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All 10 “Halloween” Movies Ranked From Worst To Best

24 May 2017 | Features, Film Lists | by Ethan Wilson

halloween laurie

Months after John Carpenter announced his involvement in a planned Halloween reboot, the production has acquired several key personnel and they’re far from the usual suspects.

Taking the reins of the new movie will be David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Our Brand Is Crisis) with Danny McBride (This Is The End) the only confirmed cast member and Jason Blum producing. Carpenter went as far as stating in a Facebook post that he “might even do the music.”

It gets better: the new film won’t be a remake but a sequel that takes place sometime after the events of the first two films. Does that mean that Green and co are planning to drop all the nonsense about Laurie being Michael’s sister and do away with the Cult of Thorn? Watch this space.

Of all the personnel announced, Green’s involvement is perhaps the most telling: rather than rushing to another “horror guy” in the Rob Zombie mould, they’ve gone to a filmmaker known mostly for dramas and comedies. In other words, they’re seeking a fresh perspective on the material.

Can he succeed? Here are the ten movies he’s up against, ranked worst to best.

 

10. Halloween 5 (1989)

Rushed into production to capitalize upon its predecessor’s success, Halloween 5 makes the first of many mistakes by picking up where part 4 ended, explaining that Michael Myers survived being run over, thrown down a shaft and hit by five hundred rounds of ammunition. Then he spent a year living with some old guy, waiting for Halloween to come around again.

It’s more of the same old same, with Michael stalking his niece for oh some reason while Dr Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) generates an inordinate amount of collateral damage. Loomis gets to go full nutso here, throwing a net over Myers in one scene and repeatedly smashing him across the noggin with a length of two by four, something he never get the chance to do in the original.

When the filmmakers realized their hastily assembled first cut wasn’t working, they decided to add a sub-plot about a mysterious figure who suddenly enters the story for no apparent reason, and it’s only at the very end that his motivations are revealed. He’s a plot device, there to keep the ending wide open for a sequel.

 

9. Halloween Resurrection (2002)

The early 2000s were the era of tacky reality television, so it must’ve made sense to the creatively bankrupt producers of this seventh sequel to incorporate it into the plot. The result is one of the dumbest, most unintentionally funny horror films you’ve ever seen.

After explaining how Myers survived being decapitated at the end of Halloween H20 (“Ohmigod, she killed the wrong person!”) and doing away with the only other continuing character (RIP, Laurie), the movie sends Michael back to his childhood home, which is full of reality TV contestants getting high and sneaking off to have sex. Over the next eighty-nine minutes, prepare to see a once-proud horror icon being outsmarted by text-messaging teens, mocked for being mute and fought off by a kung fu fighting rapper.

You’ll hear Donald Pleasance turn over in his grave when Busta Rhymes, whose real name is Trevor Smith, kicks down a door with the zinger, “Trick or treat, Motherf**ker!” But before that he gets to fight Michael with mixed martial arts and before that he becomes the first person to tell Myers to “scoot, skedaddle, get the f**k outta Dodge” and walk away.

Please come back, John Carpenter.

 

8. Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995)

Made six years after Halloween 5, ths fifth sequel was the first to be produced by Dimension Films and you can tell the company hadn’t yet struck gold with the Scream franchise. Bearing zero resemblance to John Carpenter’s original (or even filmed entertainment), The Curse Of Michael Myers will one day appear on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Remember the Mysterious Figure from part 5? Well, it turns out that this guy is the head of a group of druids who’ve been manipulating Michael since he was a boy. Perhaps not coincidentally, the character is played by Mitch Ryan, who was also Gary Busey’s boss in Lethal Weapon, so as the Personification of All That Is Evil, he’s pretty well-cast.

Just so we’re clear, though, these are not the druids of Iron Age Britain, who worshipped trees and (supposedly) performed human sacrifices, these are Hollywood Bullsh*t Druids, who live in an ultra-secret underground bunker accessible only through an unlocked and unguarded door marked ‘Maximum Security’, dress like Emperor Palpatine and contact Michael using their very own Bat Signal – a constellation of stars that only appears on October 31st.

The constellation is in the shape of a thorn, so the symbol is tattooed on the wrist of every member, including Myers, something every previous and future movie forgets to mention.

 

7. Halloween II (2009)

The tenth Halloween movie in thirty-one years, the confusingly titled Halloween II starts out like the other Halloween II with Laurie (Scout Taylor Compton) being stalked through a hospital by Myers. At a key moment, writer/director Rob Zombie pulls a switch and says it was all a dream, which is either clever manipulation or a total cheat, take your pick.

He probably should’ve stuck with the template laid down in the 1981 movie because there’s nothing much worth staying for: Dr Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) has become an extremely unsympathetic character interested only in exploiting his newfound celebrity status, while everyone else is a horror movie caricature with “cannon fodder” written all over them.

There are some startling visuals (including a creepy/weird monochrome dream sequence) but they don’t belong here and Zombie put them to better use in his later films. The overwhelming impression is of a talented filmmaker fulfilling a contractual obligation and heaving a sigh of relief as he prepares to get the hell out of there.

