Well, we’re nearly there! Halloween is upon us and I haven’t gotten to talk about enough spooky movies yet! Last year, I wrote a piece ranking all of the Friday the 13th movies, and it was pretty well received. So in the spirit, I thought it was time to check out another series of classic slasher movies. Without further ado, here are all of the Halloween movies ranked.
11. Halloween Resurrection (2002)
As always we start at the absolute bottom of the barrel. Horror movies are supposed to make you feel terror, but 30 minutes into this heaping pile of garbage, I was begging for a serial killer to end my misery. Halloween Resurrection focuses on a reality TV show in which a group of teenagers has to spend a night in the Myers house. He shows up and well, you can guess what happens. The acting is awful, the premise is stupid, the effects are weak. The only redeeming moment of this movie is Busta Rhymes talking trash and poking Michael Myers in the chest… and then actually surviving.
10. Halloween VI – The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
While Halloween Resurrection is a prime example of a movie premise dragged out way too far, Halloween VI is just a movie that got butchered in the editing room. Legend has it that the original cut of the movie tested poorly with the boys’ age 12-15 demographic. This lead to the studio rushing a new cut to the theater and it was awful. I’m not going to explain the plot of this movie. Just know that it involves an evil cult and an incest baby. No, I’m not lying. The original producer’s cut isn’t great, but at least it isn’t filled with plot holes and transition shots that make you want to gouge your eyes out. Even young Paul Rudd couldn’t save this bore-fest!
9. Halloween IV – The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
After Halloween 3 was a box office flop, the studio decided it was time to bring back Michael Myers. After all, if people whine loud enough, you have to give them what they want. Right? No! This movie was awful. Halloween IV introduces Jamie Lloyd, who is related to Laurie Strode, the main character of the original Halloween. Michael Myers, we learn, is intent on murdering every one of his relatives. But here’s the problem, every character in this movie is annoying. They are all grating on the ears. Furthermore, it just isn’t that scary. It looks cheaply made, and there’s just not much here to enjoy.
8. Halloween – H20 (1998)
Hoo boy. The ’90s is not a great decade for horror. The rise of computer effects, without the mastery of today, lead to a lot of garbage horror movies. Halloween – H20 takes place, fittingly enough, 20 years after the events of the original Halloween, and also scraps every other movie except the original out of the timeline. Laurie Strode now works at a private…. high school/college….boarding school that her son attends. During a class field trip that has most of the school gone overnight, Michael Myers shows up to finally finish what he began twenty years ago. It’s pretty weak overall, and ultimately, they would eventually make this premise work much better… it would just take another twenty years.
7. Halloween V – The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Halloween V is pretty universally reviled, but as the Jamie Lloyd saga goes, I think it’s the best of the three. A lot of our characters are still annoying, but Donald Pleasance turns in a pretty good performance in this one. Danielle Harris does pretty well as Jamie in this one too. I give this one more prop than part 4 and 6 because it has some legitimately creepy stuff. The scene of Michael chasing down Jamie in a car, while not realistic or sensical, is pretty well shot and delivers on the atmosphere. The final sequence with Loomis and Michael is good too, if not a little weird. It’s not a good movie, but it’s pretty harmless.
5. Halloween 1 and 2 (2007 and 2009)
Before you jump down my throat about how Rob Zombie ruined the franchise, I need you to stop and scroll up. Really? Rob Zombie’s movies were worse than those? Rob Zombie took a fresh look a the franchise with a reboot of 1 and 2, which I’ll cover here as a single item because they’re pretty samey. The first one stays pretty close to the premise of the original. Michael Myers, now played by a hulking Tyler Mane, has been locked away in a psychiatric hospital for years until he breaks free one night and goes on a killing spree. The films focus much more on what made Michael, choosing to spend time exploring the horrors that we as humans inflict on one another rather than an invincible guy with a kitchen knife. Does it work? Eh, kinda. It’s not bad, it’s disturbing to watch. It’s just not what a lot of people were expecting, and I think that’s okay.
4. Halloween (2018)
The most recent entry on our list comes from the halcyon days of 2018. Jamie Lee Curtis returns to play Laurie Strode, now a grandmother. This reboot once again scraps everything that happened after the original and just continues that story. 40 years after his Halloween night rampage, Michael Myers returns to exact revenge on the Strode family. Laurie is now obsessed, knowing he’ll return one day, and has spent decades planning and preparing for just such an occasion. She is ostracized from her family, who grew increasingly put off by her strange behaviors. The story is more of a grudge match between the Strode family and Michael than it is a horror movie, but it actually works. I want to pay special attention to the sequence where Michael starts murdering random people on Halloween night. It’s a minute-long sequence without any cuts, and it highlights the terror of how easy it would be for someone to just go on a rampage. I remember finding that part particularly chilling. Surprisingly good for a reboot, and it easily holds a place in the top 5.
3. Halloween II (1981)
Did you like Halloween? You probably like Halloween II. Characters are still good. Actors are still great. Michael murders some people. Laurie screams, runs away, and then ends up killing Michael. I’m sure he’ll stay dead this time. Seriously, I don’t have anything else to say about it. It’s good, watch it.
2. Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
I have no doubt the most divisive movie on this list is this one. After Michael died for-realsies at the end of Halloween II, the studio intended to take the Halloween franchise in a new direction. The Halloween movies were to be an anthology series, with a new movie releasing on Halloween each year that told a completely different scary story. And the first of these stories was Season of the Witch. Let me start by saying this. I understand why people didn’t like this movie. It came out one year after Halloween II, and people expected to see Michael Myers in it. Not only did they not see Michael, but this movie is also weird. It’s weird, sci-fi horror with a synthesized soundtrack and a dark freaking ending. This movie is quintessential 80’s.
So I understand why people didn’t like it. And if I’m honest, I didn’t either at first. I was bingeing all the Halloween movies and this one felt…. weird and out of place. But it has really grown on me over the years. As the later installments in the franchise showed us, moving away from the premise of Michael Myers was probably not a bad decision. This movie holds its own among the major horror masterpieces of the ’80s while retaining some of the campy feelings that define the slasher genre. And hey, it did make you think twice about putting a mask on, didn’t it?
1. Halloween (1978)
I wanted to be creative. I felt so good being able to put Friday the 13th Part 4 at the top of that list. But it’s pretty hard to repeat that with the Halloween franchise. The original is a masterpiece, not just for the franchise, but for the genre. It helped pioneer the slasher genre, advancing the way horror movies are made. John Carpenter’s mastery of cinematography and atmosphere is on full display with this film. The acting is stellar, with both Donald Pleasance as Loomis and Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie turning in Oscar-worthy performances.
There are some bits that don’t make any sense, like the guy getting stuck to the wall by what must have been a 3-foot long kitchen knife. But it’s easy to ignore that kind of stuff with the incredible music and pacing. The ending is one of my favorite scenes, as it looms on the various houses used throughout the movie with Michael’s breathing layered over it. It lets us all remember that the boogeyman is out there somewhere. I hope you’ve enjoyed my ranking of the Halloween movies and happy Halloween everyone!
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