There have been eleven Halloween movies of vastly varied quality: here's a ranking of every film, from worst to best. The Halloween series turns forty this year – which is pretty impressive, considering its creator John Carpenter never wanted a sequel. The original Halloween wasn’t the first slasher movie but it set a blueprint that would define the genre. A slew of low-budget, increasingly gory slasher movies came in its wake, including Friday The 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street, and many of the archetypes in these movies could be traced back to Halloween; the shaky POV from the killer’s perspective, the virginal heroine and the idea that sex, drink or drugs led to instant death.
Halloween’s effect on the horror landscape can’t be underestimated – which is why there was a push for a sequel. Carpenter reluctantly penned and produced Halloween II, which picks up literal seconds from the end of the first movie. Halloween II wasn’t nearly as acclaimed but it made a healthy profit. With Michael seemingly dead for good by the sequel’s ending, Carpenter attempted to turn the series into an anthology with 1982’s Halloween III: Season Of The Witch, but audience’s rejection of a Myers-free entry put paid to that idea.
Michael was brought back for the aptly titled Halloween IV: The Return Of Michael Myers and the series has branched off in unpredictable and downright odd avenues ever since. Subsequent sequels would introduce ever more convoluted aspects to the lore, only for producers to periodically hit the reset button again to wipe the slate clean. Halloween has so many timelines it's possible to rank the series by favorite continuities, let alone individual entries.
David Gordon Green’s Halloween 2018 wipes the slate clean once more, ignoring every movie bar the original, and aims to recapture the spirit of Carpenter’s gamechanger. How does it rank? Let’s take a look back on the entire Halloween saga, and rank them all from worst to best.
11. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Fans of the Halloween franchise are a passionate, opinioned crowd, and will defend even the lesser installments with vigor. Few - if any – can find much merit in Halloween: Resurrection, however. The movie is, simply put, atrocious; the script and concept are terrible, the characters utterly uninteresting, the suspense non-existant and it even undoes the fantastic ending of Halloween H20.
Jamie Lee Curtis is brought back for a contractually bound cameo in the opening sequence to retcon H20’s ending – one that’s sure to offend fans of the Laurie character – before jumping ahead to a reality show that takes place in the old Myers house. The only thing worse than the opening ten minutes of Resurrection is the final 80, which follows a bunch of charmless idiots being bumped off by Michael.
Halloween: Resurrection pretends to be making some kind of commentary on the nature of reality TV and the internet age, but it’s just a cynical, creatively bankrupt cash grab. The whole enterprise can be best summed up with the visual of Busta Rhymes kung-fu fighting with Michael Myers and beating him - twice - which may as well be a metaphor for Dimension’s treatment of the character.
10. Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers (1989)
Halloween IV was a solid, franchise rejuvenating hit, so a sequel was immediately greenlit. Sadly, the slasher movie era was winding down at this time; part five came out the same year as A Nightmare On Elm Street 5 and Friday The 13th: Part VIII, and all three were notable financial and critical disappointments. Halloween 5 was also a rushed production, being written, shot and edited less than a year after the last movie.
This results in a bizarre sequel with lots of tonal oddities. While Jamie Lloyd is the nominal protagonist, the story jumps to different characters for long stretches, making for a strained rhythm. The infamous Man in Black character makes his introduction too, in a subplot that feels almost disconnected from the rest of the movie. While Michael has had to suffer some bad masks throughout the series, the one he’s afflicted with in Revenge is arguably the worst.
It’s not all bad news. Donald Pleasence returns once again as Dr. Loomis and is a hammy delight, the movie has some interesting stylistic flourishes and an extended chase involving Jamie trapped in a laundry chute is honestly one of the most intense setpieces of any of the sequels.
9. Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995)
There was a big gap between Revenge and The Curse Of Michael Myers, which was a famously troubled production. The previous movie set up several mysteries Curse had to address - namely the Man in Black and the tattoo symbol he shared with Michael – in addition to luring back audiences burned by the last movie.
The Curse Of Michael Myers thus seeks to answer the question of what made The Shape evil – an answer that encompasses an ancient Celtic cult and a star constellation. The whole explanation is quite ludicrous and was roundly rejected by fans. The movie also opens with the needlessly graphic death of Jamie Lloyd, which sets an unpleasant tone. Paul Rudd made his movie debut as the movie’s hero Tommy Doyle, while Pleasence returns for the final time as Dr. Loomis.
Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers has some atmospheric imagery, a couple of effective stalking sequences and the occasionally inventive murder. The convoluted storyline and nasty tone work against it, however, and it never once feels scary. The movie has a well-published alternate version dubbed The Producer’s Cut, but while some fans favor it, there’s honestly not much difference in quality aside from a noticeably lamer finale.
8. Halloween (2007)
Series fans had been badly burned by Halloween: Resurrection prior to Rob Zombie’s remake, but since the filmmaker had recently directed the acclaimed The Devil’s Rejects, a fresh take on Michael seemed like it had potential. Zombie is a director very much inspired by the raw grittiness of seventies cinema like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and his style is a total 180-degree turn from the measured pacing of Carpenter’s film.
Zombie reimagines the backstory of Michael, who is raised in an abusive house and begins hurting animals as an outlet for his rage. His impulses soon turn to murder, and the film charts his gradual slip from Michael into The Shape. This first half is the strongest, but while the performances are mostly good and the violence effectively brutal, the crass, over the top dialogue and “edgy” tone are jarring. Several cameos from genre luminaries feel somewhat forced also.
The second half is basically the original movie played on fast forward, replaying many of the key beats and iconic moments (with an appearance from original Jamie Lloyd actor, Danielle Harris). Zombie feels somewhat on autopilot during these sequences but springs back to life when coloring outside the lines. Zombie’s Halloween has flashes of greatness but it feels like he would rather have made a Texas Chainsaw reboot than a Halloween movie, which hurts the final product.
Page 2 of 3: Our Halloween Movie Ranking Continues
- Halloween (2018) release date: Oct 19, 2018