Halloween is one of the longest-running horror movie franchises of all time, not unlike its two fellow ’70s-born franchises, Alien and Jaws. Now, the latest movie in the franchise, Halloween Ends (2022), marks the end of yet another Halloween timeline, and, of course, director David Gordon Green‘s new trilogy, which started with Halloween (2018).
It hasn’t all been smooth-sailing for Michael Myers, though. Like many other franchises, there have been sequels, spin-offs, reboots, and even “deboots”. But now, with 13 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.
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13. 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 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, thanks.
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 apparently 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 resulted in the first resurrection of Michael Myers.
12. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Picking up a year after Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), this 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. Samuel Loomis, who is hell-bent on taking down Michael.
Halloween fans can be a forgiving bunch, but for many, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) is so boring that it’s irredeemable. Although this might have more to do with the fact that Michael Myers actually cries in the film (you read that right), as well as the two ridiculous police offers whose appearances are accompanied by circus sound effects…
11. 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 “dangertainment”, 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) performs 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? Well, at least the movie stars Katee Sackhoff (Jen).
Related: Where to Next For the ‘Halloween’ Franchise After ‘Ends’?
10. 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 Halloween Ends). 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 kinds of nonsense, such as Michael Myers being some sort of puppet. But somehow, there’s still a pretty fun Halloween movie inside this mess. Sadly, it was Donald Pleasance’s final outing as Dr. Loomis, as he passed away while filming. There’s also a producer’s cut of the film, which has an entirely different look, score, and ending, which is marginally better.
9. 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, 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 as Dr. Samuel Loomis and Tyler Mane as Michael Myers.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007) is a film of two halves — the first 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 scene-for-scene remake of the original Halloween (the result is that it only looks better). On a positive note, Tyler Mane’s Michael Myers is one of the most memorable portrayals to date.
8. Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009)
From this point on, 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.
Related: Producer Confirms ‘Halloween Ends’ Won’t Be the Last Movie In the Series
7. 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 is pretty effective, and lends to some great chase sequences. With that said, Dick Warlock’s Michael Myers is among the worst in the series, as he feels more like a zombie this time around (perhaps it’s concussion from falling over that balcony in the previous film). 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.
6. Halloween Kills (2021)
Following the 2018 movie, Halloween Kills 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, in the form of an angry mob that’s 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 particularly shallow puddle.
5. 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 Michael Myers’ mask so very 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. So be sure to blink.
Related: Does Michael Myers Actually Talk In ‘Halloween Kills’?!
4. 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 suspense. But it’s also the theme tune, which was composed by John Carpenter himself, which is 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).
3. 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, which is no surprise seeing as the fourth entry killed Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode before it even started.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later 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. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later 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 Halloween: Resurrection retcons Michael Myers’ death.
2. Halloween Ends (2022)
Halloween Ends is finally here, which promises to be the epic conclusion to David Gordon Green’s Halloween Trilogy. But was it worth the wait? And does it work as both a Halloween movie in its own right and a satisfying conclusion to a trilogy? Perhaps it’s a little too early to tell, as there are many Halloween movies that, over time, tend to get the recognition they deserve, but we’re confident that Halloween Ends will fall into this camp.
If it’s a murder-by-numbers Michael Myers slasher-fest you’re after, you’d best go back to Halloween Kills, because you’ll be sorely disappointed. But if you’re looking for something that really tests the boundaries of the Michael Myers mythology (very few movies in this franchise have managed to pull this off), then you’ll find that Halloween Ends is filled to the brim with tricks and treats. Forget everything you think you know about Halloween movies…
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 returned once again in David Gordon Green’s revival movie. But unlike Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Halloween ignores every sequel since John Carpenter’s 1978 original, as the filmmakers wanted to bring Jamie Lee Curtis back while also doing away with the Michael Myers/brother storyline.
This is Halloween in its purest form, and seeing Laurie Strode and Michael Myers are pitted against each other once more makes for a suspenseful reunion. 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.
Related: A Recap of the ‘Halloween’ Franchise Before You Watch ‘Halloween Ends’
As per Universal Pictures, here’s the official synopsis for Halloween Ends:
Four years after the events of last year’s Halloween Kills, Laurie is living with her granddaughter Allyson and is finishing writing her memoir. Michael Myers hasn’t been seen since his last brutal rampage. Laurie, after allowing the specter of Michael to determine and drive her reality for decades, has decided to liberate herself from fear and rage and embrace life. But when a young man, Corey Cunningham, is accused of killing a boy he was babysitting, it ignites a cascade of violence and terror that will force Laurie to finally confront the evil she can’t control, once and for all.
— Universal Pictures
Halloween Ends is now out in theaters and streaming on Peacock. It stars Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode), Andi Matichak (Allyson Nelson), Kyle Richards (Lindsey Wallace), Rohan Campbell (Corey Cunningham), Will Patton (Frank Hawkins), and James Jude Courtney (Michael Myers).
How would you rank all the Halloween movies? Let us know in the comments down below!