It’s all too rare in horror when you see a movie character in a state of being. The plot requires the protagonist to prioritize the film’s conflict over their own personal desires. It’s for this reason I love Tom Atkins performance as Dr. Daniel Challis in Halloween III: Season of the Witch. He doesn’t do that. Surely Challis cares about the nefarious plot of the film, but it’s not going to come before his boondoggle. When you take a step back and think about this character, it’s kind of amazing our hero is more concerned about a beer & sex walkabout than remaining at work or spending time with his children. He’s a flawed guy, brought to vivid life by Tom Atkins.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a beyond-goofy movie elevated by a character and performance that effortlessly blends a man and the man playing him into one. The best part is that it doesn’t feel like a playboy/party time artifice made up by filmmakers. Atkins as Challis is simply “What if the guy who shuts down the dive bar at 4am on a Tuesday happens to be in a Halloween mystery this week?” This character is malleable; you could take him out of this franchise and genre and put him in anything because he’s the manifestation of primal desire. He’s one of horror’s most human characters because he needs a drink before he can think.
It’s our good luck as horror fans that this man is inexplicably the lead of Halloween III: Season of the Witch. It’s a supremely entertaining, idiosyncratic, and great performance that elevates the entire film.