Ranking every ‘Halloween’ film from horrifying to mortifying
We’re celebrating Halloween early instead of Independence Day – because why not? Let’s revisit our preview of the latest in the Halloween franchise and this roundup of all the rest.
The first pictures of David Gordon Green’s 40-year anniversary Halloween film (in theaters Oct 19) are out, and with the return of both Jamie Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda) as Laurie Strode and John Carpenter (The Thing) as producer and composer, it looks likely to be a fantastic final instalment to one of horror’s greatest franchises.
Initial reports say Green’s film takes a look at the Halloween idea through the prism of the world’s current fascination with true crime documentaries, as a British documentary crew turn up in Haddonfield to make a retrospective on the now 40-year-old Myers killings. Let’s take a look at the ten Halloween movies that came before it, from the terrifying to the outright stupid.
10. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
All in all, a stupid film that has somehow dated worse than the 1979 original. It’s got web cameras in it as well as the internet and live webcasts – we’re pretty sure Michael Myers has a MySpace page in too. One of the few positives of the film is that it does kind of feel like cinema’s coldest killing machine is simply there to brutally murder the cast of one of the American Pie sequels, which is surely something we can all enjoy.
9. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Looking purely at the original cut of the film (and not the now notorious Producer’s Cut), it’s as messy as the lower intestines of one Myers’s victims. Sadly, it was also Donald Pleasance’s (The Great Escape) last appearance in the films as he passed away some eight months before its release, which at least hopefully means he never actually had to watch it.
8. Halloween 2 (2009)
Rob Zombie’s (Grindhouse) sequel to the prequel reboot (wait, where are we again?) is basically a straight up slasher gorefest that feels a lot more like a Rob Zombie film than it does a Halloween one. And while this was no doubt Zombie’s intention, it really doesn’t add much to the overall legacy of the films other than a higher body count and a bit of a strange scene involving a white horse.
This was the point at the tail end of the first four films when it began to repeat itself a little bit and we started to think Haddonfield should probably be known as the murder capital of the fictional Midwest. Loomis returns again, still trying to kill / capture Myers and after so many failed attempts, you also begin to think he should stop running around trying to catch dangerous killers like he’s a cop.
6. Halloween (2007)
If nothing else, Zombie knows how to put a film together and make it at least watchable (a bit like Clint Eastwood, only less zombielike) and while the film was a huge box office success that adds a little something to the franchise and the overall mythology of the films, it doesn’t do enough to make it more than a glossy re-imagining of the first film.
5. Halloween: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
One of the most interesting things about The Return of Michael Myers is it shows just how much Halloween changed the landscape of Hollywood horror slasher films. And while it doesn’t come anywhere near to its predecessors in terms of originality, it’s a solid enough film that brought the franchise and Myers back from the dead.
4. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
The term “best of many sequels but still pales in comparison to the original” is probably a good way of looking at H20. Curtis returns as Laurie Strode for the 20th anniversary of the first film and it’s a solid slasher film with a strong supporting cast.
3. Halloween 2 (1981)
Starting off where the first one ended (literally – another gem of an idea from Carpenter and Debra Hill), the film is essentially a continuation of the first movie. And it works. That’s not to say the whole film works, but it does have some great moments that echo the strengths and originality of the first film. And if gory, grossout deaths do it for you, this has plenty.
2. Halloween (1979)
It’s a classic. A stone cold classic. Made for a mere $300,000, Halloween made returns of $70 million. (Hats off to Carpenter for taking only a $10,000 fee for the film and 10% of the gross.) It’s the film that set the scene for all the above and a whole generation of slasher movies.
Curtis said in a recent interview, “I recognize that it will be my biggest contribution. Despite writing books for children, all of my advocacy, all of my politics, all of my own personal journey, my legacy will be Halloween.” In fairness, Trading Places would probably come before all the other stuff too.
1. Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982)
A controversial choice as this is one of the Halloween films that doesn’t have either Myers or Strode in it, but Season of the Witch has two things they don’t. Firstly, it’s not a slasher film in which the victims are sexually promiscuous dope smoking teenagers and secondly, the film doesn’t end well. In fact, second only to The Wicker Man, it might have the darkest end to any major horror film ever made. And you don’t even have to watch the whole film to be terrified. Just watch the trailer!