The Halloween franchise is one of the most iconic, longest running horror film franchises going, just like Michael Myers himself the franchise has proven an unrelenting force churning out ten films. It’s not quite Friday the 13th prolific but it’s heck of a lot of stalking and killing. So what better time to rank the entries of the Halloween films than at that time of year from which the film takes it’s name, Halloween.
10. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, 1995
Pretty much everything about this film is just wrong, rubbish or boring. The production of the film was beset with problems including the death of Donald Pleasence, and you can feel every cut, re-shoot and script death whilst you watch it. The only interesting tid bits of the film are Paul Rudd making one of his first film appearances as Tommy Doyle, who was the young boy Laurie Strode babysat in the first film, and…nope, that is actually it for anything interesting about this film. The troubles of films production are a more satisfying read than watching the film.
9. Halloween III: Season of the Witch, 1982
Following the murder of a shop owner, who during a mad moment in a hospital claimed “They’re going to kill us” whilst clutching a halloween mask, a doctor and the victims daughter team up to investigate his death. As they dig deeper into the case they discover the sinister intentions of a company known as Silver Shamrock Novelties.
Had Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers not been so completely and utterly inept this tragic piece of film would have found itself rock bottom. Now the reason this film is so low has nothing to do with the fact it doesn’t feature Michael Myers, in fact it’s one of the few admirable things about it. The film was intended to be the start of the Halloween franchise becoming a series of standalone films that dealt with different aspects of Halloween and horror. Unsurprisingly it ended up as the only standalone film in the series thanks to appalling dialogue, ropey acting and an incredibly ridiculous relationship/sex scene that develops between actors with a 24 year age gap. It’s the kind of development that only exists in an eighties horror. However that being said, it must be given props for the creation of Silver Shamrocks Novelties as a cool evil organisation with a rather scary TV advert.
8. Halloween Resurrection, 2002
Three years after Halloween: H20 the house that Michael Myers lived in, and killed in, is now being used as a setup for a live streamed internet reality horror show. Unfortunately for the producers, and the young cast who’ve won their way onto the show, Michael Myers has come home.
Rick Rosenthal who directed Halloween II back in 1981 returned to direct the last instalment of the franchise before it was rebooted. Unfortunately he didn’t have quite the success as he did the first time round. Though Halloween Resurrection is by no means a bad film, it is just a bog standard slasher. However helping prop itself up in this list is the unforgettable one liner from Busta Rhymes as he challenged Michael Myers to a showdown, how can you not laugh hysterically at “Trick or treat, motherfucker”?
7. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, 1989
After spending a year in a coma following being hunted and attacked by local police forces Michael Myers awakes to once again hunt down his niece Jamie Lloyd in Haddonfield. Jamie following the events of the previous film is now rendered mute, but appears to have developed a telepathic connection to her murderous uncle.
At least they tried with this film before they moved onto the forgettable sixth film in the franchise. Evolving from slasher genre to supernatural science fiction with telepathy, mysterious men in black and the use of the Curse of Thorn It added new wrinkles to the series but failed to fully bring them to fruition. On first watch it was really intriguing to think where they might take it, but then it all went down the pan. That being said, Donald Pleasence’s Dr. Loomis was a bit bat shit crazy, after 3 previous films he has perfected the art of shouting down anyone who doesn’t believe Michael Myers is alive and kicking.
6. Halloween, 2007
In 2007 the series was rebooted/remade/reimagined by Rob Zombie. Using the traditional story from John Carpenters Halloween, the remake follows Michael Myers hunt down his sister Laurie whilst obliterating everyone in his path. The film also acts as a slight prequel as we explore Michael Myers childhood, and some of his motives for his actions.
Say what you will about Rob Zombie but the man is a unique voice in the world of film, and horror, a world with so much monotony and lack of originality. I’m not adverse to remakes as long as they craft something different to the original rather than follow it beat by beat, and this is what Zombie does here. The prequel elements don’t feel tacked on or unnecessary as they provide an interesting insight into the behaviours of a psychotic young boy who develops into a killing machine. Tyler Mane’s is seriously imposing with his gigantic frame as Myers, and Malcolm McDowell’s Dr. Loomis is a better, more fleshed out version than in the original films. There is a bit too much screaming going on, and the mystery that emanates from the original may not exist here, but had Zombie tried to remake Carpenters fully then it would have been a disaster.
