Lists

AHHctober: Ranking All 11 ‘Halloween’ Movies Worst to Best

Over the course of the last 40 years, Halloween has grown into one of the most successful horror franchises of all time with 11 feature films, including one remake, a sequel to said remake, a standalone that doesn’t even feature Michael Myers, and multiple continuity reboots. Speaking of which, Blumhouse is currently in production on two more sequels to the 2018 reboot. I guess you really can’t kill the Boogeyman.

Anyways, I figured ranking every last Halloween film would be a killer way to kick off this year’s AHHctober. Hopefully you agree! Now, without further ado, let’s get down to business. Here is THE OFFICIAL ranking of every movie in the franchise, from the absolute bottom to the pristine best! Enjoy!

11.) Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Image result for revenge of michael myers

Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard
Year: 1989
Box office: $11.6 million
Behind the mask: Johnathan Chapin

The fifth Halloween film (fourth featuring Michael Myers) is far and away the blandest entry in the series. It lazily continues the story from part four but without any inspired kills, even in unsavorably offing Rachel, the likable co-lead from the previous film. ‘Revenge’ also opened the door to the overly complex mythology surrounding Michael’s backstory that plagued the later installments without bothering to give viewers any information on what they were seeing or what was being set up for future films. Then there’s the case of Michael’s mask, which is the ugliest interpretation to date.


10.) Halloween (2007)

Image result for halloween 2007

Director: Rob Zombie
Year: 2007
Box office: $58.2 million

Behind the mask: Tyler Mane

Rob Zombie’s remake spends half its runtime demystifying Michael Myers as we follow him from childhood through what feels like the textbook progression of a sociopath slaughterer: first he’s killing animals then he’s slitting the throat of his abusive stepfather and then he’s off to prison where he inexplicably develops into the speechless, supernatural serial killer we all know and love. The second half of the film is a beat-for-beat remake of John Carpenter’s original film only without the freshness. Zombie however does get points for style. Every frame is gushing with his signature grittiness and Michael’s post-breakout getup provides my second-favorite look for the character outside of the original.


9.) Halloween: Resurrection

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Director: Rick Rosenthal
Year: 2002
Box office: $30.3 million

Behind the mask: Brad Loree

Everything about Halloween: Resurrection screams “This is desperate attempt to connect with a younger audience in order to keep an old IP alive!”; from the nixing of the tired story about Michael hunting family members for a more favorable internet-based plot to the stunt casting of hip-hop artist Busta Rhymes and model Tyra Banks. Still, this freed Director Rick Rosenthal creatively and does help distinguish the eighth film apart from the pack. Unfortunately, the severance of the all that mythology ultimately hurt this film as it feels it’s constantly struggling to find a reason to exist.


8.) Halloween 2 (2009)

Image result for halloween 2009

Director: Rob Zombie
Year: 2009
Box office: $33.3 million

Behind the mask: Tyler Mane

Rob Zombie’s second go-round with the Halloween IP is an improvement over his first. Some highlights include a more self-assuredness in its identity as Zombie was less constrained by the original movie. There are also some visually trippy dream sequences. Still, I can’t recount a single scene that stands out to me as a whole. And Zombie’s laughably villainous take on Dr. Loomis is heightened here to cringe-worthy status. It’s much more its own film that Zombie’s first attempt and thus does less to tarnish the legacy of its source material, which is why it’s higher on this list. Still, this Halloween 2 is a pessimistic, soulless slog.


7.) Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

H6

Director: Joe Chappelle
Year: 1995
Box office:$15.1 million

Behind the mask: George P. Wilbur

Unlike the previous entry on this list, Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers is anything but forgettable, even if it’s not for great reasons. I will say that if there’s one thing this entry nails it’s the unsettling atmosphere of a breezy Halloween night in the suburbs. It’s also punctuated by some of the series’ most brutal kills. Additionally, the film boasts a wonderfully bizarre performance from newcomer Paul Rudd as well as the last performance ever from veteran Donald Pleasance. Like the film before it, ‘Curse’ commits the unsavory sin of killing off a likable lead from past films in its opening minutes.


