Never thought this would make it to 4K 4.5 Stars

Gaining more respect over the years, Halloween III: Season of the Witch surprisingly arrives on 4K UHD courtesy of Shout! Factory.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Released: 22 Oct 1982
Rated: R
Runtime: 98 min
Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Cast: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O'Herlihy
Writer(s): Tommy Lee Wallace, John Carpenter, Nigel Kneale
Plot: Kids all over America want Silver Shamrock masks for Halloween. Doctor Daniel Challis seeks to uncover a plot by Silver Shamrock owner Conal Cochran.
IMDB rating: 5.0
MetaScore: 50

Disc Information
Studio: Universal
Distributed By: Shout! Factory
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 2.0 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: R
Run Time: 1 Hr. 38 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray
Case Type: 2-disc UHD eco keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 10/05/2021
MSRP: $36.99

The Production: 3.5/5

When is a sequel not really a sequel? Tommy Lee Wallace’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch had the unfortunate luck of being called a sequel to Halloween II, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with Michael Meyers, Laurie Strode, or Dr. Loomis. Long considered the bastard or adopted child of the franchise, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a film that has been gaining respect and a fan base over the years. Originally rejected by audiences and critics alike who were expecting a continuation of the Michael Myers saga, the film is a much different type of horror film, taking inspiration from Invasion of the Body Snatchers and other B-movies from the 1950s.

Halloween is coming, but there’s something sinister and creepy about a set of three masks from Silver Shamrock, their ads flooding the airwaves inviting kids to tune in for the big giveaway at 9pm. A Toy Store owner comes into the local hospital, clutching a Jack O’Lantern Silver Shamrock mask, claiming “They’re going to kill us!” When he is murdered by a tall, silent, grey-suited man, who then kills himself, Dr. Daniel Challis (genre favorite Tom Atkins) begins to investigate with the help of the Toy Store owner’s daughter, Ellie (Stacey Nelkin). The investigation leads them to the Silver Shamrock factory, run by a mad Toy Maker, Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), who is hatching an evil plot to have the masks activate by their sponsored Halloween TV special, killing the children and their families through a witchcraft spell embedded in the microchip made from pieces of a stolen section of Stonehenge.

The plot is just goofy enough to work as a fun little thriller, thanks in part to Tom Atkins’ character being a studly, chauvinistic doctor with a drinking problem (and he pulls it off in spades), Stacey Nelkin adding some sex appeal, Dan O’Herlihy quite literally chewing the scenery as the film’s villain when he finally shows up halfway through, the pulsating electronic score by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth, and, of course, the often over-the-top (for its time) make-up effects by Tom Burman.

Wanting to “go in another direction,” John Carpenter and Debra Hill decided to leave Michael Meyers behind after Halloween II, and with assistance from an uncredited Nigel Kneale (creator of the Quatermass series) and Tommy Lee Wallace, conceived this original story that the producers and studio executives hoped would be the first of an annual anthology series of movies centered around the Halloween holiday. If they had had the foresight to not try to include the film as part of the Halloween franchise, Halloween III: Season of the Witch may have had a better chance at the box office.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Shout! Factory’s UHD release of Halloween III: Season of the Witch features a 2160p HEVC-encoded transfer with both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, sourced from a new 4K scan of the film’s original camera negative, all under the supervision of Director of Photography Dean Cundey. This is a very noticeable improvement over the previous stand alone Blu-ray release from Shout! Factory in 2012 (the same disc was available in the 2014 15-disc Complete Collection set). Colors are much more vivid and color gradations more visible, particularly in the Silver Shamrock masks. Detail gets a major boost, with more noticeable imperfections in the masks, facial features, and fabric textures. The real improvement, though, is in black levels and shadow details. Director Tommy Lee Wallace complains on the commentary track (recorded in 2012, likely during a viewing of that older transfer) on how the dark costumes too often got lost in the more darkly-lit scenes, but that is no longer an issue – Stacey Nelkin’s black leather jacket no longer blends in with the dark interiors of the seedy bar. For those who have not upgraded to 4K yet, the included Blu-ray has been sourced from the same new 4K transfer.

Audio: 4/5

In addition to the original mono mix in DTS-HD MA 2.0, Shout! Factory has included a new Dolby Atmos mix that really gives the score by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth room to breathe, with a wider front soundstage with height and rear extensions and LFE support to give it a stronger low end. Other than that, this is still a very front and center heavy track, but a welcome improvement.

Special Features: 4/5

Shout! Factory has included nearly all of the video supplements associated with Halloween III: Season of the Witch from their 15-disc Complete Collection Blu-ray release from 2014, plus a few new surprises.

UHD Disc:
Audio Commentary with Director Tommy Lee Wallace: Wallace is joined by Horror’s Hallowed Grounds host Sean Clark and Icons of Fright’s Rob G is what can best be summarized as a fan’s dream come true. The three discuss the development, production, various locations where the film was shot, how the Silver Shamrock jingle came to be, and initial reaction to the film.

Audio Commentary With Actor Tom Atkins: Joining Tom Atkins is DVD producer Michael Felsher, and the two discuss making the film, but quite a bit of time is spent by Atkins discussing his career, including working on The Rockford Files.

Blu-ray Disc:
Audio Commentary with Director Tommy Lee Wallace: Wallace is joined by Horror’s Hallowed Grounds host Sean Clark and Icons of Fright’s Rob G is what can best be summarized as a fan’s dream come true. The three discuss the development, production, various locations where the film was shot, how the Silver Shamrock jingle came to be, and initial reaction to the film.

Audio Commentary With Actor Tom Atkins: Joining Tom Atkins is DVD producer Michael Felsher, and the two discuss making the film, but quite a bit of time is spent by Atkins discussing his career, including working on The Rockford Files.

**NEW** Tricks, Treats, and Terrors: The Masks of “Halloween III” (7:29, HD): Jason Mabry, Art Director/Lead Sculptor for Trick or Treat Studios discusses how he taught himself to make masks, started up his own consumer mask company, and obtained licenses to recreate the masks from Halloween III.

Stand Alone: The Making of “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” (HD; 33:09): Director Tommy Lee Wallace, DP Dean Cundey, composer Alan Howarth, Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, and producer Irwin Yablans discuss making a non-sequel, the problems they encountered, and the reaction to the film. This is a fun, interesting, and entertaining documentary.

Make-Up From Scratch with Tom Burman (1080p; 6:00): Burman discusses the make-up effects used in Halloween III in this new segment produced for this set.

Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: Revisiting the Locations of “Halloween III” (1080p; 19:44): Sean Clark hosts this look at how many of the locations used in Halloween III exist today.

Teaser Trailer (1080p; 0:47)

Theatrical Trailer (1010p; 1:59)

TV Spots (upscaled 1080i; 2:11)

Radio Spots (1080p; 1:43)

Newsprint Ad Gallery (1080p; 2:42)

Still Gallery (1080p; 6:19)

Posters and Lobby Cards (1080p; 3:00)

Overall: 4.5/5

Halloween III: Season of the Witch never looked or sounded better, and is worth upgrading for fans of the film.

Post Disclaimer

Some of our content may contain marketing links, which means we will receive a commission for purchases made via those links. In our editorial content, these affiliate links appear automatically, and our editorial teams are not influenced by our affiliate partnerships. We work with several providers (currently Skimlinks and Amazon) to manage our affiliate relationships. You can find out more about their services by visiting their sites.

Published by

Todd Erwin

editor,member