5. Halloween II, 2009
Following the events of the remake, Laurie discovers that Michael Myers is in fact her brother following the release of an exploitative book by Sam Loomis who capitalises on the horrific events of the first film. As a result she slowly slips into insanity as Michael makes an unwelcome return to Haddonfield.
For reasons similar to the first remake, this sequel by Rob Zombie is unhindered by any aspect of the original franchise and he was able to craft his own film. It’s admittedly a grisly film with it’s fair share of violence, but the surreal nature of Laurie and Michael’s descents into madness make it an oddly intriguing watch. Dr. Loomis’s evolution into a man profiteering from death is a welcome addition to the character, making him all the more believable. This sequel is one of the most original to follow any slasher franchise, and it doesn’t succumb to the stale nature of the genre which sets it apart from the rest of the field.
4. Halloween II, 1981
Immediately following the events of the first film, Laurie is rushed to the local Haddonfield hospital to be treat for injuries, whilst the whereabouts of Michael Myers remaining a mystery. Dr. Loomis remains in pursuit of the deadly shape which leads him in Lauries direction as Michael begins a rampage throughout the hospital.
The original sequel to the first film is a good one, so good it makes it into the top 3. I remember first watching this as part of a double VHS with the first film and I started off liking it just as much as it’s predecessor. Since then I’ve grown up and realised it’s not quite on par with what came before but it’s still a solid slasher film that is alot better than most of the films that followed it. Though the film takes place straight after the first film, it certainly feels rather different to what John Carpenter created and more in line with it’s contemporary slasher films. The gore is ramped up, and Michael Myers has significant screen time in comparison to the first film. Though it’s a stylistic departure from it’s predecessor, it still holds it’s own as a slasher film.
3. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, 1988
10 years following the events that rocked Haddonfield, Michael Myers suddenly awakens from a coma and starts to hunt his niece Jamie Lloyd. Donald Pleasence returns as Dr. Samuel Loomis as he frantically tries to warn the town Michael is back, and is on the hunt.
Considering this films came out in 1988, when the slasher genre was well and truly saturated with gory films, director Dwight H.Little did a great job in reigning in the violence that so lavishly accelerated in Halloween II. In fact the film plays like a truer sequel to the first film than the second entry. The story remains similar as Michael Myers hunts down a relative, but with some decent additional elements including a Haddonfield lynch mob trying to prevent the same disaster they experienced 10 years ago, and teens pranking in copycat costumes. It also has one of the best endings in the Halloween series, which was so tragically ignored and not fully realised in the next film.
2. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, 1998
Ignoring parts 4-6, Halloween H20 takes place as you might have guessed it, 20 years after we last saw Laurie Strode in Halloween II. Now working as a head mistress at the boarding school where he son studies Laurie has moved on with her life. Unfortunately for Laurie and her son John, and the other students who’ve secretly stayed behind from a trip to Yosemite, Michael has discovered their location and is on his way for a family reunion.
Halloween H20 is a class above most of the sequels, and the remakes, in part thanks to Scream and it’s revival of the slasher genre. The acting is much better, the direction is effective and though the story is straight forward it works. As a result of the film director Steve Miner goes down as the only person to direct both a film from the franchises of Halloween and Friday the 13th. He also directed the remake of Day of the Dead, but we won’t talk about that.
1. Halloween, 1978
Like you didn’t see this coming. The night he came home was the night one of the best horror films ever made happened. After a 21 year old Michael Myers escapes Smith’s Grove Sanitarium he returns home to Haddonfield with Dr. Samuel Loomis in pursuit. After hiding out in his home he begins to stalk local girl Laurie Strode throughout the night of Halloween, dispatching a number of teens on his way to her.
John Carpenter’s independent horror film helped rejuvenate the slasher genre and instigate the plethora of horror franchises we have today. It’s a tense brooding film that masters the art of horror without bloodshed and gore. Michael Myers is an unstoppable force with a mystery behind his unrelenting nature. I’m sure everybody reading this list is likely to have seen this masterful horror film, and if not I won’t bore you with how good it is, just watch it.
So there we have it, the full Halloween franchise ranked just in time for the holiday itself. Have we annoyed you with our choices (it’s usually the case) or have we done good? Let us know.