Ranking Every “Halloween” Movie (Including “Halloween Kills”)

Tis the season for tall white masked killers who vaguely resemble William Shatner to terrorize a small town in Illinois!  Even with a dual release in theaters and on streaming, Halloween Kills’ box office performance proved that this franchise is very much alive and well, and that fans will always be craving more Michael Myers.

So in honor of the new entry, as well as all the debate online that Halloween Kills has sparked, we wanted to update the Halloween rankings to  include the new movie.

Note: These are just one person’s subjective and personal opinions.  We’re all allowed to have different opinions and even debate those opinions without resorting to personal insults and hostility.

12. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Halloween Resurrection
Generally considered to be one of, if not the worst Halloween movie of the series.  Resurrection gets the bottom spot not because it tries too hard to shoehorn the franchise into modern internet culture (but failing miserably), not because of the ridiculous Busta Rhymes fight, and not because of its array of incredibly annoying characters.

The dual sins that Resurrection commits is in retconning a very powerful and poignant ending that H20 gave us, as well as unceremoniously killing off Laurie Strode in the opening 5 minutes.  While her character was brought back later in another retcon, the version of her in this continuity deserved better.

11. Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Halloween 6
By the time this movie was released, the Cult of Thorn storyline had reached its most ridiculous and unnecessary conclusion.  To the movie’s credit, it does contain a genuinely good performance from a very young Paul Rudd (who still looks the same today), as well as Donald Pleasance’s farewell performance to Loomis.

Where it goes wrong is in criminally recasting Jamie Lloyd (which all the more infuriating when you hear the behind the scenes story of how they screwed over Danielle Harris), as well as killing her off in the opening minutes, a lesson the Resurrection failed to learn from.

By this point, the franchise was in the hands of a new studio, and this movie doesn’t even feel quite like a Halloween film.  It’s shot differently and goes for more of a supernatural mystery with the Cult of Thorn.  What made Myers scary before was that he always existed just on the fringe between realistic and supernatural.  Going full supernatural and explaining how it’s done just cheapens it.

10. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Halloween 5
From here on out, I don’t actively dislike any of the movies.  Just some don’t quite live up to others.  And that’s very much the perfect summation of Halloween 5.  After returning strong the previous year with Halloween 4, this follow up squanders that movie’s brilliant ending and essentially just does the same thing again, only not as good.

It keeps Jamie silent for half the movie, kills off Rachel too early and replaces her with far less likable or interesting characters.  We also get the Cult of Thorn member randomly thrown in, with the ultimate cosmic joke that even the filmmakers didn’t know what they were doing with it.  It was just something to throw in there for mystery’s sake.

9. Halloween Kills (2021)
Halloween Kills
This entry (among others) is probably bound to spark controversy, Halloween Kills was an incredibly frustrating movie.  Frustrating because it’s extremely well made from a technical standpoint.  The practical stunts and gore are amazing, with great and entertaining side characters.

But where it gets frustrating is that it seems to rely more heavily on nostalgia and callbacks than the 2018 predecessor did, without knowing what to do with it.  It brings back Tommy Doyle, Lonnie, Marion, and Lindsey, but doesn’t know how to utilize these characters.  So they’re just sort of there and mostly get killed off unceremoniously.

Part of 2018’s retcon was removing the sibling bond between Myers and Laurie, and this movie suffers for that as it can’t decide whether it wants Laurie to be significant to Michael or not.  So it results in a back and forth between him going after her and him just wanting to go home.  And in the entire movie, they don’t even have any screen time together.

(Check out our full review here)

8. Halloween II (2009)
RZ Halloween 2
On our previous Rob Zombie rankings, this movie ranked higher than Rob Zombie’s first Halloween.  Because honestly the sequel is a better Rob Zombie movie, and the first one is a better Halloween movie, if that makes sense.

This movie definitely goes all out in its own style and doesn’t even try to remotely be like any other Halloween (or horror) movie.  It has a genuinely poignant ending.  But in how it fits in with this series, it takes one too many missteps.

Its opening sequence is particularly irritating in that it basically does the hospital scene from the original Halloween II, but it’s just just for show and ends up being a dream.  This was the movie that Rob Zombie had complete creative freedom with.  And while he certainly made something memorable and unique, he didn’t quite make a Halloween movie.

7. Halloween II (1981)
Halloween II 1981
The original sequel not only provided a great second half to the original, but it was the basis for the legendary connection between Myers and Laurie.  It does make for a great companion piece to the first, and goes much further in terms of gore from the original.  Plus, can we take a moment to appreciate the absurd hilarity that is Ben Tramer’s death by explosion.

But where this movie falters a bit is its very slow pace that doesn’t quite build suspense the way the first one did.  John Carpenter later admitted that his heart wasn’t fully in this one and it does show from time to time.  It’s a decent sequel that did more in what it set up than what it did itself.

6. Halloween (2018)
Halloween 2018
Rebooting the franchise into yet another continuity 40 years later was no easy task.  Following Laurie Strode’s aforementioned offensive demise in Resurrection, it was high time that her character was done justice.

