Tis the season!!! Halloween has finally arrived and if you’re anything like me, you’ll spend the whole day watching a variety of horror films. Anything from cult classics, slashers, vampires, zombies, splatters, monsters, and anything just purely disgusting!! What a time to be alive!!
But you can’t go through the Halloween season without watching . . . well . . anything from the Halloween franchise. It has been almost 41 years since John Carpenter created one of the best horror flicks in history, and would eventually start one of the best film franchises in Hollywood. It was recently announced by Carpenter and his writers that not one, but two new Halloween films are in the making. Halloween Kills in 2020 and Halloween Ends in 2021.
But before we start debating how everything will supposedly come to an end, here is my extremely bias, personal ranking of the Halloween movies so far from worst to best:
11. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Let’s get this one out of the way. Rick Rosenthal, who directed Halloween II, gets hired to direct the follow up to Halloween H20. He did a great job last time, so wouldn’t he do the same this time around? NOPE!!! This film was a mistake from day one! I don’t expect any successful film franchise to be perfect, but this one was a absolute blunder.
For starters, it turned out that there was some conflict between Jamie Lee Curtis and the writers. The actress wanted this to be the final Halloween movie ever made, and only agreed to do it if they didn’t hint at a potential sequel at the end of the movie. They were also not allowed to kill off Micheal thanks to a clause set up by Moustapha Akkad. This may have resulted in the poor introduction where Micheal kills off Laurie Strode right off the bat. I wasn’t a fan of that. After all these years THAT is how Strode dies.
I honestly didn’t mind the idea of having a reality show at the Myers’ house where Micheal goes on a killing spree. However, you can have a decent idea and not come through, and that’s what happened here. Poor acting and camera work throughout the whole film. On top of all that, that same group of sorry writers had a sequel written and, thankfully, they didn’t go through with it. At the same time I am glad it wasn’t the last film of the franchise because Michael deserves much better.
Last year, I read an interview with John Carpenter where he admitted he never watched any of the Halloween movies that weren’t his own, except for one. That’s right, THIS one. The terrible camera work and the lame speech from Busta Rhymes at the end seemed to scare him more than the movie itself. They called it resurrection but it should have stayed at rest.
10. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
The first Halloween film of the 1990’s could have went better for fans that waited 6 years for another sequel. I could dig the idea of Jamie Lloyd having a son that is targeted by Michael, the Tommy Doyle character all grown up and played by Paul Rudd, the last film that would include Donald Pleasence playing Dr. Sam Loomis, and the cute redhead who played Kara Strode. Honestly, most of the movie wasn’t too bad, but the ending was rushed and ruins the whole film.
It was similar to Resurrection where they had a decent idea and didn’t capitalize on it. Did the writers really need to throw in a random cult that was obsessed with Micheal’s evil nature?! The whole curse of Thorn was a large stretch too. I am no Hollywood writer but as a fan you have to wonder if they had better screen play options. The scene before Michael’s return to Smith’s Grove was too random. All of a sudden everyone and their mom are in the cult. All of a sudden Tommy and Loomis are drugged up and can’t remember anything within the past hour. It all just happened with no real explanation and they cut to Smith’s Grove. Not what I would expect from high paid Hollywood writers.
You have Tommy Doyle who has an obsession with Michael. There could have been a story line where Doyle and the Strodes reveal secrets of Michael’s past while trying to avoid him. Put that along with one last stand off with Dr. Loomis. Just an example. Something that would have been a fitting back story to the Halloween saga.
My point being, The Curse of Michael Myers I felt was random and a reach. The previous films before it had a solid story line with brutal kill scenes. This one seemed to lack both.
9. Halloween II (2009)
I do enjoy Rob Zombie’s music and some of the horror films he has created over the years. However, his Halloween II was disappointing to say the least. The movie does include some of Myers’ goriest kills in the whole franchise. It does tend to keep you on your seat throughout the film. But the whole story leaves much to question why he went the bizarre direction he did with this one.
For starters, I didn’t dig the whole “time to come home” thing. I don’t mean to be a dick but I think that was just to keep his wife in the story, since her character died in the first one. I do understand he did not want to make another Halloween movie after this one, and he did what he needed to do to make that happen. There were two big issues I had with the film.
One, never once has adult Michael ever said a word in any of the films. In this one, Zombie had him say “DIE!”, in the final scene. I’m all for breaking tradition and trying something new, but there are just some things that shouldn’t be touched. Michael Myers is the silent killer and should stay that way. It keeps the mystery of the character. The second issue I had with the film was how it ended. The way Michael dies and Laurie’s reaction to the whole thing just was odd. After all Laurie goes through with him, she decides to tell him she loves him while he’s dying. Then puts his mask on and walks outside to the trigger happy police. I know she was a psychotic mess but what the hell went through her mind there?! I mean she does go to an insane asylum at the very end, but still!! But it wouldn’t be a Rob Zombie movie without stepping over boundaries.
8. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
The only Halloween film to not feature Michael and the last one John Carpenter did until he returned to the franchise in 2018. Instead of making a movie of a slasher, Carpenter and his team turned their attention to a science fiction tale about a company owner using popular Halloween masks to kill children on Halloween night. Carpenter wanted this movie, along with the previous two, to start an anthology series of horror movies based on Halloween night. All different stories, characters, and potential sequels. However, Season of the Witch did not receive good reception from the viewers, and Carpenter’s plans for the series were eventually scrapped.
Even though many fans really didn’t dig this one, I actually don’t mind it. It does start off pretty slow but I thought the story line was well put together. I think the lack of horror and odd special effects really hurt the film. When the audience wants to watch something scary, they tend to prefer the best special effects possible with a less complex story line. That was not the case for Halloween III. I’m not one who likes Hollywood to remake everything, but a remake of this film maybe something to consider. If you get the right people and re-arrange the story a bit, you could have a solid horror flick. However, there is a fan base the film has that many horror flicks don’t, and that says something.
7. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Micheal Myers (1989)
The second film involving Michael attempting to kill his niece, Jamie Lloyd. Halloween 5 had some solid kill scenes and supposedly was going to be the goriest of the franchise. But at the time the film makers were fighting an X rating and had to cut down on the violence. It makes you wonder if we’ll see a release with the original production. The only real downside to this film is that it is essentially a watered down version of Halloween 4 with the same objective and less action. This made fans feel they were just going through the motions with the previous films.
My biggest criticism with this one is how they portrayed Jamie’s character. The telepathic episodes and her inability to speak seemed like an odd direction to go. After the fantastic cliff hanger they gave the fans with the previous one, it was a disappointing way to continue the series. The big positive I will give this film was the coffin in the attic scene, where Jamie for a minute excepts her fate at her uncle’s hands and asks for him to remove his mask before he attempts to kill her. He does so and the camera shoots at Michael’s cheek where a tear begins to move down it. This would be the first real emotional connection Michael gives any person in the series. Such an iconic scene.
6. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
The first Halloween to feature Jamie Lee Curtis since Halloween II and the first one not to include Donald Pleasence (Dr. Loomis). This would be a direct sequel to Halloween II, dismissing the timeline of four through six. Micheal Myers finds his sister 20 years after the deadly Halloween night in Haddonfield.
All in all, many fans are on the fence about this one. The majority of reviews seem to be overall positive and I am right there with them. This isn’t the best film of the franchise but it’s far from the worst. The return of Laurie Strode and new story line gave the fans a breathe of fresh air. I think there were a lot of fans that went into it thinking it was going to compare well with the original. If that’s your thought process going into it, you will be disappointed. It’s a solid sequel but doesn’t touch the likes of what John Carpenter and his writers did. This movie is more looked at as Laurie’s revenge as she tries to fight Michael back this time around. Just to have Laurie back in the picture brought so much nostalgia to it, which I think fans enjoyed the most.
5. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
The first Halloween film that John Carpenter was not involved in and the first one not to include the Laurie Strode character. After Halloween III disappointed many fans, Moustapha Akkad was determined to continue the series and bring Michael back. This time, the story was centered around Jamie Lloyd, Michael’s niece and Laurie’s daughter.
Despite the poor reviews when it was first released in 1988, it still stands as one of the favorites among the fans. What I enjoyed more about this film was the writers expanding Michael’s abilities. He became stronger and craftier in this film, which made him seem almost invincible. Danielle Harris, who played Jamie Lloyd, was a fantastic child actor who put on a tremendous performance. And of course, the movie had what I believe to be the best cliff hanger of the whole franchise.
The only thing I really couldn’t stand about this one was Michael’s doofy mask! Seriously! It is the worst mask of the series! Plain, white, and smooth. It looks like it had a liposuction to get all the blood and wrinkles off from the last murder streak. Fans missed the guy but they didn’t have to bring him back looking like a mime with black eyes! How could he even see with that thing is beyond me.
4. Halloween (2007)
Dimension films was desperate for a positive turn for the franchise. Remember, the previous release at the time was Halloween: Resurrection. So yeah, they needed something to help attract a new generation of viewers. They recruited rocker and horror film maker Rob Zombie to help remake the original. Zombie was given advice from John Carpenter to make this film his own. He did just that and came through.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween starts with a whole back story on how Michael became the killer we know and love. We are introduced to young Michael’s abusive life, events leading to his first murders, and his time at Smith’s Grove. Zombie also provided more brutal killings for the night he came home. He also included a desire for Michael wanting to reconnect with his younger sister while fighting the urge to slice her to pieces.
