When John Carpenter began making his low-budget horror movie about a guy killing babysitters, he couldn't have known what the impact his slasher would make in the horror film industry today.
After its theatrical release back in 1978, 'Halloween' would soon become the foundation of all films in the slasher genre. Carpenter's original nightmare would soon help give a footing to other slashers, like “Friday The 13th" and Wes Craven's masterpiece “A Nightmare On Elm Street," while also giving the boogeyman a place in the spotlight with a massive amount of Myers-related horrors following.
As Hollywood likes to do, it grabbed Michael Myers, our beloved masked killer, by the bottom of his jumpsuit and released nine (and counting) horror flicks detailing Michael's bloody path.
Over the next 40 years, the boogeyman known as Michael Myers has been built up, ruined, rebuilt and subsequently ruined again, through its many many sequels.
While some of those films just weren't any good, you can't ignore the franchise's lasting impact on the horror industry.
With Michael Myers returning to Haddonfield once more on Oct. 19 for Michael and Laurie's final (?) showdown, it's time to look back at the “Halloween" franchise to decide what films were the best and what ones didn't make the cut in the franchise's long history.
10. “Halloween: Resurrection”
"Three years after he last terrorized his sister, Michael Myers confronts her again, before traveling to Haddonfield to deal with the cast and crew of a reality show which is being broadcast from his old home."
Despite the film being called “Halloween: Resurrection," it did anything but resurrect the series, and ironically enough, this film actually killed the film's ongoing sequel craze because it was just not good...like at all.
Not only does this film bring Laurie Strode's story to an uneventful and pretty awful end, which is a total disgrace to the character Jamie Lee Curtis crafted back in the fall of '77 when she was cast as Strode, it also failed at telling the story that it originally set out to do...like?!?!
The idea of having a film crew explore Myers' home only for him to return and kill everyone could have been really cool, but with the odd documentary style, horrible jokes, and the overall generic scares, this film is truly only for the diehards of the franchise.
9. “Halloween” (2007)
"After being committed for 17 years, Michael Myers, now a grown man and still very dangerous, escapes from the mental institution and immediately returns to Haddonfield to find his baby sister, Laurie."
Rob Zombie has many talents. Aside from being a musician, he's also a pretty talented filmmaker. Thanks to the massive success of films like “House Of 1000 Corpses" and “The Devil's Rejects," Zombie began getting quite the following within the horror community.
So, when the musician/filmmaker decided to breathe some life into Michael Myers, fans were understandably excited...until they saw the film.
Taking on an iconic film and reworking it is pretty tough for anyone, and while this film isn't bad, once you compare it to Carpenter's masterpiece, it doesn't even come close and it was kind of doomed from the start.
While the filmmaking and visuals of this film are unique to Zombie and make it bearable, there's only one massive issue in this film: Zombie made this film his own, which, I know is contradictory but give me a second to explain.
In doing so, he decided to give more of Zombie-certified dialogue, gross amounts of gore and let's not forget the worst part of it all: a backstory to the character of Michael Myers...While the dialogue and gore is a signature of Zombie and can be overlooked, the backstory with Myers' is where this film falls short.
With Myers being this scary force, not knowing his history makes him much scarier and more dangerous. So, by knowing this backstory and why he's doing these awful murders, it does take away from that mystery of the boogeyman, which was what made Carpenter's Michael so much scarier.
8. “Halloween 6: The Curse Of Michael Myers”
"Six years after Michael Myers last terrorized Haddonfield, he returns there in pursuit of his niece, Jamie Lloyd, who has escaped with her newborn child, for which Michael and a mysterious cult have sinister plans."
So...here we have “Halloween 6," and this one is kind of difficult to place in a spot. I've decided to go with the theatrical release as opposed to the producer's cut, which made this film far lower on the list than what it would have been.
This movie was interesting, but unfortunately, not even Paul Rudd could save the theatrical release of this film. Cursed, quite literally, with extensive reshoots and a very troubled production, it's amazing this film even saw the light. So..does this mean I should be nice about it? No.
It's just terrible.
As I've previously noted, giving the boogeyman more of a backstory does hinder its overall effect, and having Michael being this evil force thanks to some cult does take away his scary appeal. Adding to the fact that the whole plot of this is kind of confusing, doesn't really help the cause.
Now...if you were to watch this “Halloween," it's highly recommended to watch the producer's cut. The backstory of this weird cult is explored more in-depth and it actually makes for a pretty interesting watch, especially at the end where we see the beloved Dr. Loomistake on this curse.
7. “Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers”
"One year after the events of 'Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers' (1988), the Shape returns to Haddonfield once again in an attempt to kill his now-mute niece."
The spot that this film falls under might be a little controversial for some of the franchise's most die-hard fans...and that's okay (because it was tough putting it here, just so you know.) The end of “Halloween 4" set this movie up for a pretty interesting adventure. Instead of turning Myers' niece Jamie into an evil sharp weapon-wielding maniac like her uncle, like "Halloween 4" so beautifully set out to do, they made her a troubled mute girl that sometimes has visions of her uncle's murders.
Why? Why wouldn't you go with the logical continuation....W H Y.
Anyways, this film isn't nearly as bad as “Resurrection," but it does tend to be a drawn out, not so scary and illogical to its predecessor....plus the mask is pretty awful in this film.
While those are some pretty glaring negatives, this film also introduces one of the most interesting elements for its next film, “Halloween 6," and that is the Thorn Cult. While it doesn't really make sense in this film, it's a good set up for the next one...so it's good and a bad all mixed into one...much like this entire film.
6. “Halloween 2” (2009)
"Laurie Strode struggles to come to terms with her brother Michael's deadly return to Haddonfield, Illinois; meanwhile, Michael prepares for another reunion with his sister."
