Halloween III OST

A rare visit to the local record emporium secured us a copy of a much loved soundtrack which unless my memory fails has never before been released on vinyl (I could be wrong) until now. ‘Halloween III – the season of the witch’ has its admirers and detractors in equal number, its failing being that it was packaged in what is now seen as the Halloween franchise, to its credit it stands head and shoulders aloft of the whole 80’s horrorphonic / sci –fi canon, ‘blade runner’ and ‘the terminator’ excepting of course, and most importantly is, for this scribe at least, the best of the original trio of H releases. Released at a time when the notion of the film franchise as a cash cow to be exploited and abused was still a fledging silent lamb, ‘Halloween III’ sought to expand the shock / knife / man in a mask who won’t die template to incorporate the many myths, legends and horrors associated with All Hallows Eve, the idea that each would reset the formula as well as serving to start each additional project from scratch with an blank canvas. There were still masks and the occasional knives as well as some pretty novel and memorable scenes involving heads being crushed by vice pummelling hands and face smoking laser blasts. And then there was the soundtrack. Of course I won’t deny – it’d be churlish – that the original ‘Halloween’ theme isn’t now somehow synonymous with its namesakes festivities, but while the original portrayed the looming lullaby of the bogey man, ‘Halloween III’ was something altogether more penetrating – cold and detached with dread, this wasn’t merely some tunnel vision psychopath going through his little black book and unopened Christmas card lists cutting and pruning the family tree but an ancient blood-letting ritual served on a global genocide setting that featured a jolly old Irishman (Cochran), Stonehenge, cosmic star alignments, killer droids and swapped the slash / gore element of H1 and H2 for witchcraft and centred on the relatively taboo subject – at the time at least – of squarely aiming its attack on children. And okay granted the storyline was a little unfathomable and had more holes than Michael Myers hockey mask, but horror has no boundaries and makes no senses and given most had been sold on the concept of a super strong homicidal maniac who simply refused to die then then the notion of TV controlled activating micro-chips and cranium crushing masks was an idea sold on pre-order alone. And we haven’t even gotten around to mentioning the underlying anti commercialism commentary that bubbles beneath the surface throughout. However bleak visuals aside what makes Halloween III so compelling is its soundtrack. Scored and composed by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth (the former fresh from ‘the Thing’) from its opening through to its close the synthesizer based compositions craft something sparse, chilling and devoid of hope, it hinted of bleak futurism (more so no future – in truth far edgier and frightening than Vangelis’ ‘blade runner’ and perhaps a reference point and influence on Brad Fiedel’s T1 score) and a futile morbidity where a death headed edginess falls to sour and ghost the visuals with a winter grim choking dark cloak, even the chirping commercial ‘Silver Shamrock’ idents counting down the days and nights to the secret horror where creepily charmed in a disturbingly eerie unease that made gruesome play of Halloween’s trick or treat. Gone are H1’s simplistic minimal key phrases (though echoes of them ghost in at ‘drive to Santa Mira’) and in their place the tensely tight appearance of brooding silvery pulsar swathes, slowed dronal recitals and sombre sonic structures time sequenced against the visuals to maximise effect, the vibe unavoidably down and despaired in a void like apocalyptic cheerless nothingness that literally sucks in the light like some melodic black hole. Issued by Death Waltz, the packaging is faultless and quite frankly alone worth exchanging your hard earned readies for, full colourised eye catching sleeving, pumpkin coloured vinyl, huge poster and a superb information packed booklet explaining the films backstory and concept featuring commentary / interviews with both John Carpenter and Alan Howarth and including a critique by writer Kim Newman.      

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