The countdown has begun for David Gordon Green’s Halloween Kills and what better way to celebrate than by reflecting on Michael Myers’ perpetual killing spree over the last forty years.
Following the success of John Carpenter’s 1978 original, filmmakers opted to return to the franchise every so often and resurrect the embodiment of pure evil – proving that he truly is an unstoppable force. Despite Green completely eviscerating the events from Halloween II (1981) until Halloween: Resurrection (2002), each one (included the Rob Zombie reboots) is worth revisiting even just for fun.
Take a look at our ranking of the Halloween series!
11. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
It’s the early 2000s and you begin to ponder: what was missing from ‘Halloween’? Obviously, the answer is Busta Rhymes, right? Maybe whack Tyra Banks in there and hurl some reality TV into the plot, oh and don’t forget Jamie Lee, no ‘Halloween’ is complete without Jamie Lee Curtis. Mwah! A perfect recipe!
Actually, ‘Resurrection’ feels like a complete fever dream for all of those reasons. Let’s be truthful, the film was only produced because a clause was breached at the end of ‘H20’. Mimicking other additions to the franchise, Laurie Strode is no longer central to the story. Rather, Myers returns to his childhood home to find a TV crew shacking up for a new show, and Michael is less than pleased – or maybe he is, higher kill count and all. You go, Michael Myers!
10. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers(1995)
Fresh from his ‘Clueless’ debut, Paul Rudd steps into the shoes of an adult Tommy Doyle, now obsessed with bringing justice to ‘The Boogeyman’ that terrorised him as a child. He monologues a lot, isn’t the slightest bit vigilant, and your focus is really drawn to Rudd’s eternal youth. All else there is to say about this instalment is: What were they thinking?
No suspense, far too much continuity to be excused, an attempt to explain Myers’ urge to kill, and a weird alliance that ends in bloody chaos – which isn’t exactly shown as much as it’s implied. Another blink and you’ll miss it moment shows the masked murderer break into a light jog. It would be glaringly obvious that the ‘Halloween’ series is not made to be comical, though ‘The Curse of Michael Myers’ doesn’t seem to have understood the assignment in that aspect.
9. Halloween II (2009)
To be fair, it is everything you’d expect from a Rob Zombie movie. He makes the story his own. Mega points for originality and stepping outside of the box with the narrative and characters. Fans of Zombie will certainly be pleased; however, those unfamiliar with his work? Possibly not so much.
Zombie humanises Myers excessively, taking away the fear factor. Empathy for his sister and even dialogue are all factors that cut into and dissolve the mystery behind Michael Myers. Problems also arise with the decision to have to the iconic mask torn apart, revealing Michael’s face and personifying him.
8. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
The first and only instalment not to feature Michael Myers flopped with fans and critics alike. As a stand-alone, it’s an average sci-fi/horror at best, but could have retained some success had it merely been called ‘Season of the Witch.’ Overall, it’s not a terrible film and has a decent concept.
The third feature even comes with its own joyful jingle… Just kidding, the song will drive you to breaking point but hey, at least something’s memorable about the movie. If a continuation is what you’re after, steer clear. If peculiar 80s sci-fi flicks tickle your taste buds, say no more!
7. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Disregarding the end of 4, Michael resumes his hunt of his niece, Jamie, who is now rendered mute. There’s a mysterious man in black scoping Myers’ every move, the killer switches his kitchen knife for garden tools and he drives for an awfully large portion of the runtime.
The biggest flaw of the film is the mask by a long shot. Poorly designed and an awkward fit around the actor, Michael loses some credibility with how ridiculous he looks. If things picked up from the last film, we would have had a much better story!
6. Halloween II (1981)
A direct continuation from where the first movie left off that takes Michael through the streets of Haddonfield. Heavily reliant on plot points, the infamous sibling twist is introduced but lacks any weight, failing to live up to the original film’s success.
Violence significantly increases, although it’s not enough to save this sequel from the fiery abyss. Curtis is absent for the most part despite her final girl status, instead our attention dwindles on bland side characters that get in Michael’s way.
5. Halloween (2007)
Unlike its 2009 follow-up, Rob Zombie’s reimagining of the original holds greater triumph. Deviating from its source material slightly, Zombie offers a prequel of sorts before telling the tale made famous by John Carpenter. Rather than jumping straight into the action, Michael’s psychotic tendencies are explored from his adolescence as Zombie adapts and differs his direction from Carpenter.
In true Rob Zombie fashion, ‘Halloween’ doesn’t fall under a singular genre – an interesting approach to such an iconic movie, and he pulls it off rather well. Sadly, there are one too many sequences that are unnecessarily long, dragging out an otherwise simple narrative, and the climax falls victim to severe pacing problems.
4. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Following the third film’s controversial decision, Michael Myers makes his way back to Haddonfield; this time, in search of his young niece, aptly named Jamie (not Curtis). Laurie Strode is notably missing in a disappointing turn of events that has her killed off-screen.
Every major horror franchise has considered it at one point or another. How do they proceed with a series if their leading star isn’t interested in a return? Have them killed of course! The Return of Michael Myers is a rare case where this sort of works. Now, if only their was an explanation for Michael’s fixation on killing his family.
3. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the franchise with a then-unknown Josh Harnett and Dawson’s Creek-era Michelle Williams. Fitting the 90s aesthetic, Scream writer, Kevin Williamson, hops aboard the murder train and helps the movie adapt to modern horror culture.
Ignoring the events of Halloween 4 – 6, H20 marks the introduction of retconning within the series. It’s a campy feature for sure but Curtis back in the driver’s seat? Sign me up! There are also plenty of references and Easter eggs thrown in for good measure, including homage to original scream queen and Curtis’ co-starring mother, Janet Leigh.
2. Halloween (2018)
David Gordon Green made a remarkable impression on fans of the series. Succeeding in paying homage to Carpenter, Green cleverly crafts an original horror within its own right. Whether you have watched the first film or not, Halloween offers a delicious introduction back into the world of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode.
Dismissing previous instalments completely, much is left up to interpretation – such as the sibling twist, but adapts an intimate approach in breaking characters apart. Jamie Lee Curtis is phenomenal as she puts on a convincing performance with Laurie battling her demons and suffering PTSD. It’s definitely not one to miss, promising an intense final showdown between Laurie and Michael.
1. Halloween (1978)
John Carpenter’s classic is still exactly that. A spectacular blend of suspense, horror and charisma that set the bar. The score is exceptional and chilling. You cannot beat it. Despite it having released four decades ago, there’s a particularly charming quality to this masterpiece that ensures that it doesn’t get old.
For such a basic structure, Halloween is highly effective in inflicting terror upon its audiences (and characters). Persistently being stalked by a silent, masked observer is enough to send our fight or flight into overdrive. Not to mention the simplicity of it all; Carpenter changed the face of independent horror. Even now, it’s a difficult notion to replicate, but one thing’s for sure, no reboot could ever bring it justice.