which version you buy as this one is the only one that hasn't been edited. Even the Hallowe'en box set version has been cut and it really has ruined it completely. I don't understand why they have edited versions on DVD. It's very unfair.
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on 4 November 2013
I like this film a lot. For me, it is the second best of the Halloween series (the original Carpenter version being the best, of course). Because it doesn't feature the zombie Michael Myers of the second and later films, it has by far the lowest rating on IMDb. Instead it has something sadly lacking from all the other sequels: intelligence, thanks to the script originating with Nigel Kneale. He took his name off the credits partly because of the splatter, and we'll come back to that later.

Other plus points include one of Carpenter's best soundtracks done with Alan Howarth, some lovely cinematography from Dean Cundey, and a fine performance from Dan O'Herlihy. Sadly, it also has Tom Atkins trying to be a leading man and a leading lady who is more convincing in her final scenes than in any of her other attempts at acting. OK, I can live with those, because it is smarter than the vast majority of horror films.

But which one to get? There are four options:

R2 Sanctuary release: cover has no face on it, with the tagline 'The night nobody came home...' and the word 'Widescreen' at the bottom. This has an OK 16:9 picture and a good 5.1 soundtrack, plus a commentary by Newman and Jones who had no connection to it, but like horror films. There is however a fundamental problem with it. There is no way that those two do not know that they're watching a censored version, but when they talk about the censorship of the initial video releases, they talk about a sequence - the decapitation and subsequent blood spray of someone - that is in this. The impression they want to leave is clear: this one is uncensored. It's not. Incredibly, the box claims a running time of 96 minutes, but it's actually about 92.

R2 MIA release: cover has the face as well as the trick or treaters, and 'A John Carpenter & Debra Hill production' above the title. The tagline is in UPPER CASE, and a long list of names is at the bottom. This has a grainy 4:3 picture and - I think - mono soundtrack, but is complete and runs for almost a minute longer than the Sanctuary version.

R2 High Fliers release: I am not sure this one is on Amazon yet - if I scan its bar code, the Amazon app can't find it here. This one has the face, and the upper case tagline, but just 'Produced & Music by John Carpenter' at the bottom. It also claims to be an 18 certificate and has a 16:9 picture. I bought it on the basis that, given the certificate, it would be uncut. It's not - it's a slightly better version of the print used for the Sanctuary release, with no 5.1 soundtrack or commentary, just a somewhat distorted mono sound. It's also not an 18 - there's no record of it being given that on the BBFC website and the High Fliers site now also says it's a 15.

R1 Shout Factory release: having given up on UK releases, I am going for this one. It's the one with a not very good drawing of the lead actors and the sidekicks in front of the trick or treaters image. Another review reckons that it has a commentary by the director, Tommy Wallace, as well as being uncut. I'll let you know...
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on 28 February 2014
Halloween III is the black sheep of the series in that it has nothing to do with Michael Myers. In the making of program you find out "why". Its a fascinating set of extras and the Horrors Hallowed Grounds program is worth the price alone.

The film has never looked or sounded better on home video. Its great.

The film is enjoyable and quirky and you get to see Blade Runner's "lost" Replicant in action as the female lead.

BEWARE ITS REGION LOCKED so you will need a multi region Blu ray player. If you don't know what that is you probably don't have one!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 October 2014
Let’s get it out of the way... ‘Halloween 3: Season of the Witch’ was a critical (and more importantly) commercial failure. Basically, after the highly successful (and profitable) ‘Halloween’ and ‘Halloween 2’ people were expecting big things from the third instalment. The first two were about a – seemingly unstoppable – killer called Michael Myers and his relentless desire to generally murder youngsters. However, Part 3’s ultimate ‘failure’ was that it basically has nothing to do with the first two instalments.

Part 3 is a completely new story which doesn’t follow on at all. And that was the main ‘problem’ people had with it. So, it got immediately slated and has kind of fallen off the radar, as far as horror movies go.

