Alongside the likes of Alien and Jaws, Halloween is one of the longest-running horror movie franchises of all time. And more recently, it got a new installment in the form of Halloween Kills (2021), which was initially delayed due to the ongoing global pandemic.
As such, the next movie in the franchise, Halloween Ends (2022) — which will at least be the final entry in director David Gordon Green‘s new trilogy, which started with Halloween (2018) — was pushed back to October 2022. So by the end of the year, there will be 13 entries in the series!
It hasn’t all been smooth-sailing for Michael Myers, though. Like many other franchises, there have been several sequels, spin-offs, reboots, and even ‘deboots’! But now, with 12 Halloween movies to enjoy (well, some anyway), it’s time to cast a lens over the entire series.
So here are all the Halloween movies ranked from worst to best.
12. Halloween III: The Season of the Witch (1982)
Whether or not you’re a fan of Halloween III: The Season of the Witch (1982), you’ll agree that it stands out like a very sore thumb. When it was decided that Halloween should, from the third movie onwards, be an anthology series, we got an entry that not only lacks Michael Myers in its entirety, but doesn’t even occupy the same universe! No, Michael? No, thank you!
Even to this day, fans wonder what it is that makes Michael Myers immortal (is he the real bogeyman, or is he just very lucky?!). But the answer is plain and simple: it’s an evil children’s Halloween mask-manufacturer, and something to do with Stone Henge, because this flop is what forced the filmmakers to bring the masked killer back from the dead in the first place!
11. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Picking up a year after Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), the 1989 sequel sees Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) once again tormented by her uncle, Michael Myers (Don Shanks). This time, Jamie is unable to speak, having been traumatized by the events of last Halloween. Donald Pleasence also returns as Dr Loomis, who is hell-bent on taking down Michael.
Halloween fans are known for being a forgiving bunch, but for many, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) is so boring, that it’s simply irredeemable. Although this might have more to do with the fact that Michael Myers actually cries in the film, as well as the two ridiculous police offers whose appearances are bookended by circus sound effects…
10. Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)
For some time, many fans considered director Rob Zombie’s bold take on John Carpenter’s original Halloween (1978) something of a success. And it was a success — at least financially — but unfortunately, there’s really not much else to be said about this gritty, gratuitous, and gory remake, which stars Malcolm McDowell (Dr. Sam Loomis) and Tyler Mane as the iconic killer.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007) is a film of two halves — one pointlessly attempts to flesh out a back story for a killer whose ambiguity is part of what makes him terrifying, and the second is a near shot-for-shot remake of the original Halloween (which only looks better). On a positive note, Tyler Mane’s Michael Myers is one of the most memorable portrayals.
9. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Many will argue that Halloween: Resurrection (2002) deserves to be at the bottom of the pile (beneath it if that were possible), but every once in a while, a really bad movie can be really entertaining. And in the case of Resurrection, its entertainment value (or ‘danger-tainment’, if you get the reference) is, of course, for all the wrong reasons. All of them. Every single one.
Could you ever have imagined seeing a Halloween movie in which rapper Busta Rhymes (Freddie Harris) does kung-fu on Michael Myers? Or one that has the most laughable way of bringing the killer back from the dead? Or one that looks like it’s been shot on a very cheap webcam? Nope, neither can we! Well, at least the movie also stars Katee Sackhoff (Jen).
8. Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009)
From this point upwards, we have mostly good things to say about the sequels (but let it also be said that no Halloween sequel is perfect, or any sequel, for that matter). But many aren’t quite as divisive as Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009), which might just be the most violent entry so far. And that’s saying something next to the insanely gory Halloween Kills (2021)!
The 2009 sequel (which is essentially a remake of the original Halloween II) gives us a truly terrifying (and towering) Michael Myers, with Tyler Mane reprising his role. Sure, it might be a little pretentious in parts (visions of white horses and such things), but if you like your Halloween movies utterly bleak and nightmarish, you’ll probably find this one strangely enjoyable.
7. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
We finally arrive at what is perhaps the weirdest entry in the franchise (yes, even weirder than Resurrection). And there are many reasons why fans consider Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) to be a conundrum — and it has less to do with the weird performance from a young Paul Rudd (Tommy Doyle), and more to do with evil cults and runestones!
