Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Complete Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Music by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth
Alan Howarth Incorporated – 2007
Let’s get something straight. The music for Halloween III: Season of the Witch is one of the best soundtracks for a movie ever made. If it’s not the best score in the Halloween series, then it comes in second right behind Halloween. I personally think it’s one of the most underrated scores in cinema history.
This Limited Edition (1000 units) consists of; the original soundtrack (first 12 tracks) and thirteen never before released bonus tracks (the last 13 tracks).
The Original Soundtrack
“Main Title” establishes a dark serious atmosphere from the first swiping keyboard line. The composition builds to match the computerized image of the pumpkin seen in the opening credits of the film. A brooding keyboard churns under higher synthesized parts that flicker and pixilate like the onscreen Jack-O-Lantern.
Alan Howarth says in the linear notes, “Using cutting edge technology of the day, we would play our synthesizers with synchronized audio and video tape and build tracks of musical elements; this was before digital sequencers and sampling” You can really hear this advanced technological approach in the composition of “Chariots of Pumpkins.” There’s a cool propulsive keyboard line that amazingly brings to life the adrenaline of Harry Grimbridge (Al Berry) being chased down by the mysterious men in business suits. One of the most interesting parts of this cue (listen carefully), is the slow tap of the tambourine, which sounds related to Escape From New York.
You definitely get the sense of traveling during “Drive to Santa Mira.” The music is kind of light and airy, yet conveys the destination may prove to be troublesome.
There is sternness to “Starker and Marge.” In the end, you hear the full release of terror these characters experience from watching the Silver Shamrock commercial, while wearing the deadly Halloween masks.
The pounding of the high metallic instrument over the deep throbbing keyboard line in “First Chase” certainly influenced the composers’ music in Christine.
You sense danger coming from “Robots at the Factory.” The underlining drone brings considerable menace to the cue.
My daughter loves hearing “Halloween Montage.” This is the audio blurb, narrated by Director Tommy Lee Wallace that supports the Silver Shamrock commercial. It has a bunch of kids singing “Happy, Happy Halloween” with circus-like instrumentation and a clap-track to provide a form of percussion.
“Hello Grandma” has gloomy synthesizers that swirl around clanging metal hits and high register strings. It’s actually the longest piece on this entire soundtrack running just short of five-minutes.
“The Rock” looms large, like the massive pillars from Stonehenge. Carpenter and Howarth give the composition not just atmospheric importance but are able to create history, an audio back-story of sorts to support the prehistoric monument.
When I listen to “Challis Escapes”, I can visualize Tom Atkins character searching out Ellie (Stacey Nelkin) and breaking free of Colonial Cochrane’s (Dan O’Herlihy) evil clutch. This track has the composing duo’s signature of low synthesizers augmented with deep pounding drums, metal like high strikes and gyrating keyboard lines.
“South Corridor” teeters along the edge of suspense as high-pitched keys inch along the border of anxious uncertainty to the outcome.
The final curtain call of the original soundtrack comes in the form of “Goodbye Ellie.” Darkness drifts from the music condemning the characters to certain doom.
The Bonus Tracks
I’ve got to say “Hey Boom” is one of my top-5 movie music tracks of All-Time. The first low keyboard always extends down grabbing me by the balls. There’s something powerful about the lowest parts of the harmony getting your full attention, putting you on alert to the immediate threat of danger. But this isn’t the only reason while this cue rules. The way tension is racketed up is expertly constructed with multiple layers of synthesized elements working in conjunction to make it more and more frightening. When you combine this music with Dean Cundey’s expertly lit cinematography and camera movement during this scene; where the robot business man kills Harry Grimbridge with his bare hands in the hospital, then walks out to blow itself up in a car, cements its cinematic greatness.
“Mask Test Tone” is a dark stroke from the composers.
“I Really Love This” plays along the lines as “Drive to Santa Mira.” It’s got that traveling aspect, which comes from the clomping-like musical steps moving within.
There is a pensive mood to “Local Boy, No Way.” Audio stingers strike during “The Factory” to let you know it’s not just a Halloween mask facility.
Tension drifts over “I think Its Time.”
The Man Who Killed” has to be supportive of Colonial Cochrane. It’s got this wicked composition of keyboards working in unison to make you fear him.
A heavy dark drum thumps “A Pleasure Doing Business.” The music makes it seem like there is no hope for tomorrow and that the end of the world is near.
“Halloween III Close/Open” is just that. The same cue that supports the beginning credits, wraps the closing titles as well.
The classic Carpenter/Howarth high tension sound hovers above ‘Where Is She?” Then the duo concocts a series of electronic instrument embellishment to punctuate the piece.
“It Will Be Morning Soon” takes the music movement of the previous tune further along toward the hopeless future.
“Stonehenge” is sold as rock with keys that scale up its large dimension to give you a sense of its grandeur.
There’s nothing funny about “I Do Love A Good Joke.” Scalding synthesized notes jab like a molten-hot tipped fire poker to the belly. Deep keyboards enforce the seriousness of this film about Gaelic Festival Samhain and dark witchcraft.
Altogether Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Complete Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is 67-minutes of movie soundtrack magnificence.