Overall, it did a really strong job of walking the line between nostalgia for the original with trying to create a new narrative for the 2010s.  Its callbacks were both clever and just used sparingly enough that they meant something.

The only real issues that is has is that it tries very hard to justify Laurie’s importance to Myers, all while stripping away the one thing that connected them.  Yes, it makes him more mysterious if she’s just the shape of evil with no motivation, but then there needs to be a reason why she holds such legendary status to him.

That said, Jamie Lee Curtis gives her best performance as Laurie in this film.  She’s incredibly badass in full Sarah Connor fashion, but also has a real vulnerability that manifests in the trauma from the night he tried to kill her 40 years ago.  This is very much her movie and it’s a shame that didn’t continue into Halloween Kills.

5. H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
H20
Speaking of Jamie Lee Curtis returning years later to retcon earlier sequels, the abysmally titled H20 actually kind of holds up after all these years.  Much like the 2018 version, it sees a Laurie Strode reeling with the events of the past, only this time they’re brother and sister.

Keeping Halloween II in continuity, this one allows their connection to play out, and honestly makes more sense than its 2018 successor.  Her changing her name and trying to hide make more sense than her going full survivalist based on a single night.

The semi-meta dialogue and interesting young characters keep you engaged so that Laurie doesn’t have to carry the movie herself.  There’s a great ensemble of characters, and it felt like the first time in a long time that a lot of effort was put into a Halloween movie.

4. Halloween (2007)
RZ Halloween
At risk of incurring the wrath of the internet, Rob Zombie’s Halloween is not only not terrible, but it’s a decent horror movie that can be enjoyed independently with and along with the original.  People’s bigges issue with this movie (other than the numerous Rob Zombie-isms) is the fact that it dares to give Myers a motivation for why does what he does.

Honestly though, we’ve gotten motivations before.  The sibling reveal in Halloween II and the entire Cult of Thorn storyline in Curse are both examples of this being done before, but with no such hate.

John Carpenter reportedly told Rob Zombie to make this movie his own and that’s exactly what he did.  Yes, it’s completely different from the original and yes, giving Myers a childhood and a backstory changes the character but is not that the point of a remake?  Otherwise, why bother doing one in the first place?

Focusing on Myers as a child and his relationship with his family makes for a genuinely interesting serial killer origin story.  Yes, all the characters are hostile towards each other, but it’s a hostile world.  Loomis seems more human and flawed, while many of the characters feel more like real people, albeit people you’d meet at a trailer park, but still people.

Honestly the only part of the movie that suffers is its second half when it becomes a nearly shot-for-shot remake.  But even as adult Myers stalks Laurie and her friends, the knowledge of his childhood actually adds to the intrigue as it allows us to ponder more what he might be thinking in each scene.

3. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Halloween 4
The start of the unofficial Thorn trilogy also marked the return of Myers after nearly a decade away.  It’s a great return to form that’s close enough in tone to the original to keep fans happy with just enough new elements to make it fresh and interesting.

We had already seen Loomis as something of a doom prophet in the first two movies, but this is the one where he feels just as insane as Myers himself.  Between his unhinged performance and a truly impressive one from a very young Danielle Harris, this movie is the first sequel from the original that actually feels like its own thing.

Plus it features a shocking ending that both paid tribute to the original and managed to be a brutal twist.  The only frustration is that the plot point wasn’t allowed to continue into the next one.

2. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Halloween 3
Once again, at risk of incurring the wrath of the internet, this movie isn’t terrible just because it’s not a slasher and it’s not the same Myers movie again.  In fact the reason it gets second place (other than being a great movie) is because it’s the only movie on this list that isn’t derivative in some way shape or form of the 1978 original.

Tom Atkins makes for one hell of a protagonist as he badasses his way into a bizarre supernatural conspiracy that only could have come from the 80s.  There’s also a national scale that makes the stakes even higher.  One scene in particular that shows children trick or treating all over the country while wearing Silver Shamrock masks makes things all the more terrifying.

There’s also the fact that out of all the movies, this is the one that’s just oozing in Halloween imagery.  There’s no way to watch this and not feel the spirit of the season, especially with that incredibly catchy Silver Shamrock song.

1. Halloween (1978)
Halloween 1978
How could it be anything but this?  When it comes to franchises like this, the first one is very often the only one that doesn’t have any baggage or contrived  connections, and that’s true here too.  John Carpenter’s only goal with this original was to make a good horror film and that’ exactly what he did.

By modern standards, it is admittedly tame, but because of that it focuses more on suspense than gore.  There’s a reason this is the movie that everyone is trying to emulate or call back to, because this is the original creation that helped popularize the entire subgenre.

It managed to blend Carpenter’s exploration into the nature of evil with Debra Hill’s relatable teenage characters.  There’s a simplicity to it and just isn’t present in any of the others.  People will still be watching it in another 40 years and making reboots to call back to it again.

Which ones are your favorites?  Let us know in the comments!

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