However, if you don’t really look at it as a ‘Halloween’ movie and simply a stand-alone horror film, it does tend to take on a life of its own. We join Dr Daniel Challis when a possibly mentally-unstable old man is brought into his hospital, only to be murdered in very suspicious circumstances. Therefore, Dr Dan teams up with the man’s grieving daughter to investigate. And, their investigation takes them to an out-of-the-way town in the middle of nowhere, run by the – somewhat creepy – Conal Cochran.

First of all, Dr Dan is a rather different hero. He isn’t very reliable, frequently forgets to visit his ex-wife, buys his kids rubbish present, flirts with pretty much anything in a skirt in the hospital where he works and then sleeps with younger women in meets in a bar (all while wearing a handkerchief hanging out of the back of his trousers). And, did I mention while he’s doing all this he’s also trying to save the world from cyborg robots and fiendish occult plots.

But, dodgy heroes aside, the film is actually pretty creepy. First of all you have the music (which is done by horror legend John Carpenter) which adds to the dark, unsettling atmosphere. Then you have Dan O’herlihy, playing arguably one of the most nasty villains in cinematic history. He really does have a plan or two up his sleeve and it isn’t nice! Then you have the general gore. It’s hardly a ‘gore-fest’ but when the gore comes, it’s pretty gruesome and what isn’t gory is pretty unsettling.

If you want to give Halloween 3 a go, don’t view it as part of the franchise. Just be in a mood for a darkly-nasty horror tale. It’s also probably best to put at least half of your brain on hold for the duration – that way you can ignore the odd plot hole. I don’t care what people say about it. I still love it!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 November 2014
A different animal to the Halloween films that preceded and followed it, Season of the Witch is slowly but surely gaining an appreciation as a standalone horror film. Gone is Michael Myers' indestructible killing machine, in his place is the nefarious Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy), the owner of the Silver Shamrock corporation that specialises in Halloween masks. Cochran has a sinister plan this year - and it's deadly - Dr. Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) and Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin) are caught in the middle of the vile plot and may just be the only salvation to Americana.

With Nigel Kneale involved in the writing process Season of the Witch is delightfully fiendish. There's definite barbs being stung here about the commercialisation of holiday occasions, that capitalism kills, Cochran is intent on restoring Halloween to the true meaning of its origins, creating a Silver Shamrock world order in the process. Kneale would take his name off the credits when the studio tampered with his vision, a shame because his core essence remains - even if Cochran as a Warlock Wicker Man type could well have been genius.

With John Carpenter and Debrah Hill over seeing things from their production chairs, the picture had supervision of some standing. Tommy Lee Wallace maybe directing but it feels like a Carpenter movie, from Dean Cundey's photography - Carpenter's foreboding synth musical score - and the sharpness of the gruey horror scenes (which are excellent), it's not hard to see the "non Michael Myers" Halloween series that Carpenter had envisaged after part 2 had been and gone.

Boosted by an irritatingly potent advertisement jingle (a Silver Shamrock variation on London Bridge is Falling Down) that counts down the days to Halloween and the day of carnage, Season of the Witch is consistently gnawing away at the senses. Having Atkins and O'Herlihy propping up the acting helps, both are reliable performers for this material, while the race against time finale has edge of the seat credentials.

It doesn't all work of course, there's some drag and the narrative feels schizophrenic at times, while if it wasn't for Cundey's camera work then Wallace's inept direction of the non horror scenes would be over exposed. Yet as it asks Halloween franchise fans some forgiveness for not actually being part of the franchise, it delivers a smart sci-fi horror hybrid that's not without shock and awel. 7/10
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on 6 April 2016
With Michael Myer's reduced to ashes in a hospital corridor, the Halloween series attempts to go in a fresh new direction. This time, a bunch of Satanists try to take out America's children, by rigging Halloween masks that prove deadly. Halloween 3 is Myer's-free, but it's actually one of the better installments.
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on 6 May 2015
This review has no relation to the quality of the film, but mainly to help clarify which version you are buying, as Amazon's review system can be frustrating. If you wish to purchase this DVD and receive the uncensored version, check that you are ordering the release by MIA and NOT Scanbox, as this one is butchered by the BBFC, and I do mean butchered, virtually all gruesome parts have been removed.
Hope this helps.
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