The ‘Halloween’ Franchise Ranked

Article updated 21st May 2019 (originally published 22nd October 2018).

This article was contributed to The Film Magazine by Kieran Judge of and Horror Reviews by the Collective.

It’s one of the most famous franchises in horror history, and Michael Myers’ mask is recognisable anywhere.

With Blumhouse adding in their own entry to the series in 2018, and quickly making the new movie a box-office record smasher (it’s the highest grossing movie with a female lead over 55, for example), it was about time to revisit and readjust 2018’s published list to include the latest film. So here they are, all 11 movies ranked from worst to best.

11. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween Resurrection

It’s Halloween night, and there’s a live-streamed challenge to see if several teenagers (read as ‘cannon fodder’) can survive the night in the haunted Myers house. Of course, unknown to them, Michael has returned to get knife-happy once again, and we have our blend of found-footage and campy slasher flick.

I try to find something in every film that gives it a redeemable quality. I think this movie’s might be that Jamie-Lee Curtis is in it for five minutes and that, as the eighth film in the franchise, we just want to see Michael going on a killing. The found-footage style live stream stuff is a nice twist on the slasher film (remember that The Blair Witch Project came out three years before), but it utterly fails to provide any kind of scares.

You don’t care about the characters, the plot is so thin it’s transparent, and suddenly the little house in the middle of the street is a gothic mansion up on the hill, away from everyone where no one can hear you scream. The film finally buried this line of sequels for good, and for good reason. Time to return to the drawing board.

10. Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009)

Rob Zombie Halloween Sequel

Following up on Rob Zombie’s remake (or re-imagining) of the original film, Zombie uses the original sequel to provide a nightmare sequence to open the film, before going off his own new direction. Myers’ body went missing two years before, Dr. Loomis has a new book out that is milking Myers for every cent possible, and Laurie keeps getting visions of Michael returning to Haddonfield.

The main trouble with this film is that it’s just badly directed. As many people have noted, Zombie is great with visuals, but he can’t direct dialogue for love nor money. Some of the shots in this movie, such as Sheri-Moon Zombie’s ghost approaching the farm house in the moonlight, are beautiful. Unfortunately, beautiful cinematography doesn’t make up for the movie itself.

The action sequences are shaky and Michael’s visions of his mother are ridiculous; and he doesn’t even wear his mask half of the time, which goes against everything Michael Myers stands for. The script turns Laurie into being a whining, average slasher chick you don’t care about, and Dr. Loomis is transformed into an egotistical writer that doesn’t care about anyone except himself. As a fan-film, this might have been seen as competent, but as a high-budget movie from someone that has got directing clout, it fails on every conceivable level.

9. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

Halloween 5 Movie Still

Halloween 4, 5, and 6, can almost be grouped into a little category of their own, being one path of sequels from the first two movies. In this movie, after Jamie’s possession at the end of Halloween 4, she has developed a psychic link with Michael Myers who has managed to survive the mine shaft and is returning to hunt down his surviving family. Alongside this it introduces the mark of the cult that will come to dominate the following film.

One of the many things this film suffers from is that it doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing. It doesn’t know if Jamie, Loomis or the new group of teenage girls are the main character(s), it doesn’t know how far to introduce the Curse of Thorn, it doesn’t know if it’s finally killing off Michael Myers for good. Added to that, the mask is the worst mask in the entire franchise. It’s too flimsy and the eye-sockets are too wide and astonished, and the blank but grim expression of Myers is lost in an almost comical expression.

There’s an ok-ish kill or two, and Danielle Harris is fairly decent in the film (especially at such a young age), but that’s really all there is here. Even Donald Pleasance is playing a parody of his former self here. It’s not an absolutely atrocious film, but there’s nothing saving this film from being incredibly forgetful. Evidence: before I re-watched it for this list, I forgot what actually happened in it. Not a clue.

8. Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Halloween 6 Horror Movie

Halloween 6 isn’t much better than the previous instalment, but is marginally improved upon. Focusing on the Curse of Thorn, and the pseudo-pagan myths of Halloween to be the origin of Michael’s immortality and rage, Michael is stalking a family living in the old Myers House years after Halloween 5 (relatives of the Strodes) whilst Loomis and a grown-up Tommy Doyle (played by Ant-Man himself, Paul Rudd), try to stop him from sacrificing Jamie’s child.

I had to rank this film higher than the last purely because, despite many re-shoots and re-drafts, it at least tries to tie everything together. It wants to end this phase of Halloween mythology, and to a large extent that’s what it does, even killing Loomis at the end of the film (Pleasance himself passed away months before the film’s release). Rudd is surprisingly half-decent in one of his early roles, and the kills are decent for a slasher sequel. Added to this, the mask is markedly improved upon from the previous film and Myers’ body language is very nearly back to being similar to the first film, something that was lacking from the other instalments to this point.

However, the cult is still a ridiculous concept, and the need to explain Myers’ supernatural powers is a ridiculous and pointless endeavour which goes against the point of Myers’ remorselessness. It still presents an entirely forgetful finale involving a load of kids locked up in a hospital to be inflicted with the curse or sacrificed to pagan gods (yeah, you read that correctly), and the film is somewhat of a satire of its former self.

7. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Halloween 4 Horror Movie

Awakening from a coma after ten years, Michael discovers Laurie is dead and has a daughter, Jamie. Michael returns to Haddonfield to track down and murder the young girl. Dr Loomis, inevitably, comes to try and stop him.

This is perhaps the second-worst mask in the series, and right from the shot of him in the mirror during the film’s opening, you know it. The hair is wrong and the face is too white and shocked. The plot is incredibly forgettable, though fun to watch in a campy sort of way, and aside from one or two chase scenes, nothing really stands out.

The only things that do are, much like Halloween 5, the acting of Pleasance and Harris, who both do an excellent job here with the script they’ve been given. Also, here is one of the first times we’re given a proper Michael bloodbath. There are one or two moments in Halloween 2, but nothing to this extent. They’ve upped the gore-factor, probably due to the amount of blood in other series such as Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, and there are some nice practical effects, but nothing that makes the film of any merit. It’s not going to be on the ‘must-watch’ bucket list any time soon, but it isn’t a bad instalment in the franchise.

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