Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Limited Edition (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: May 21, 2024
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Limited Edition (Blu-ray Review)


Tommy Lee Wallace

Release Date(s)

1982 (April 24, 2024)


Dino De Laurentiis Corporation/Universal Pictures (Via Vision Entertainment)
  • Film/Program Grade: B+
  • Video Grade: A-
  • Audio Grade: B
  • Extras Grade: A-

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (Blu-ray)



[Editor's Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray release.]

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. Producers John Carpenter and Debra Hill, and director Tommy Lee Wallace, had originally envisioned a series of films centered around the holiday of Halloween, but the idea quickly went up in flames once the first film was released and audiences were both confused and dismayed by the lack of Michael Myers. Though it made a minor profit, it was the lowest-grossing film in the series thus far, and was rebooted soon thereafter to give audiences more of what they wanted, leaving Halloween III in the dust... at least for the time being.

Skirt-chasing, beer-drinking Doctor Challis (Tom Atkins) becomes concerned when a man is brought into the hospital one evening clutching a Halloween mask and claiming that “they’re gonna kill us all.” When the man’s daughter, Ellie (Stacy Nelkin), shows up seeking answers, she and Challis set out to investigate the mysterious Halloween mask-making company Silver Shamrock Novelties. Owned by the seemingly-angelic Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), the company appears to be legitimate, but 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. It soon becomes a race against time to stop Cochran and his henchmen before they can succeed.

Controversially to some at the time of its release, I compared Halloween Ends favorably with Halloween III: Season of the Witch on Twitter, in so far as that they are two of my favorite films in the franchise because they stray so radically far away from the usual formula of Michael Myers reappearing to kill yet another round of Haddonfield citizens. Some might argue that’s the whole ballgame, but when a franchise takes a chance and does something very different with its product (and let’s face it, it’s product at this point), those tend to be the more interesting efforts.

Halloween III, of course, was an attempt to get away from the slasher craze and do something more akin to, as director Tommy Lee Wallace has sited many times, an Invasion of the Body Snatchers type of plot. For years, even mainstream critics like Joe Bob Briggs continuously jumped on Halloween III for its lack of Michael Myers, and used it as an example of what not to do with a franchise. In truth, it was perhaps not the greatest of ideas to call it a Halloween sequel, which would serve only to set up those not in the know for disappointment regardless, but the film itself certainly didn’t deserve the scorn that it received when it was released.

Thankfully, home video and repeated TV airings have been very kind to Halloween III. Its subsequent rebirth is one of those rare occasions when a project can find a major second life through the changing of times and the simple act of re-evaluation. Indeed, the majority of horror and pop culture has not only given it renewed status as a celebrated and beloved cult film, but many deem it to be among their favorites, if not their all-time favorite, of the entire series. For a sequel that was primarily disregarded for so many years, and lacks what made the franchise popular in the first place, that is no small feat.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch was shot by returning director of photography Dean Cundey on 35 mm film using Panavision cameras and lenses, and finished photochemically at the aspect ratio of 2.35:1. After going back and forth between several releases, including the 2012 Scream Factory Collector’s Edition Blu-ray; the 2014 Scream Factory Complete Collection boxed set Blu-ray; the 2018 Scream Factory Steelbook Blu-ray; and the 2021 Scream Factory Collector’s Edition Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD, it appears that Via Vision Entertainment (out of Australia) has been supplied with the master used by Scream Factory for their 2012 and 2014 Blu-rays. It has the unmistakable freeze at the very outset during the Universal logo, as well as minor speckling and other wear and tear along the way. The encode is good, which sits primarily between 30 and 40Mbps, and grain is more solid with better compression than Via Vision’s Halloween II Blu-ray. It’s a little too saturated but contrast is good with some impressive shadow detail and deep blacks, though the Scream Factory UHD widened that gamut with even more depth and color. Frames are stable throughout and there are no other issues to speak of. It’s still a mighty fine presentation, especially for its age.

Audio is included in English 2.0 mono DTS-HD Master Audio with optional subtitles in English SDH. This appears to be the same standard audio option that most Blu-ray releases have carried over the years, though the 2021 Blu-ray and UHD features a Dolby Atmos track. Dialogue is clean and clear with some spatial activity and ambience, as well as good placement of sound effects and score.

The Region-Free Blu-ray release of Halloween III: Season of the Witch from Via Vision Entertainment is a Limited Edition package of 1,500 units. Both discs sit in a blue Amaray case with stills from the film on the front cover and inner sleeve. Also included is a set of 6 photo cards featuring several promotional stills. Everything is housed in a thick, lenticular case featuring the film’s main theatrical artwork. The following extras are included on each disc:

  • NEW Audio Commentary by Lee Gambin (with an appearance by Joe Dante)
  • Audio Commentary by Tommy Lee Wallace, Rob Galluzzo, and Sean Clark
  • Audio Commentary by Tom Atkins and Michael Felsher
  • Stand Alone – The Making of Halloween III: Season of the Witch (HD – 33:09)
  • Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: The Locations of Halloween III (HD – 19:45)
  • Still Gallery (HD – 41 in all – 3:27)
  • Teaser and Theatrical Trailers (HD – 2:44)
  • TV Spots (SD – 3 in all – 1:35)

New to this release is an audio commentary by film historian and author Lee Gambin, with a surprise appearance (via Skype) by Joe Dante. Gambin’s commentaries are always worth one’s time as he dives deep into the history of horror films and their thematics, and how they all tie into the film at hand. One of the most fascinating moments is Joe Dante delving into how he was meant to be the original director, but left because another project was greenlit while Halloween III was still in development. The other audio commentaries were recorded for the Scream Factory 2021 Blu-ray release. In the first 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 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.

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 Horror’s Hallowed Grounds, Sean Clark returns to highlight the filming locations. The Still Gallery features 41 images of behind-the-scenes photos, promotional photos, and posters artwork. Last are the teaser and theatrical trailers, as well as some TV spots.

Because this film has been released multiple times over the years, Via Vision’s release is missing a few things. The Scream Factory 4K Ultra HD release also includes Trick, Treats, and Terror, a featurette with art director and lead sculptor for Trick or Treat Studios Justin Mabry, who talks about becoming a sculptor and producing the three masks from Halloween III for his company; the featurette Make-Up from Scratch in which make-up effects artist Tom Burman talks about his experiences on the film; an additional TV spot; a set of radio spots; additional Still Gallery images; a Newsprint Ad Gallery featuring local newspaper clippings from the film’s theatrical engagements and TV airings; and a Posters and Lobby Cards gallery featuring images of posters, lobby cards, promotional photos, and newspaper clippings. A couple of worldwide releases also include an audio commentary with authors Stephen Jones and Kim Newman, a set of production notes, and a CD soundtrack.

Die-hard fans and Australian customers are the aim of Via Vision’s Limited Edition Blu-ray release of Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Outside of the commentary, it doesn’t offer much new, but it’s still a very nice package overall and quite collectible.

- Tim Salmons

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