6.) Halloween II (1981)

halloween 2

Director: Rick Rosenthal
Year: 1981
Box office: $25.5 million

Behind the mask: Dick Warlock

Halloween II is genuinely adored by an entire underground of Halloween fans. Though I don’t necessarily count myself among them, I’ll take literally any excuse to pop in any of the films in the series simply because I love so many of the characters, the deaths are usually good for a laugh at least, and they envelope me in the season of fall. At the same time I clearly don’t think this is one of the worst Halloween entries either. It’s middle of the road. Sure, Jamie Lee is back, but she hardly speaks and Laurie doesn’t demonstrate and of the ferocity that kept her alive in the first film and the character alive in pop culture all these years.


5.) Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

H4

Director: Dwight H. Little
Year: 1988
Box office: $17.7 million

Behind the mask: George P. Wilbur

Following the financial consequences of leaving the Boogeyman out of the third Halloween movie, the series returned to its thematic roots with Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, in which the titular villain stalks new prey: his niece Jamie, Laurie Strode’s young daughter. Like the original, this film captures both the aesthetic and the spirit of the Halloween holiday and effectively establishes its two lovable female protagonists. In turn you may find yourself genuinely dreading their potential demise and cheering them along as the body count starts piling up. Then there’s Donald Pleasance who gives another welcomed turn as Michael Myers’ increasingly unstable nemesis.


4.) Halloween III: Season of the Witch

H3

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Year: 1982
Box office: $14.4 million

Behind the mask(s): Innocent children

At the time, series creators John Carpenter and Debra Hill wanted to make Halloween an anthology series with a new Halloween-centric tale every year. However that idea nearly killed the franchise as moviegoers responded less than favorably to Halloween III: Season of the Witch for not featuring Michael Myers. Since then, however, audience appreciation for the film has grown and for good reason. Looking past the obvious absence of the iconic killer, this third installment delivers what you’re looking for in a seasonal horror flick: a unique and disturbing premise, involved characterization and one of the series’ most chilling scores.


3.) Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

H20

Director: Steve Miner
Year: 1998
Box office: $55 million

Behind the mask: Chris Durand

Halloween H20 features the return of Jamie Lee Curtis to the role of Laurie Strode for the first time since Halloween II and is better for it. Twenty years after that fateful Halloween night, Laurie is now teaching at a private school in California where she lives under a new name with her teenage son. Disregarding the messy continuity of the previous bunch of films, ‘H20’ is a sleek return to form for the franchise that pits The Shape against a more experienced Laurie who’s determined to end things with her brother once and for all. Director Steve Minor (Friday the 13th parts 2 & 3, House) makes effective use of Carpenter’s creepy, pulsating theme and brings the series back to a simpler, scarier time with the reintroduction of a menacing Michael Myers.


2.) Halloween (2018)

Image result for halloween 2018

Director: David Gordon Green
Year: 2018
Box office: $255, 485, 178
Behind the Mask: James Jude Courtney 

Like Halloween H20, David Gordon Green’s Halloween follows an aged Laurie Strode, once again played by Jamie Lee Curtis, after a life of post-traumatic stress and preparation for evil’s inevitable return. This Halloween kicks it up a notch, however, with Laurie resembling more Sarah Conner than herself. It also includes Curtis’s best performance as Laurie Strode as well as a strong supporting cast. The tension throughout is deliciously palpable thanks in large part to another frightening reinterpretation of the Michael Myers figure and the film climaxes with one hell of a final act. For the first time in over thirty years, John Carpenter also returned to the series with this installment as a producers addition to co-composing the kickass score, which features some hair-raising experimentation on his iconic riff.
Behind the mask: 


1.) Halloween (1978)

halloween-1978-atmosphere

Director: John Carpenter
Year: 1978
Box office: $47 million
Behind the mask: Nick Castle

“Nothing beats the original” is so said often about a lot of these overly-long film franchises that it’s become the cool thing to say. But regarding the Halloween series, it’s actually true. I’m going to sound like a broken record, but John Carpenter’s original Halloween is a masterpiece that changed the landscape of horror– more specifically the slasher sub-genre– forever. It wasn’t the first to employ a masked killer or to be set on a holiday. It wasn’t even the first to utilize a POV shot of the killer. It did however introduce us to the idea of the killer as a supernatural force of evil. And John Carpenter masterfully manipulates the fools of the trade to build tension in a way that has since seeped into the subconscious of generations of film fans. Then there’s that chilling and iconic score (written by Carpenter himself in just three days) that still today sits up there with the best scores in cinematic history.


There is my ranking of all the Halloween movies! What do you think? Do you agree with my ranking? Or would yours look a bit (a lot?) different? Jump down to the comments below and let me know!

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