This sequel wraps up the Jamie Lloyd story arc with all sorts of silly things, such as Michael Myers being a puppet. But somehow, there’s still a pretty fun Halloween movie inside this mess. Sadly, though, it was Donald Pleasance’s final outing as Dr. Loomis, as he passed away while filming. There’s also a producer’s cut, which has an entirely different look, score, and ending.
6. Halloween II (1981)
The original Halloween II (1981) does what very few sequels have done, and picks up immediately where the previous film left off (actually, it kindly jumps back a few minutes to bring you up to speed). But this is a very different animal to its predecessor, bringing its own flavor and feel to the series, without completely abandoning the tone that makes the original Halloween work so well.
The hospital setting here is pretty effective, and really lends to some great chase sequences. With that said, Michael Myers (Dick Warlock) is among the worst in the series, as he feels more like a zombie this time around. Unfortunately, the same can be said about Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode), who has very little to say or do. Donald Pleasance is always a treat to watch, though.
5. Halloween Kills (2021)
Following the 2018 movie, Halloween Kills (2021) finds Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), Karen (Judy Greer), and Allyson (Andi Matichak) once again pitted against Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney). But this time, it’s not just a family affair, as the whole of Haddonfield joins in on the fight, when an angry mob is rounded up by local legend Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall).
Rob Zombie’s Halloween II isn’t the only divisive sequel in the franchise — Halloween Kills is certainly a mixed bag in its own right. As far as surface level entertainment goes, this is a great Halloween movie (after all, don’t we sign up to see Michael wreak havoc?). But if you’re looking for something deeper, despite its best efforts, Halloween Kills feels about as deep as a puddle.
4. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
After Halloween III, Michael Myers was brought back from the dead for the first time (but certainly not the last) in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. Although he’s actually been in a coma for 10 years, from which he suddenly wakes so that he can find his young niece (for reasons that are unknown until the weird sixth installment).
Danielle Harris is excellent as young Jamie Lloyd, and while the film feels like a stock and generic Halloween sequel, sometimes playing it safe isn’t so bad (two words: Busta Rhymes). There’s a ton of fun to be had here, even if they get Myers’ mask wrong (which also isn’t the last time in the series). In fact, there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in which the hair on his mask is blonde!
3. Halloween (1978)
While many fans would consider John Carpenter’s original 1978 classic to be the very best, there’s no denying that the film hasn’t aged all that well. It’s still a highly effective slasher movie, of course, but some of the acting leaves a lot to be desired (although Nick Castle’s Myers is perfect, and Donald Pleasence is wonderful as Dr. Samuel Loomis).
Nevertheless, Halloween is this high on our list for a reason, which really boils down to two things: atmosphere and simplicity. But it’s really the theme tune — which was composed by John Carpenter himself — that’s the real masterpiece, while the film’s less-is-more approach is akin to other genius suspense movies such as Alien (1979) and Jaws (1975).
2. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
Halloween Kills isn’t the first time the series has retconned sequels — Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) has that honor. It completely ignores Halloween 4, Halloween 5, and Halloween 6 (and Halloween III, of course), and acknowledges only the first two original Halloween movies, because the fourth entry killed Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode before it even started!
H20 finds Laurie Strode in hiding, having built a new life for herself and her son John (Josh Hartnett) in California. But soon, her brother Michael Myers (Chris Durand) returns for a family reunion. H20 is a thrilling showdown between Laurie and Michael, which even to this day, many fans consider to be the ‘real’ ending of the series, despite how Resurrection retcons Myers’ death.
1. Halloween (2018)
Just when you thought Michael Myers was dead after Rob Zombie’s Halloween II appeared to be the final nail in the coffin, he returns once again in David Gordon Green’s revival movie. But unlike H20, Halloween (2018) ignores every sequel since John Carpenter’s 1978 original. It might seem a little childish, but the filmmakers simply wanted to bring Jamie Lee Curtis back!
While Laurie Strode and Michael Myers are pitted against each other all over again, regardless of the fact they’re no longer related, this is Halloween in its purest form. It’s by no means a perfect movie, but it’s an excellent return to form for the series nonetheless. It’s also the most atmospheric, while James Jude Courtney’s Michael Myers is a truly terrifying force of nature.
Halloween Ends releases in theaters on October 14, 2022. It stars Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode), Andi Matichak (Allyson Nelson), Kyle Richards (Lindsey Wallace), Will Patton (Frank Hawkins), and James Jude Courtney (Michael Myers).
How would you rank the Halloween movies?