With Halloween Ends (2022) finally out in theaters and streaming on Peacock, there are now 13 Halloween movies, and between them, 10 portrayals of Michael Myers (in adult-form, that is). And here they are, ranked from worst to best.
10. Don Shanks — Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1988) is one of the worst movies in the Halloween series. Not only does it feature the worst Michael Myers mask — which is a weird, elongated design whose neck lining the filmmakers didn’t even bother to stuff inside the collar of Michael’s coveralls — it also has the worst portrayal of Michael himself.
Don Shanks is the man behind the mask, and though it’s more than likely the filmmakers’ fault, Shanks’ ineffective portrayal includes some of the franchise’s most bizarre moments where The Shape is concerned. During one sequence, Myers drives a girl around town while wearing a goofy Halloween mask, and, in a later scene, he actually cries.
9. Dick Warlock — Halloween II
This entry on our list will likely have many diehard Halloween fans screaming at the sky, but Dick Warlock’s portrayal of Michael Myers in the original Halloween II (1981) is also one of the weakest to date. The actor follows Nick Castle’s portrayal in the original 1978 film, with both installments taking place on the same Halloween night.
There’s no denying that some of Warlock’s efforts in this film are unsettling, whether it’s the scene in which he literally jumps out on a woman in her house, or the scene in which he stalks Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) through a hospital basement, but his version of Michael inexplicably moves at a snail’s pace, so much so that he poses no real sense of threat.
8. George P. Wilbur — Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Actor George P. Wilbur got to enjoy two outings as Michael Myers — one in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, and again in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995). However, as both performances are very different, we’ve decided to give him two spots on our ranking list (you’ve probably already figured out which is superior, though).
In Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Wilbur’s performance as Michael Myers isn’t necessarily the problem — it’s really the mask. The first entry in Halloween: The Thorn Trilogy is one of the strongest Halloween sequels to date, but there’s no getting past Wilbur’s mask, which lacks all those shadow-capturing contours, and makes him look startled more than scary.
7. Brad Loree — Halloween: Resurrection
Before you throw your pumpkin across the kitchen in a fit of rage, just remember that the reason Halloween: Resurrection (2002) is in seventh place on our list is because of its version of Michael Myers and nothing else. However, we’re still yet to reach a point in our ranking where all is well from here on in.
With that said, Brad Loree’s performance as The Shape in Halloween: Resurrection isn’t really one of the film’s many major problems (which include some horrible retconning, Laurie Strode’s unceremonious death, and the awful cinematography). Nevertheless, Loree’s Michael Myers amounts to nothing more than a somewhat stock incarnation. With eyebrows on his mask.
6. Chris Durand — Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
Speaking of drawn-on eyebrows, the mask in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) is really no better. In fact, there are actually four masks in this movie, including a CGI one — but let’s not carried away with the quality (and number) of masks here. So, how does Chris Durand fare as Michael Myers in the fan-favorite sequel that retcons Halloween: The Thorn Trilogy?
Unfortunately, despite Halloween H20: 20 Years Later being a great thrill-ride, Durand’s performance is one of the weaker elements of the film. While you wouldn’t want to be trapped in a kitchen with his version of Myers (he seems to like kitchens), the film makes a point of showing his eyes far too much, giving Michael Myers a sense of humanity that just doesn’t belong.
5. George P. Wilbur — Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
George P. Wilbur has returned, this time in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, having dodged the bullet that was Halloween: The Revenge of Michael Myers. Is the sixth Halloween movie any better than the fifth outing, though? Well, in a sense, yes it is. It’s still pretty bad in its own right, of course, but at least it isn’t painfully boring.
Either way, this time around, Wilbur’s performance as Michael Myers is worlds apart from his version in Halloween: The Return of Michael Myers. For starters, the mask is a huge improvement, while Michael’s overall stance feels a lot less hunched and awkward than it did before. This Michael is also one of the most brutal and terrifying versions of all.
4. Tyler Mane — Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II
Even more terrifying and brutal than George P. Wilbur’s portrayal in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, however, is that of Tyler Mane in the Rob Zombie remake Halloween (2007) and its direct sequel Halloween II (2009). While both films are generally considered a mixed bag by fans, most are in agreement that Tyler Mane’s Michael Myers is a terrifying force of nature.
At 6 ft 9, this hulking version of Michael Myers is the stuff of nightmares. While there are some differences between both of Mane’s portrayals (he doesn’t really wear his mask all that much in the sequel, instead sporting a parka jacket and a massive beard), ultimately, this Michael Myers might even give James Jude Courtney’s a run for his money.
3. Nick Castle — Halloween
Shock horror — the original Michael Myers actor isn’t in the top spot! Had we made this ranking before David Gordon Green’s Halloween Trilogy first arrived in 2018, though, then of course Nick Castle would have dominated the top spot. Nevertheless, he has been beaten by more recent versions of The Shape.
Nick Castle is brilliant as Michael Myers, and embodies the idea of what is evidently human but without humanity perfectly well. In hindsight, his version of Michael Myers is very restrained, but as John Carpenter’s original Halloween (1978) teaches us, less is definitely more, especially in a horror movie.
2. Airon Armstrong — Halloween Kills (1978 Flashback)
Many Halloween fans don’t know that, alongside James Jude Courtney, stunt coordinator Airon Armstrong also got to play Michael Myers in Halloween Kills (2021). During the 1978 flashbacks — which are among the better moments in this widely divisive Halloween installment — we see a much younger Michael Myers stalking on the streets of Haddonfield.
It’s a shame the film doesn’t spend longer revisiting that Halloween night in 1978, but Airon Armstrong’s brief portrayal of Michael Myers is nothing short of pure gold. From when he first see him evading the police, to the moment he appears in his sister’s bedroom to attack a police officer, Airon Armstrong is absolute perfection.
1. James Jude Courtney — David Gordon Green’s Halloween Trilogy
And so we arrive at the top spot of our ranking. Like actors such as George P. Wilbur and Tyler Mane, both of whom enjoyed more than one outing as Michael Myers, James Jude Courtney got to play The Shape on three occasions — in Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills, and Halloween Ends.
The difference, however, is that Courtney’s portrayal is consistent across all three movies. Say what you will about how his Michael Myers is utilized in the latest installment Halloween Ends, but he still feels like the definitive Michael Myers. From the mask to the movements, the brutality to the brute strength, the bar has been raised very high for future portrayals.
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 stars Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode), Andi Matichak (Allyson Nelson), Will Patton (Officer Frank Hawkins), Omar Dorsey (Sheriff Barker), Kyle Richards (Lindsey Wallace), and James Jude Courtney (Michael Myers). Newcomers are Rohan Campbell and Michael O’Leary, who play Corey Cunningham and Dr. Mathis, respectively.
How would you rank all the versions of Michael Myers? Let us know in the comments down below!