Halloween III: Season Of The Witch – The Inside Story Of A Cult Classic

“It was the right ending for the movie and also my own personal tribute to Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” Wallace says.  At the end of the 1956 movie, the main protagonist Dr. Miles Bennell, succeeds in alerting the authorities at a Los Angeles hospital to the imminent invasion of alien pod people capable of replicating humans. 

“I hated that ending,” Wallace said. “I discovered later that it was forced on the movie. It was an injustice and would have never happened.” In the original version shot by Siegel, the film ends with Dr. Bennell screaming as truckloads of pods arrive into the city. It’s a reaction mirrored in that of Dr. Challis, with Season of the Witch ending on a close up of Atkins, on the phone, pleading to no avail for broadcasters to cut the feed. 

In an interesting but all too predictable parallel, Universal initially objected to the downer ending, prompting Wallace to receive a call from Carpenter.  “He called me out shortly after the executives had looked at the movie just before it’s released and said they were not happy with the ending and would I consider changing it?” Wallace says.

“It was not really within my power to say no. It was John’s decision really because he had creative control. But, like a gentleman and dear old friend, he called me up and said ‘look it’s your movie. I’ll back you either way. Do you want to try to change it or do you want to stick with what we’ve got?’ It only took me a second to respond.”

Despite some critics and fans expressing dismay at the nihilistic concussion, Wallace has no regrets, saying, “I thought it made it a true horror movie.”

A crucial aspect of making that ending work was the character of Dr. Challis himself. After two entries that put scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis front and center, the casting of the middle aged Tom Atkins represented a major departure.

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