Halloween is in the air (literally), and from witches to ghosts, monsters to demons, madmen to psychopathic killers, nothing rings in the spine-chilling season of spookiness quite like… well, the Halloween franchise of course!
With David Gordon Green’s newest entry smashing all kinds of records-not only within the franchise but in the horror genre as a whole-we decided to take a look back at every entry in the franchise released over the years, and rank them from the weakest to strongest titles.
11. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Halloween: Resurrection is by far the weakest entry in the franchise. The plot is centered around a reality TV show with a group of strangers spending the night in Michael Myers’ dilapidated house, and stars Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks… need we say more?
The effects look cheap and fake, the acting is poor and unnatural, and the kills are incredibly lackluster. While it seems that anything Halloween related that has Jamie Lee Curtis’s name attached to it will be a home-run, Resurrection definitely comes up short and disappoints fans across the board.
10. Halloween 5 (1989)
Halloween 5 picks up one year after the events of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, and follow The Shape in his attempt to kill his now-mute niece (played by a young Danielle Harris).
The film was rushed into production 6 months after the release of its predecessor, and it shows. The story is extremely convoluted, uses one of the worst masks in the series, and at one point shows Michael Myers crying? The one shining light, Donald Pleasence in his iconic role as Dr. Sam Loomis, can’t redeem this entry. And what’s with Michael’s weird obsession with farm tools?
9. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch usually has mixed feelings towards it. It’s not that it’s necessarily a BAD film… but it doesn’t really seem to fit well within the actual Halloween mythos. In fact, this film has come to be known as “the one that doesn’t have Michael Myers in it.”
With a much more supernatural approach and less of a slasher feel, the film would have been better off as its own stand-alone movie with a different title. Perhaps some of its metaphysical elements helped inspire Rob Zombie’s ghostly Halloween II?
8. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
In what would be Donald Pleasence’s final performance as the memorable Dr. Loomis, many fans felt that the massive amounts of cuts made to the film resulted in a disappointing sendoff to the iconic character.
Paul Rudd stars as the now-grown up Tommy Doyle, and dabbles once again into the supernatural realm and the sinister plans of a mysterious cult. If you plan on watching Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, try to get your hands on the ‘Producer’s Cut’ version instead of the theatrical.
7. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Following the Michael Myers-less Halloween III, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers delighted fans by returning the franchise to its slasher-esque, cat-and-mouse style horror. With believable performances once again from Danielle Harris and all-star Donald Pleasence, Michael Myers returns to Haddonfield 10 years after his original massacre to kill his seven-year-old niece.
Although the mask is almost TOO white and probably should have been aged a bit, at least this film feels like it’s actually part of the overall halloween legacy. With solid kills and creepy, stalker-like shots the remind us of the original, Halloween 4 is definitely worth giving a watch.
6. Halloween II (2009)
Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Rob Zombie has a unique approach to filming that often polarizes audiences. After a fairly successful reboot to the Halloween origin, Zombie claimed that he would not touch another film in the series. But when producers offered to allow complete creative control over a sequel, the shock-rocker couldn’t let his beloved Big Mikey retelling fall into someone else’s hands.
The film itself is often reviled by hardcore fans of the original, but is honestly put together better than most would give credit for. The opening hospital scene pays homage to the original sequel perfectly, and is one of the most brutal and well-shot cat-and-mouse chases in the entire franchise. Halloween II is definitely worth giving another watch, but if you can, watch the theatrical ending over the DVD ending. Trust me.
5. Halloween (2007)
After the success of his debut film House of 1000 Corpses and subsequent sequel The Devil’s Rejects, Rob Zombie was approached to reboot one of the most beloved horror icons to ever slash through the genre. A daunting and difficult task no doubt, but Zombie put together an amazing cast who were able to capture the essence and mystique of the original.
What many fans disliked about the film, was the idea of giving Michael Myers a humanizing backstory, complete with a foulmouthed family and dysfunctional upbringing. While this does take away from the mystery of what made Michael snap and become a murderous psychopath, Halloween still boasts some of the most brutal kills and one of the largest and most terrifying versions of “The Shape” in the franchise.
4. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
The 90’s were a great time for slashers, and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later definitely kept up with the heavy hitters. With teenage heartthrob Josh Hartnett and the scream queen herself returning to the franchise that started it all, H20 had the perfect blend of jump-scares and building tension.
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has changed her name, and is now the dean of a Northern California private school. But when Michael catches wind of his sister’s new identity, Laurie must battle her brother one last time to save herself and her son.
3. Halloween II (1981)
Picking up right where Halloween left off, Halloween II takes place in the hospital in which Laurie is attempting to recover. Unfortunately for her, Michael is not far behind, and soon resumes his carnage and mayhem throughout the infirmary hallways.
This film has always held a special place in my heart, mainly because I can never put on a hospital gown without trying to reenact some of my favorite scenes from it. The tension is built superbly, and the hospital plays such an important part that it comes to life as a character of its own. This is one of the best sequels within the franchise, and holds up against some of the original juggernauts in the genre.
2. Halloween (2018)
After escaping from a transport bus carrying mentally ill patients, Michael Myers is on the loose again. It’s been 40 years since Laurie Strode last faced off against The Shape, but she’s been preparing for this day ever since.
Directed and written by David Gordon Green, along with Danny McBride (Eastbound & Down), this film opted to completely disregard every entry in the franchise except the original. This decision was definitely a wise one, as the creators were able to bypass the concept of Laurie and Michael being brother and sister. While some fans like the family relation, taking away these ties brings forth the idea that Michael is the embodiment of pure evil, who has no motive when it comes to who he kills.
The tone fits perfectly throughout the film, and the long takes with few cuts are a nice homage to the style and build of the original. Halloween utilizes its gore and jump scares brilliantly, and is a well thought out masterpiece that fits the franchise and does Michael justice.
1. Halloween (1978)
The one that started it all! The original Halloween is by far the best film in the 40 year span of the franchise.
“Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield to kill again.”
The concept is simple and the execution was delivered flawlessly. Jamie Lee Curtis plays the perfect girl-next-door, Laurie Strode, and Donald Pleasence became an icon as Dr. Sam Loomis. On a shoestring budget, John Carpenter was able to help define the slasher genre, and brought to life a monster who would stalk our nightmares for decades to come.
What do you think of our rankings for the Halloween franchise? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow us for all of your news and updates on everything horror related!