Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Collector’s Edition (4K UHD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Oct 27, 2021
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
  • Bookmark and Share
Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Collector’s Edition (4K UHD Review)

Director

Tommy Lee Wallace

Release Date(s)

1982 (October 5, 2021)

Studio(s)

Dino De Laurentiis Corporation/Universal Pictures (Shout!/Scream Factory)
  • Film/Program Grade: B+
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: A-
  • Extras Grade: A

Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Collector's Edition (4K Ultra HD Disc)

amazonbuttonsm

Review

As many know by now, Halloween III: Season of the Witch was an attempt to create a new film in the Halloween series by sidestepping the main storyline. John Carpenter, Debra Hill, and Tommy Lee Wallace had originally envisioned a series of films centered around the holiday of Halloween, but the idea quickly went up in smoke once audiences were confused and dismayed by the lack of Michael Myers. Halloween III’s subsequent rebirth is one of those occasions when a project can find a second life through the changing of times and the simple act of reevaluation. Indeed, the majority of horror culture has not only given the film renewed status as a celebrated and beloved cult film, but many deem it to be their favorite of the entire series. For a sequel in a popular franchise that was primarily disregarded for so many years, that is no small feat.

Skirt-chasing, beer-drinking doctor Challis (Tom Atkins) grows concerned when a man is brought into the hospital one evening clutching a Halloween mask and claiming that “they’re gonna kill us all.” After a stranger enters the hospital and kills the man before blowing himself up in the parking lot, Challis becomes distraught and confused. When the dead man’s daughter, Ellie (Stacy Nelkin), shows up at the hospital seeking answers, she and Challis set out to investigate the mysterious Halloween mask-making company Silver Shamrock Novelties. Owned by the seemingly-angelic Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), the company appears to be in business to please children everywhere. However, Challis and Ellie discover a plot to sacrifice the children of the world with the masks, which are fitted with microchips that will kill whoever is wearing them. They find themselves in a race against time to stop Cochran and his henchmen before the plan succeeds.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch was shot by director of photography Dean Cundey on 35 mm photochemical film, using Panavision Panaflex Gold cameras with C- and E-Series anamorphic lenses, and finished on film at the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Scream Factory’s Ultra HD was sourced from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative, framed at the correct aspect ratio, and graded for High Dynamic Range (Dolby Vision and HDR10 options are available). This presentation has also been approved by Cundey. It improves upon past editions with well-managed grain and higher levels of detail, particularly in the shadows. The wider gamut of HDR deepens black levels, makes highlights bolder, and enhances the color palette. Reds, oranges, greens, and blues all have a richer appearance. The image is stable and clean, aside from extremely minor white speckling. A small aspect ratio change squeezes the image slightly, fitting the parameters of its original framing. A crisper image with excellent color and fine detail, this will likely be the definitive presentation of the film on home video going forward.

Audio is included in a new English Dolby Atmos mix (7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), as well as the previous English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD Master Audio mix. Subtitles are available in English SDH. The biggest draw of the new Atmos track is that it beefs up certain sound effects without altering them, spacing them out more, and giving them more of a boost in the lower frequencies. Speaker to speaker activity is pretty much absent and most of the dialogue is front and center, but the score and music tracks have more space in the surrounding speakers. It’s a tame mix, but it seems appropriate for a mono-sourced film without redesigning it from the ground up. The 2.0 mono track is a solid option if you prefer a less spacious sound experience.

Scream Factory’s 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition release of Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a 2-disc set, featuring the film on Ultra HD on Disc One and on Blu-ray on Disc Two. The second disc is sourced from the same new 4K transfer and features all of the Ultra HD’s audio and subtitle options. Each disc features the following extras:

DISC ONE (UHD)

  • Audio Commentary by Tommy Lee Wallace, Rob Galluzzo, and Sean Clark
  • Audio Commentary by Tom Atkins and Michael Felsher

Both audio commentaries were recorded for Scream Factory’s original Blu-ray release of the film in 2012. In the first audio commentary with director Tommy Lee Wallace, moderated by Rob Galluzzo and Sean Clark, the three discuss the film while watching it together. It’s mostly a question and answer session as Galluzzo asks Wallace about his experiences making the film, with Clark occasionally interjecting. The second audio commentary with actor Tom Atkins and Michael Felsher is more of a laid-back chat between the two as they watch the film, though Felsher keep things moving.

DISC TWO (BD)

  • Audio Commentary by Tommy Lee Wallace, Rob Galluzzo, and Sean Clark
  • Audio Commentary by Tom Atkins and Michael Felsher
  • Tricks, Treats, and Terror: The Masks of Halloween III (HD – 7:29)
  • Stand Alone – The Making of Halloween III: Season of the Witch (HD – 33:09)
  • Make-Up from Scratch with Tom Burman (HD – 6:00)
  • Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: The Locations of Halloween III (HD – 19:44)
  • Teaser Trailer (HD – :47)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD – 1:59)
  • TV Spots (SD – 4 in all – 2:11)
  • Radio Spots (HD – 3 in all – 1:43)
  • Newsprint Ad Gallery (HD – 21 in all – 2:42)
  • Still Gallery (HD – 74 in all – 6:19)
  • Posters and Lobby Cards (HD – 34 in all – 3:00)

In Trick, Treats, and Terror, Justin Mabry, art director and lead sculptor at Trick or Treat Studios, talks about becoming a sculptor and producing the three masks from Halloween III for his company. Stand Alone is a great documentary on the making of the film by Red Shirt Pictures, featuring many members of the main cast and crew. In Make-Up from Scratch, make-up effects artist Tom Burman talks about his experiences on the film. In Horror’s Hallowed Grounds, Sean Clark returns to highlight the filming locations. Next is a series of trailers, TV spots (including an ad for the TV premiere of the film), and radio spots. The Newsprint Ad Gallery features local newspaper clippings from the film’s theatrical engagements and TV airings. The Still Gallery features 74 images of behind-the-scenes and promotional photos. The Posters and Lobby Cards gallery features 34 images of posters, lobby cards, promotional photos, and newspaper clippings.

The two discs sit inside a black amaray case featuring new artwork by Joel Robinson on the front and the original US theatrical artwork on the reverse. This is housed in a rigid slipcase featuring the same new artwork. The only extras that didn’t carry over from previous releases are an audio commentary with authors Stephen Jones and Kim Newman and a CD soundtrack from a couple of overseas releases.

Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Ultra HD of Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a highly satisfying release, featuring outstanding A/V quality and great extras. It’s one of the best upgrades for these films thus far. Highly recommended.

- Tim Salmons

(You can follow Tim on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook. And be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel here.)

 

Bits Latest Tweets

The Digital Bits
Bits #4K Review – @BillHuntBits checks out Daniel Craig’s final outing as MI6 Agent 007, NO TIME TO DIE, in a reference quality #UltraHD release from MGM & Universal thedigitalbits.com/item/no-time-t…
The Digital Bits
Today on The Bits – Escape from LA & Touch of Evil are coming in #4K, plus Sony finally sets Looper for US #UltraHD release, and lots more #UHD & #Bluray announcement news thedigitalbits.com/columns/my-two…