I remember watching all the Halloween films back to back when I was 13 years old. I fell in love with the franchise. With Laurie and Michael.
At the time, I didn’t see anything bad with the films. I now wish I hadn’t re-watched some of them…
One of the things I like most about Halloween is that even though it is a classic slasher – it helped define the subgenre – it also plays with the tropes.
If you take the fact that slashers depend on their killer more than they depend on their victims / survivors (e.g. in Friday the 13th we care about Jason and in A Nightmare on Elm Street, we care about Freddy). However, in Halloween, we care for Michael as much as we care for Laurie Strode; we root for both.
However, as Halloween became a franchise, this very important detail was ignored. Fair enough not in all sequels, but by the one that directly followed Carpenter’s film.
To fully comprehend the franchise, we must understand that the films do not follow only one timeline.
The third film to be released was Halloween III: Season of the Witch, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace in 1983.
Although it’s very good, it doesn’t fit with the series as it ignores completely the original story. Therefore, it will not rank on the following list.
The first Halloween was made without the intention of becoming a major success. It’s a simple story that should’ve ended the shot of Dr Loomis looking down from the balcony.
But due to its success, Carpenter and Debra Hill were summoned to write a sequel.
Halloween 2 is a direct sequel and explains why Myers is obsessed with Laurie – SPOILER – he’s her brother!
This shocking revelation wasn’t premeditated but is a killer idea. And just like that, the franchise takes shape.
Sometimes details are ignored, and different timelines are created, i.e. Laurie dies before the fourth movie, but appears in Halloween H20; Laurie has a daughter in the fourth – fifth films who, magically, becomes a son.
Now the latest instalment follows directly from the first film. No daughter, son, or blood relations to Myers whatsoever. I want to see this! But, in the meantime, I present you the Halloween films ranked, worst to best:
9th: Halloween 2 – Rob Zombie, 2009
I will start by saying, I can’t finish this film.
As happy as I am seeing Danielle Harris running from Myers again, I just couldn’t get into it. It felt as if Zombie wanted to create a masterpiece, explaining everything to the audience with bigger scares and bigger deaths. But the essence of Halloween is lost. For this reason, this film is worst.
8th: Halloween Resurrection -Rick Rosenthal, 2002
This film is tragic. The only good thing is Jamie Lee Curtis.
It’s not funny, entertaining, or scary… it’s just not good.
It tried too much to fit in with the times – a reality show with Tyra Banks and Busta Rhymes? Come on! Michael Myers deserves better than that!
He doesn’t have the profile to be the next Big Brother contestant.
Although Laurie meets her maker, it’s a good send-off (not as good as keeping her alive, mind you) but she goes fighting … “I’ll see you in hell”.
7th: Halloween – Rob Zombie, 2007
This film should get its praise: veterans Danielle Harris, Malcolm McDowell, and Dee Wallace star, and it was top of box office on release.
But it then dropped because the film isn’t good.
Again, Zombie just tried too hard to make it weird and “cool”. The Michael Myers we know, and love, is a sweet kid. I mean, was a sweet kid (he just happened to kill his sister when he was six years old).
We don’t know why, but in this version, Michael is a creepy kid. And we see his face the whole time. He’s just an emo kid who listens to Panic! At the Disco.
He constantly sees his mum hassled by her boyfriend, which is why he turns into a sociopath and kills as many people as he does. Right? No, that’s not the essence of Michael Myers.
6th: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers – Joe Chappelle, 1995
This film brings back Tommy Doyle, the little boy Laurie babysits in the original movie, which is a fun moment for the attentive spectator.
But that’s it.
The whole idea of “rape factory for Michael Myers’ offspring” is just too much, especially getting rid of Jamie Lloyd the way it does. Not only writes her out, it gives her a terrible storyline.
The acting is bad, the plot is bad and the “Man in Black” shouldn’t happen.
Michael Myers as a pawn for the curse of Thor? Whoever invented this must really hate Carpenter and Hill.
5th: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers – Dwight H. Little, 1989
I like this film. It’s a fun mix of Halloween tropes: Michael is transported from a sanatorium, kills a mechanic on the side of the road and steals his clothes; and it features Donald Pleasence and a young Danielle Harris.
However, this film just bluntly kills Laurie, using her death as a footnote. I mean, come on! She deserves better and we deserve more than an uncredited photo of her.
Moreover, the way the women are treated in this film is appalling.
As much as I like this film, it lacks good and lovable characters. Even Dr Loomis is too much.
4th: Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers – Dominique Othenin-Girard, 1989
The beginning reminds me of Frankenstein when the monster is loitering and observing the family.
In the Halloween world, Myers is fostered by a man who lives in a man-made cave. And Michael says thanks by killing him.
The stakes are high as we follow Jamie’s saga, who’s now a mute, and has a weird connection to her uncle.
The characters are more likable; however, we start being introduced to the ‘Man in Black’, who doesn’t do anything but plant his seed for the sequel.
Apart from that, this film is entertaining.
3rd: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later – Steve Miner, 1998
This film boldly ignores all that came before. It brings back Laurie, now Keri Tate who faked her own death to finally escape Michael.
Laurie now is a headmistress of a boarding school where she lives with her son. She is far from happy and still has nightmares. She also cultivates a minor high functioning alcoholism.
This film is a blast! It has the 90’s meta sprinkle and horror Goddess, Janet Leigh plays a secretary.
Moreover, she vocalises the famous quote from the first film: “It’s Halloween. Everyone is entitled to one good scare”.
Halloween H20 brings good elements from the franchise and doesn’t try to be anything more than it is.
Michael is the power, but Laurie is the driving force.
2nd: Halloween 2 – Rick Rosenthal, 1981
This film ranks second because it has the holy trinity: Carpenter, Hill and Curtis.
It’s a direct sequence from the first film and introduces the controversial idea that Laurie is Michael’s sister.
The action happens at a hospital where Laurie has been taken after her encounter with Michael. Although the hospital is full at the beginning of the film, as the night progresses, it becomes emptier. And it becomes impossible to ignore the imminent horror…
1st: Halloween – John Carpenter, 1978
There’s no other way this list could’ve ended.
Carpenter’s Halloween is and always will be number one. It introduced us to Michael Myers, evil itself, and to Laurie Strode, the badass virgin babysitter who stumbles and falls but always gets up.
It was made with simplicity and care for the craft. It gives us Carpenter’s brilliant score and minimalist camerawork.
Halloween is a masterpiece that makes us feel both excited and terrified. There are no jump scares and we are always on edge.
Halloween believes in subtext – it doesn’t explain things.
Why does Myers go after babysitters? We don’t need to know this to enjoy the film. It doesn’t matter.
Halloween isn’t gory. The death count isn’t high, and the deaths aren’t bloody.
Michael Myers is a suspenseful figure and so is the film.
We fear who is lying beneath the sheet or who is on the backseat of the car.
We fear the slow, purposeful steps will eventually reach us.
We fear that he will choose us.
In a nutshell, Halloween is perfect.
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