Halloween III: Witchcraft, Androids and Great Synth


The villainous Conal Cochran presents one of his high-tech masks.

So I finally got around to watching 1981's "Halloween III: Season of the Witch," in large part because John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's original soundtrack is so incredibly good.

Seriously, this OST follows Carpenter and Howarth's already exceptional collaborations on "Halloween II" and "Escape From New York." It expresses a sonic experience that expertly handles the film's mishandled thematic core: the supernatural darkness of Halloween as manifested through our society's crippling dependency on media -- media in turn generated by shadowy corporations.

Let's have a listen. This is "Chariot of Pumpkins."

Carpenter didn't take the lead writing or directing "Halloween III," so it's little wonder that this element alone resonates with his signature dread. It's also no surprise that the soundtrack itself has achieved such a notable stature amid connoisseurs of electronic and uncanny music.

The Movie

The film itself, written* and directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, is a confusing and often illogical experience.

I love the concept of killer black magic androids in the employ of a corporate sorcerer. And massive media-induced child sacrifice in the age of latchkey kids and the TV childhood? Sign me up.

I love the concept of killer black magic androids in the employ of a corporate sorcerer. And massive media-induced child sacrifice in the age of latchkey kids and the TV childhood? Sign me up.

But, outside some select scenes and Dan O'Herlihy's creepy performance (You'll remember his other big evil company guy role from 1987's "Robocop."), it never really gels. Even a pitch-perfect soundtrack can only do so much, though it does help make the film surprisingly watchable.

So for fans of uncanny electronic music, grab a copy of Carpenter and Howarth's score if you haven't already. And if you, like me, enjoy the archeological experience of unearthing thought-provoking concepts from the muck and mire of flawed cinema, then go ahead and see the film as well. It's far more interesting than any of the subsequent "Halloween" movies.

For now, enjoy the horror-thon... and don't forget to watch the big giveaway afterwards.

* It's worth noting that British science fiction writer Nigel Kneale wrote the initial version of the script. Kneale pinned the exceptional 1967 sci-fi/horror film "Quatermass and the Pit" -- one of the core reasons Carpenter sought him out to write "Halloween III."


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.