Michael Myers is the face of the Halloween franchise, having appeared in all films except Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which had different plans for the saga that were ultimately scratched. In 1978, John Carpenter’s Halloween introduced a new slasher villain named Michael Myers and his chosen victim, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). Three years later, Halloween II continued the story right after the events in the first film and revealed that Michael and Laurie were actually siblings.
The third film in the franchise, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, left Michael and Laurie (and the slasher genre too) behind and instead focused on a whole new story with new characters and a more sci-fi horror-oriented tone. Halloween 3 was the worst-performing film of the bunch at the time and wasn’t well-received by critics either, in big part due to the absence of Michael Myers – but there was a good reason why it took a different route far from the previous films.
Halloween was originally planned by John Carpenter and Debra Hill as an anthology series of horror films taking place around the night of Halloween, meaning that each entry would have had its own characters and setting. The Michael Myers story came to an end with Halloween 2, so he didn’t have to appear in Halloween 3, but the audience already linked the title of the film to the character, which is why it wasn’t well received. Halloween 3 had a witchcraft theme, where Dr. Dan Challis and Ellie Grimbridge’s investigation of a mysterious murder led them to Conal Cochran, the owner of the Silver Shamrock Novelties company, who was attempting to resurrect the ancient aspects of Samhain and planned to kill children through his Halloween masks and a TV ad.
Although he wasn’t part of Halloween 3, Michael Myers appeared briefly in a commercial for the first Halloween, as the film was treating the first two as fictional films. The anthology concept wasn’t well received, and Michael was brought back six years later in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers along with a new member of the family: Jamie Lloyd, Laurie’s daughter, who was living in Haddonfield with her foster family after Laurie was killed in a car accident. In the end, every story that came after the first Halloween was deemed non-canon in the recent reboot of the franchise.
After a rough initial reception, Halloween 3 has become a cult-classic outside the Halloween/Michael Myers storyline. Carpenter and Hill’s anthology idea would have been interesting to watch, and while many other films have taken the “Halloween anthology” concept (such as Trick ‘r Treat and Tales of Halloween), a whole saga in this style could have been the home of many potentially memorable villains and stories, aside from Michael Myers and Laurie Strode.