For years, the third installment of the Halloween franchise had been treated like a bastard child, and not in a Jon Snow kind of way, more Ramsay Bolton. However, the recent past has been kind, and folks have started to appreciate Halloween III for the classic that it is, though there are legions who still dog director Tommy Lee Wallace’s gem because of the absence of Michael Myers.
It’s this simple: Had the film been called Season of the Witch without the misfortune of the Halloween III title attached to it, the flick would’ve been beloved from the moment it hit theaters on October 22, 1982.
That is exactly why I’m asking those who still carry disdain for Halloween III for its lack of Michael Myers as villain (though he does make an appearance because, commercials watched at Charlie’s Bar by Tom Atkins’ Dr. Challis count, damn it) to give it another shot.
Despite the myriad aspects of Season of the Witch that are worthwhile, let’s set our focus on that villain. No, it’s not Myers, but Conal Cochran is calm, cool, and terrifyingly evil. That today would’ve been Dan O’Herlihy’s 98th birthday is all the more reason for us to do our very best to entice you to celebrate all things Silver Shamrock through the intrigue of Conal Cochran.
The Irish businessman produced some of the finest gag gifts and toys ever made, but took one thing deathly serious, the festival of Samhain. Behind Cochran’s charming exterior was a man who held sinister contempt for those who’d turned the customs of his native Celtic lands into a commercial enterprise replete with costumes and “children begging for candy.”
Cochran and his droid army had made off with a boulder from Stonehenge and inserted fragments of the mystical rock into computer chips that would engage upon recognition of the tones of the “big giveaway at 9.” Once activated, the combination of rock and chip generated all manner of creepy crawlies to decimate the masked, wide-eyed little ones watching at home (along with their parents) in a Samhain sacrifice to appease the gods.
“I do love a good joke. And this is the best one ever, a joke on the children.”
The man was not only in complete control of the entire California town of Santa Mira, but those who wandered in on business and getaways, as well. Cochran delighted in the Samhain savagery he was about to unleash, to say nothing of the fantastical, wide-spread sleight of hand he’d created with his misleading mischief.
Cochran’s outward appearance was very soothing, almost grandfatherly, but on a handful of occasions, Cochran’s eyes and facial expression told a different story. Within Cochran’s mind and soul raged seething resentment for disrespectful Halloween shenanigans, and he could not wait for the clock to strike 9 p.m. on All Hallow’s Eve to loose his sacrificial slaughter upon the children of America.
Look, if you haven’t seen Halloween III because it lacked Myers or simply because you’ve never gotten around to it, give it a shot. If you have seen but didn’t care for it, give it one more chance because it truly is terrific fun.
If nothing else, have a gander at the clip below. While there are some key pieces here, it doesn’t reveal enough to ruin the picture, so just watch and listen to O’Herlihy as Cochran and tell me you don’t want more Season of the Witch.