"You don't really know much about Halloween. You thought no further than the strange custom of having your children wear masks and go out begging for candy."
— Conal Cochran
Halloween III: Season of the Witch — the red-headed stepchild of the Halloween franchise — came about when producer John Carpenter decided to transform the series into a yearly anthology of films centered around various aspects of Halloween. Halloween IIIattempted to accomplish the task, but ended up met with a massive backlash from a fanbase hungry for more Michael.A week before Halloween, Dr. Dan Challis (Tom Atkins) gets called in to treat Harry Grimbridge, a horribly beaten toy salesman with a Halloween mask in a death grip who mumbles ominous warnings in Challis' presence. It gets stranger from there — one of the salesman's assailants breaks in, murders Harry, then sets himself on fire. Challis teams up with the man's daughter, Ellie (Stacey Nelkin), to unravel the mystery; the trail leads them to the town of Santa Mira, which serves as the home of the Silver Shamrock Novelty Company. Ellie's father had recently visited the company to pick up a shipment of their popular Halloween masks — masks like the one Harry had in his hands the night he died. While investigating the town, Dan and Ellie discover that Silver Shamrock has nefarious plans in the works... and that Harry's death served as a warning of things to come this Halloween season.While the film has become something of a cult classic in the years since it's release, it performed poorly at the box office, and fans and critics were very harsh on the film for it not including Michael Myers. As a result, John Carpenter walked away from the franchise, which would be given a reboot with Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers continuing the story from the original two films.Not to be confused with Season of the Witch.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch contains examples of the following tropes:
Apocalypse How: One of the more horrifying examples: it's one specifically directed at children.
Artifact Title: From the beginning, Carpenter had planned for all of the Halloween movies to be stand-alone stories taking place on Halloween. With that in mind, the title isn't really so baffling. Then Michael Myers wound up becoming so popular that the Halloween series basically became the Michael Myers series, and...
Body Horror: When one of Cochran's little pranks misfires in Marge's face, it's partially peeled away, and bugs start coming out of her mouth. What's left stays alive a while longer — unfortunately. Doubles as a sick Chekhov's Gun to what happens when the mask works as intended...
Bond Villain Stupidity: When Dan gets caught in the factory, Conal lets him live long enough to explain his entire evil plot and then places Dan in a Death Trap. This, of course, makes no sense since Dan is of no importance and serves no purpose to Conal. Logically he should have been killed instantly like every other victim in the movie.
Bookends: Film opens ends the same way, man with a warning arriving at a gas station (the same gas station, as matter of fact).
Cruel and Unusual Death: Several. Cochran's robots have several very nasty and creative ways of killing their targets, including power drills, crushing their nasal passages to suffocate, and simply ripping people's heads off. Never mind what happens to Marge when one of Cochran's magic mask seals misfires in her face. The ultimate has to be Buddy and his family, though, when a test mask executes its program and slowly destroys his kid before his eyes.
Cochran's mooks were basically Magitek clockwork robots and obedient factory workers, but unlike pastexamples, there wasn't anything the LEAST bit funny about them - they were designed as low-tech Terminators.
Karma Houdini: Conal Cochran. Challis triggers the block of Stonehenge; Cochran is caught in the middle of the detonation and disappears; the factory burns down around him. His ultimate fate is uncertain, but even if the Stonehenge blast vaporizes him, his plan still goes off and his fate was far kinder then those of his victims.
Lampshade Hanging: Conal tells Challis that they had a devil of a time getting the Stonehenge monolith to California — which fails to explain how (though a magician never reveals his secrets, he points out). Also anticipated by the news broadcast about the theft of the monolith.
Load-Bearing Boss: When Cochran disappears, the Stonehenge piece magically shorts out, starting a massive fire that burns down the factory.
Magitek: Cochran puts tiny pieces of Stonehenge into corporate seals in his masks. When triggered by a flashing picture, they execute an extremely destructive spell, messily decaying the head in the mask and releasing deadly insects and serpents to cause collateral damage. The robots are also a likely example of it.
Mecha-Mooks: Cochran's henchmen are all eventually revealed to be robots.
Mr. Smith: Alias of Ben and Ellie when they arrive to Santa Mira.
Mr. Vice Guy: Challis — he's a womanizer and an alcoholic, but he's far from being a bad person and does everything he can to stop the Silver Shamrock plot.
Murderous Mask: The lethal masks that Cochran plans to use to murder millions of children.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Averted and inverted. Cochran - played by an Irish actor - doesn't have a strong Irish accent for most of the movie, but his pronunciation of Samhain in Irish Gaelic is exactly correct.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Was Ellie always a robot, or captured and replaced by one in Cochran's factory? If the latter, what happened to the real Ellie — did Cochran kill her, was she killed when the factory burned down, or did she escape?
The real robots weren't very talkative, but Ellie early on was quite animated, and was hellbound to go to the factory. Probably Ellie was real until she saw her father's car, and was seen being forced into the factory by other robots shortly thereafter. Notice how Ellie never spoke from the moment that she was "rescued"? The ad hoc robot Ellie was Cochran's last little joke - and assurance that Challis would die no matter what happened in the factory. Ellie was most likely disposed of...