You Don’t Really Know Much About Halloween 3: The Real Life Season Of The Witch

Readers of this blog will know of my unabashed, un-ironic adoration for Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch. I’m not one of these post-modern reassessment guys either. I saw it back in 1984 or so on TV and loved it from the starting gate, much more than the Michael Meyers vehicles, which I actually didn’t see till I was in college. Traditionally, after taking the kids out trick or treating, I sit in the quiet living room with whoever’s awake and put on Halloween 3 to close out the holiday, knocking back peanut butter cups and Butterfingers till the sweetness overcomes me. I look forward to it every year.

Image result for halloween three season of the witch"

Season of The Witch, if you don’t know, and I’m gonna spoil it here, involves a plot by an insidious witch coven masquerading as a practical joke and gag company to sacrifice the children of America on Samhain night by plunking them and their candy buckets in front of a special TV showing of John Carpenter’s Halloween (followed by a big giveaway!) and pumping out a pseudo-scientific/mystic signal that will cause the chips of a Stonehenge triptych imbedded in a chip in the back of their Halloween masks to activate, causing vermin to erupt from their heads.

Image result for halloween three stonehenge"

Pretty out there? Yeah.

A ludicrously complex plot depending on a set of unlikely and uncontrollable variables that could never hope to line up? Well……except for the Stonehenge bit (“You’d never believe how we got it over here”) maybe not!

Recently, reading some people nitpick the movie on Facebook, a couple criticisms jumped out at me and got me thinking and reminiscing about Halloween in the south Chicago suburbs in the 80’s.

Somebody remarked that The Silver Shamrock corporation had this huge factory in Santa Mira just to churn out three Don Post Halloween masks, the skeleton, the witch, and the pumpkinhead, and that it was highly unlikely three simple mask variations would catch on that big.

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But I think, like most people born after 1975, they never heard of Kooky Spooks.

A couple years ago I brought up the flash in the pan Kooky Spook phenomenon on the Six Demon Bag Podcast and it was only a vague memory to my co-host Jeff Carter.

But, a Googling of the term will yield results.

Like this!

OK it was nine variations instead of three, but these things sold like hotcakes. Almost everybody at St. Andrew The Apostle’s in Calumet City, Illinois wanted or had one of these things.

They consisted of a plastic poncho with some reflective tape, an inflatable vinyl character head that perched atop your own head, and matching makeup. As mentioned, you had one of nine designs to choose from;

Wunkin Pumpkin, Wobblin Goblin, Scaredy Cat, Howly Owl, Spacey Casey, Wonder Witch, and Bone Head.

kookyspooks

I was Bone Head. It was the only out-of-a-box Halloween costume I ever had. Usually my mom sewed me something. She must have been relieved when whatever cartoon I was watching ended and that commercial (one of MANY I would see that year) aired, and I breathlessly begged for one.

I have vague memories of wearing it trick or treating. I remember the makeup smeared a lot (I guess it was blackface, though I kinda remember wearing white greasepaint…they upgraded the makeup to a creamier variant the year after release, so maybe that’s when I had one. I would’ve been four or five) and my adult family members thought the bulbous, bobbing plastic monstrosity on my head was hilarious. I believe it sprang a leak before the night was out and slowly deflated over my face, which my mom thought was even more hysterical.

So anyway, yeah. Kids succumbing to Silver Shamrock’s marketing bombardment and those three masks flying off the shelves? Totally could have happened in 1980.

h3

The second criticism of the Silver Shamrock plot I’ve heard – how would you ever get a bunch of kids to rush home early from tricks or treats to plunk themselves and their candy buckets down in front of the boob tube?

Easy as Doc Challis’ bedside manner.

In 1982, same year Season of The Witch was released, channel 32 WFLD in Chicagoland, home to Rich Koz/Son of Svengoolie, the pre-eminent horror host of the Midwest, promoted a special 3-D broadcast of Revenge of The Creature. You could get one of a number of collectible cardboard two-tone 3-D glasses at 7-11 (I had the Old Glory ones).

This was historically the first attempt at a 3-D broadcast in the Chicagoland area.

Like Kooky Spooks, this promotion got its hooks in me almost immediately as a religious viewer of Son of Svengoolie and big fan of The Creature From The Black Lagoon. Remember, in 1982 you couldn’t just watch whatever movie you wanted – you had to catch it on broadcast TV. I don’t think we owned a VCR till a couple years later. I wasn’t even aware there was a sequel to The Creature From The Black Lagoon, so I was crazy to watch this not miss television and I remember it was the talk of the kids as school.

Did Nigel Kneale and Tommy Lee Wallace find inspiration in Chicago’s 3-D television event of 1982? Nah probably not. They came out around the same time, so it’s just a funny coincidence.

But I mean, Son of Svengoolie had specific instructions for us kids. What we were to have on our face, what kind of TV we were supposed to watch, where we were supposed to position ourselves.

Sounds familiar….

So yeah, in 1982, Silver Shamrock could have orchestrated the mass sacrifice of the kids of Chicagoland with far less effort than they put into the Halloween Three (The masks. The Halloween 3 of the title were the three masks, don’tcha know.).

I was fully prepared to be in an ideal position to vomit crickets for a black and white 1955 movie. I didn’t even need a Big Giveaway.

So maybe you’re wondering what happened with all that. The 3-D thing, I mean.

Well, I’m told it was a bust, that the glasses didn’t work at all. I don’t know. I think I fell asleep before the broadcast. My aunt and uncle taped it for me, but I never did get a chance to watch it.

I guess I didn’t need Tom Atkins to save me.

Image result for tom atkins halloween 3"

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