What I appreciate the most about this film is how much Zombie changed the characters to fit his style. In the original, Laurie Strode is a scholar student that tends to keep to herself except when she’s with her small group of friends. In this one, Laurie is an obnoxious, outgoing individual that isn’t necessarily known for her brain. Professor Loomis was also given a serious character change from being a doctor that generally cared about protecting the public from Michael to a greedy writer that used his experience with Michael to gain wealth. I give some serious kudos to Zombie for casting Danielle Harris to play Annie. It helped give the old school fans more nostalgia to see her return to the series.
In my opinion, Rob Zombie delivered with a fresh restart that fans were craving. It was more edging, more violent, and brought back the horror of the Michael Myers character. The only thing that hurt Zombie the most regarding this film was following it up with a subpar sequel. I think fans that really enjoyed the first one expected a little more with the second one. However, that is not to take away the fact this still sits as one of the best slasher films of the 2000’s and brought new life to the franchise.
3. Halloween (2018)
Out of all my rankings here, this one maybe the most controversial with the fans. Critics loved it, but the fans stood divided. Some felt it was the best Halloween in a long time and some felt it was the worst. I saw the movie the night it was released into theaters and I left overjoyed. There are many reasons I really enjoyed it, but the number one reason was this movie gave you a similar vibe to the original.
The movie was made to be a sequel to the original, 40 years after the night he returned home. It is the first Halloween to have Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter both involved since Halloween II in 1981. Michael escapes again and goes up against Laurie Strode who seeks revenge while protecting her family from him.
One of the main complaints from fans was the lack of violence and action. To be technical, there were probably just as many kills from this one then the first two films combined. I also expected there to be more killing, but watching it for the first time I realized that may have been done intentionally to set up for more action sequences with the sequels following it. The main focus with this one was Michael’s return and his reunion with Laurie.
I felt this was one of the better written films of the whole Halloween saga. It was more realistic and didn’t have an over the top story line like many of the sequels before it. You also got much nostalgia from previous John Carpenter Halloween movies such as similar murders to the ones in the first two movies, the kids wearing masks from Halloween III, the use of the ghost costume, and the granddaughter, Alison, being 17 years-old just like Laurie was the original. The more I watch it, the more Easter eggs I find from previous films.
We will find out the next two years if the two sequels following it can live up to the hype. As long as Carpenter is involved I think they have a shot at being something special. Classic horror movies are having a hard time developing new sequels to reach the new generation of viewers. This could be a huge step towards something special or a disappointing turn for die-hard fans.
2. Halloween II (1981)
Direct sequels to classic movies don’t always work out. Fortunately, this one did. I really don’t have a specific reason, but this one stands as my favorite out of the whole series. I love how they started right where they left off at the end of the first one as a continuation of that night of terror. Most sequels would have fast forward to modern times or set a whole new scene.
The revelation when Loomis finds out Laurie is Michael’s sister is the most iconic part of the film. It is up there with Darth Vader revealing to Luke Skywalker that he’s his father. NOT THE SAME THING!!! I don’t want any Star Wars fans coming after me. But similar in the way once the secret was revealed it made sense to the audience why things unfolded the way they did. Michael’s mission was clear and, unfortunately for him, it set up for him to be found.
This was suppose to be the final movie to feature Michael Myers, but thankfully that did not happen. You can’t kill the bogeyman!
1. Halloween (1978)
Ah yes! The very first one tops the list for plenty of reasons. The 1970’s was a decade where horror movies took a huge turning point. Classics such as The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Carrie, The Omen, and Dawn of the Dead scared the living hell out of society! These films inspired many other classic and modern day horror movies we see today. Along with this group, Halloween made its mark at the tail end of the 1970’s. It was known as the biggest slasher film since Psycho.
There are many factors that made this movie so successful. The camera work, the lighting, the music, and scenery all really meshed well together. It was like an ordinary neighborhood in an ordinary house where things went terribly wrong. The mystery behind Michael really grabbed the audience. Why at such a young age did he want to kill? Why is he wearing a mask? Why doesn’t he speak? What is his motive? It was a plot you didn’t see in many movies back at that time. Maybe even the first of its kind. But I am not a film expert so I don’t want to assume.
I think one of the reasons it was viewed as so horrifying, especially back in that time period, is the thought that something like this could really happen. You watch many horror films and much of the action is completely unrealistic. Zombies aren’t just going to come out of nowhere and kill you. Carrie, a movie made from a Stephen King book about a girl with telekinetic powers, would never happen. However, a masked man with a knife going around killing teenagers on Halloween night could happen. If you are a teenager or young adult who lived in a similar quiet neighborhood as Haddonfield, that could terrify you.
No matter what way you look at it, when it comes to horror movies Halloween will stand the test of time. They could make up to 30 different sequels, and fans will still refer to the original as a pioneer to classic horror flicks. Michael Myers will forever be an iconic part of the Halloween season. Do you believe in the bogeyman? Because I love him!