Ranking the ‘Halloween’ Films
Updated: Oct 30, 2018
It’s official: The Boogeyman is back! The recent release of Halloween has moviegoers and fans of the original Halloween rejoicing. The film has made a much bigger impact than many expected, already grossing over $120 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing film in the franchise. And to top off the film’s success, Halloween is receiving rave reviews from fans and critics.
With all this success, combined with the fact that this past October 25th marked the 40th anniversary of the release of the original Halloween, it’s safe to say that we have seen the return of everyone’s favorite visitor on Halloween night: Michael Myers.
So how does the latest Halloween stand up against the others?
Today I am going to be ranking ALL of the films in the Halloween franchise, including Rob Zombie’s remake and sequel as well as the most recent film now playing in theaters everywhere. If you are a devoted fan of the Halloween franchise like me, you know there are some Halloween films that are a blast to watch and then there are some that are, well…we’ll get to that.
So now it’s time to review the good…
And the bad…
Are you ready?
(FYI: Major spoilers ahead)
Halloween II (2009)
Rob Zombie’s sequel to his 2007 remake perpetuate all the stereotypes of a Rob Zombie film only this time, Rob Zombie is so in denial that he is creating an “Art” film that some Halloween fans actually believe it is. The gore goes up 1000% from Zombie’s remake (which is saying something), the language is so overly foul and disgusting that you can’t hear a single line that doesn’t drop an F* Bomb. Almost every girl is naked when being killed. We have to be subjected to Rob Zombie’s wife Sheri Moon Zombie’s acting that is far scarier than Halloween II itself. If there is anything that Halloween II has going for itself, it’s interesting to see Michael be far more sinister in his behavior. In this movie, Michael grunts, groans, and is an unstoppable killing machine. Halloween II, much like the remake had so much potential and perhaps in the hands of a serious director, not someone just out to disgust people, this film could have been much higher on my list. A complete disgrace to the franchise.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
The one thing that puts Halloween: Resurrection above Halloween II in my list is the fact that it is so bad, but I am able to laugh at how ridiculously bad it is. I mean seriously? Busta Rhymes defeating Michael Myers with…Karate? Halloween: Resurrection was nothing but an attempt to cash in on the success of H20 a few years earlier and audiences and fans of the Halloween franchise did not buy it. The excuse for bringing Michael back is not completely ridiculous but did we really need another “found footage” movie? (Blair Witch rip-off?). And after Laurie’s awesome redemption in H20, we see her character killed off in such a weak and ineffective way. The horrific plotline of Halloween: Resurrection forced Directors in the future films to overlook the events of Halloween: Resurrection. But considering the outcome, that’s probably a good thing.
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
After Michael Myers’ triumph at the box office in Halloween 4 a year earlier, producers rushed into Halloween 5. And that is the operative word: Rushed. In a film that is very choppy and all over the place, we see an attempt to show a human side to Michael before he tries to murder his niece. This does not work at all. Also, we see one of the worst masks in the franchise (Why producers always felt the need to change the mask in every film is beyond me). Plus, we see the way-too-early demise of Rachel, one of the best characters in the entire franchise. Watching Halloween 5, you get the feeling that the film was directed by several different people because there are so many unanswered questions throughout the movie and while the ending is good, we still leave with dozens of questions.
Rob Zombie’s remake Halloween received both positive and negative feedback on the fact that half of the film centers on Michael Myers’ childhood and explaining the reasons behind the madness that turned Michael into a serial killer. While the film does have it’s good parts, it is almost impossible to watch the movie all the way through because as usual, Zombie’s writing is so over the top with bad language and disgusting humor that you cannot possibly take it seriously. All you have to do is watch the scene where Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton), Annie (Danielle Harris), and Lynda (Kristina Klebe) are walking home from school and realize that the dialogue is so foul and nasty (No high school girls talk like this!) that you can’t wait for Michael to get a hold of these people.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Also known as the film with that annoying song! (Eight more days 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. Eight more days 'til Halloween, Silver Shamrock). Or better yet, known as the film without Michael Myers. I mean, come on! You see a movie poster with the words HALLOWEEN spread across it, you immediately think of Michael Myers. Looking to go in a different direction in the Halloween series, producers John Carpenter and Debra Hill created Halloween III with the intention of it being the start of Anthology series, where every year a horror film would be released centered around Halloween night with different plots and characters. Needless to say, fans were extremely disappointed by the false advertising of Halloween III and it wasn’t until the following sequel in the Halloween franchise that would reintroduce Michael Myers to the public. As a stand alone film, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is actually a very good scary film. Conal Cochran is one of cinema’s most terrifying villains and had this film never been associated with the Halloween franchise, it may have been more favorable among audiences.
Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
This was the film that clarified the meaning of the curse of the Thorn and revealed the identity of the infamous “Man in Black” in Halloween 5. Undergoing several script rewrites and casting issues, Halloween 6 tries to answer a lot of the questions we had after Halloween 5 but fails to do so. The idea of there being a satanic cult forcing Michael to kill everyone in his bloodline is actually an interesting plot but many scenes in the film seem like they are out of order which just adds to the confusion. Also confusing is watching Paul Rudd playing a very serious role but it’s pretty amazing to watch him in films now and look back at Halloween 6 as being his first starring role. Some of the good qualities of Halloween 6 is that the death scenes harken back to some of the original films and Michael’s mask is one of the best in the franchise. If you’ve already seen Halloween 6, I recommend watching The Producer’s Cut (now available on Blu-ray). It features about 20 minutes of additional footage and an alternate ending that in my opinion is far better than the theatrical release. This is also the final film to feature Donald Pleasence as series lead Dr. Loomis who died shortly after production.
Halloween II (1981)
Picking right where the original film left off, Halloween II is a fantastic sequel that really follows the core elements of a standard horror film. It introduces the “Brother-Sister” storyline which some fans say ruined the franchise. I personally see it as way to build what was initially a sequel into a series of films which is eventually what happened. 90% of the film takes place inside Haddonfield Memorial Hospital and in doing so, Michael kills his victims in unique ways, using things like needles as weapons. Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the franchise donning a bad wig as her hair was short at the time. The main downside to Halloween II is that Laurie Strode is not utilized as much in the film as she could have been. However, the plotline is great and while not as original as well, the original, Halloween II gets the job done.
Technically, the third sequel in the franchise, Halloween takes place 40 years after the events of the original film of the same name and ignores all the other sequels in the series. We see the return of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode only this time she is nothing like the character she plays in Halloween H20. This time around Laurie is stilling living in Haddonfield as a recluse shooting guns and making her home into a defense system against the one man she is determined to get revenge. Another great addition to the film is the return of the original Michael Myers, Nick Castle. As a film, Halloween works on so many levels. There are great moments that pay homage to the original film and because all the films following the original Halloween are scrapped, Michael is not Laurie Strode’s brother, but just this unstoppable killing machine. That being said, there are definitely some big question marks upon watching this film. Despite a huge buildup, the final confrontation between Laurie and Michael is quite underwhelming. Overall, if you have seen all of the Halloween films, you may be a little disappointed with this new addition to the franchise but if you are a fan of just the original film, you will look at this the way many viewed Halloween H20 which in my opinion had a much more official ending.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
After the disappoint of Halloween III: Season of the Witch, executive producer Moustapha Akkad decided it was time to bring Michael Myers back to Haddonfield. After being transferred from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium (conveniently on October 30th), Michael Myers escapes and returns to Haddonfield to kill his niece Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris). One of the best qualities about Halloween 4 is that it goes back to the basics of the original film, only this time, those affected by the events in Haddonfield on Halloween 1978 are out for revenge against Michel Myers. The film has a lot of great moments including one of my favorite scenes in the franchise, the roof battle between Rachel and Michael. Rachel Carruthers is right up there with Laurie Strode as my favorite final girl in the franchise and I will never forgive the writers of Halloween 5 for killing her off so suddenly. Halloween 4 became a major box office success and it marked a resurgence in the Halloween franchise.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
All it takes is watching the opening credits to realize just how incredible the buildup to this film is! Made right at the height of the Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer period, Halloween H20 is a quintessential 90’s horror film. We see the return of Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis who plays Keri Tate, a headmistress of a posh private school in California who is living a double life, trying to overcome the trauma that affected her 20 years prior, until her brother finally finds her, and she must face her biggest fear. That moment Keri (aka Laurie Strode) meets Michael face-to-face for the first time in 20 years…chilling. That moment Laurie decides to stop running and while holding an axe shouts for Michael…thrilling. H20 often gets looked down on by fans of the franchise, mainly because of the several terrible masks (including a horrendous CGI mask) used in the film. But if you overlook that, Halloween H20 is a great horror movie that really pays homage to the original film and for me, the ending is the PERFECT way to complete the franchise.
John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)
The film that started it all. Not just the creation of Michael Myers, but the creation of the slasher film genre. What started off as a small independent film quickly became one of the most iconic horror films of all time. John Carpenter’s Halloween is in a class all its own. It introduced the human ideal of the Boogeyman. It introduced us to the concept of a final girl. It introduced us to what the standard rules of surviving a horror movie should be. Everything from the simplistic way it is filmed, to that haunting musical score, Halloween is far more than a horror film, it is a shining example of what a classic original film should be.
Whether you are a fan of the entire series or prefer to just stick with the original, there is no denying that the story of Halloween and the character of Michael Myers has created a reputable stance that is to forever remain cemented in pop culture.
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