Shockingly enough, Zombie's “Halloween 2" does hit a pretty high mark on this list because it's one that sort of goes away from the franchise while still being a movie about Michael Myers (more on that later.)
Zombie's first film focused entirely on Michael, and while getting a look-see into his life was interesting, it lost a lot of people because there was no mystery left of Myers.
This one, however, is more centered on Laurie's side of the story and her attempt at recovering from the trauma of the events that happened years earlier. Of course, viewers get to see a bloodbath of death and destruction from Michael along the way, until he and Laurie have their long-awaited confrontation.
This film, while not the best, gave Zombie a chance to really experiment with his version of the franchise. While it's overly gore-y in some parts, the overall story is pretty solid and it's a surprisingly good ending to his vision of the Michael Myers and Laurie Strode saga.
5. “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later”
"Laurie Strode, now the dean of a Northern California private school with an assumed name, must battle the Shape one last time and now the life of her own son hangs in the balance."
Horror went through some pretty huge changes between the 1978 release of “Halloween" to the 1998 release of “Halloween H20." With horror flicks having their "final girl" become less of a victim and more of a force to be reckoned with, “H20" saw a major evolution in Laurie Strode's character.
Laurie being the aggressor against Michael isn't the only big changes that the franchise went through for this film. Having gone through four sequels of varied success prior to this film's release, the creators of this film decided to go back to what works in the Myers' mythology.
Ignoring the cult stuff and the fact that Jamie is Laurie's daughter, the film is set to be a direct sequel to “Halloween 2," and it's very clearly evident of that with how close they paid homage to those original two movies. Plus, you get a nice little trilogy of the three films...
4. “Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers”
"Ten years after his original massacre, the invalid Michael Myers awakens on Halloween Eve and returns to Haddonfield to kill his seven-year-old niece. Can Dr. Loomis stop him?"
After stepping away from Myers for one film, the creators decided to go back to the mythology of Michael Myers for “Halloween 4." The return of Myers was the beginning of very confusing plot points that would plague the series to come, but that's not necessarily this film's fault.
If anything, this film was the set up to what could have been a really interesting dynamic, if, you know, the “Halloween 5" creators actually knew how to continue a story.
This film, unfortunately, doesn't reach the heights that its predecessors were able to accomplish, but at its core, it was a “Halloween" movie through and through. Not only did this film have the typical "cat and mouse" games that Michael likes to play with his victims, but it's also pretty scary and it builds to an amazing finish....like a really good twist ending and WHY DIDN'T “HALLOWEEN 5" CONTINUE WITH IT.
3. “Halloween 2” (1981)
"While Sheriff Brackett and Dr. Loomis hunt for Michael Myers, a traumatized Laurie is rushed to hospital, and the serial killer is not far behind her."
The 1981 “Halloween” movie was a real-deal sequel to Carpenter's nightmarish tale. With most of the franchise, creators have had to find a way to bring back the villainous Michael Myers, but the plot to this one was gift-wrapped and sent to the horror flick's director, Rick Rosenthal.
For the people who thought the first film lacked in any major horror or gore element, this film is for you. Rosenthal upped the blood and body count in this film, and while guts and gore are present, the film does lack at a real pace. Trying to mimic Carpenter's perfected slow build from the 1978 original, this film tries that and consequently fails at that creepy pace.
The film, while lacking in overall movement, does have a huge plotline introduced that's the basis to all the following “Halloween” films, and that's the fact that Michael Myers is actually killing off his bloodline (thanks to Laurie being his sister, ya' know.)
2. “Halloween 3: The Season Of The Witch”
"Kids all over America want Silver Shamrock masks for Halloween. Doctor Daniel Challis seeks to uncover a plot by Silver Shamrock owner Conal Cochran."
Ah, yes, a “Halloween" movie that doesn't feature our masked killer is high on the list, and for good reason.
Appreciation for “Halloween 3" has only come in recent years, thanks to people finally realizing just how good this movie is. As some might know, John Carpenter didn't want to live in the shadows of the shape for the entire franchise. In fact, Carpenter has gone on record to share that his original plans for the "Halloween" franchise were to make it an anthology series centered on the holiday.
Unfortunately for Carpenter and the fans who can see just how fantastic "Season Of The Witch" actually is, popular demand really wanted our famed masked killer. While they can't be to blame, they are missing out on a pretty great film...now let's talk about it.
Focused on Halloween masks and an evil scientist who devises a plan to execute the mass murder of millions of children around the world in the way of wearing his Halloween masks. It's a messed up plot but oh my, it's so good, and truly a pretty interesting, and satisfying, piece of sci-fi horror.
While this film doesn't have the same scary takeaway as the film's with Myers in them, don't let that fool you...this film is pretty scary.
1. “Halloween” (1978)
"Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield to kill again."
Given the fact that this movie inspired a whole slew of movies, it's hard to pick any other "Halloween" film that isn't the original film as the best in the franchise.
While it's been 40 years since the original terrorized its way into the minds of audience members, that doesn't mean it has lost its menacing effect. Sure, horror movies have evolved in their scares in recent years, but Carpenter's classic has stood the test of time in the scares department.
Thanks to the simple nature of the plot, the fantastic execution from all parties involved (from the DP to the scenic designers, this film was executed beautifully) and the horrifying score that was crafted by Carpenter himself, have helped make this movie not only the best in the franchise, but one of the best horror films of all time.
With the new “Halloween" movie almost to theaters, and the holiday almost here, it's a given you'll be seeing more of these rankings pop up on your timeline. While I'm not saying this is the correct ranking, I think it's a pretty good one (but I'm totally biased!)
Where would you place the “Halloween" movies, would you give “Halloween 3" the recognition it deserves?! Let me know by commenting below!