 

6. Halloween (2007)

When all the ground-breaking horror movies were remade in the 2000s, it was enough that Platinum Dunes didn’t get hold of Halloween and squeeze out another soulless, crassly commercial product the way they did with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday The 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street.

If anyone was going to pull off reinvigorating the franchise for the 21st century it was going to be Rob Zombie, and you have to give him credit: for the first forty minutes of this remake, he seems to be making his own movie. Then the suits at Dimension Films must’ve intervened and demanded changes, because it turns into a pale facsimile of the original with all the jump scares removed.

That’s the film’s fatal flaw: after spending a third of the film with Michael Myers, he’s thrust into the background while the foreground character becomes the considerably less interesting Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor Compton) and her quick-to-disrobe girlfriends. She is surrounded by a stellar supporting cast (Danny Trejo, Brad Dourif, Sid Haig), so there are compensations.

 

 

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  • Abhishek

    Have to catch up a lot of the films in Halloween. Thanks!

  • Incredible how full circle SotW has come and, as the lists illustrates, has become generally acknowledged as one of the best installments in the franchise

    • tommyturner

      SOTW is very good. Lots of suspense. Creepy & scary. VERY ORIGINAL STORY! Tom Atkins is awesome as ever. Dan O’Herlihy steals the movie.

      • Andrew Ray

        Season of the Witch is almost as frightening as the original and in some ways is actually scarier. The film has a sense of dread and foreboding that even the original doesn’t have. You know things are going to end badly.

    • tommyturner

      SOTW was criticized because it wasn’t a Michael movie. Then every Michael movie that came after stunk and people realized SOTW was a pretty good film.

      • Andrew Ray

        Damn right

  • Steve Mahofski

    I think Halloween II (1981) is ranked way too high, and Halloween 5 too low. The worst is probably Curse. Particularly unfortunate because Curse ended up being Donald Pleasence’s final film. 5’s primary sin is sort of forcing you to watch Curse to find out who the mysterious man is in the pointed shoes. Anything that persuades you to watch Curse is a bad thing. But it still maintains the mood and atmosphere of 4 which is a good thing. II has major logic problems that are way beyond solving merely by suspending disbelief which was really frustrating after how well thought out the original was. And II is more like a Friday the 13th outing, and not a particularly good one at that. Kudos for giving III proper due. Though I’d probably rank it this way: 1, 4, III, H20, 5, II, The Zombie reboots, Resurrection, Curse.

  • Josh Lee

    All looks about right to me… nice work.

  • Ted Wolf

    The only one I haven’t seen is 3 and now I’m intrigued.

    • SupernaturalCat

      “The only one I haven’t seen is 3 and now I’m intrigued.”

      I’d read somewhere that someone has written a book claiming the story of Halloween 3: Season of The Witch is supposedly an
      Illuminati plot, or is thematically along those lines. Interesting thought, and if it’s watched with that aspect in mind, it certainly can work as it has that peculiar air about it –although I seriously doubt the claim is speaking to the actual intent of the movie’s makers back when it was made in ’83! In part, I suppose what fuels this particular angle is Carpenter’s obvious nod to similar lore in his brilliant, They Live.

      The original Halloween, and again, the third installment that broke away from the boogeyman storyline, are the only entries on this list I’d bother with. The rest, that I’ve seen, are wholly irrelevant …and, they NEVER got the mask right (i.e. spooky) in the latter entries like it is with Carpenter’s original, and the first sequel (the infamous revamped Shatner mask) The later masks look dumb, 100% un-scary. At least in whichever of those movies I’ve seen. Not a good thing for a horror movie that relies on the cadaver pale death’s head emerging from shadows (“Look! …it’s Bozo the Clown!”)

      Aside from the original Halloween, and its predecessor, Black Christmas (1974) I’ve never been a fan of “slasher” movies, especially the ones that became a franchise, replete with fans of a “Freddy,” or a “Jason,” or a this-or-that name. Just f*ckin’ stupid, and not the least scary or entertaining in my view. To each their own, however.

      • Ted Wolf

        The slash renaissance was during high school for me and my friends and I made it a point to see every one we could.

        • SupernaturalCat

          Oh, as did my friends and I. I was born in the late ’60s, so was fortunate to catch many of the well known genre films of the ’80s in their theatrical/drive in run.

          Remember Madman? (madman Mars)

      • tommyturner

        The Zombie Versions are WAY underrated. Shouldn’t be in the top 3, mind you, but definitely underrated. Zombie had a lot to live up to. His films are grittier and I believe add a truly scary layer BECAUSE you get Michael’s backstory. It’s a real kid from a seriously screwed up family. The fact that it could be any poor kid from a dysfunctional family who doesn’t get the necessary attention and guidance from his guardians IS SCARY! Lots of kids like this exist in society. I know they don’t all grow up to be serial killers, but planting the seed that they could, kind of freaks me out.

        • SupernaturalCat

          Yeah, I guess I can see understand that perspective, too. Again, though, for this particular story, more character background for the boogeyman equates to being overall less effective, in my estimation.

          However, more along the lines of what you’re alluding to, have you ever seen an early ’90s film titled Rampage, directed by William Friedkin? (The Exorcist, French Connection, Sorcerer, etc) …it’s a rarely seen (in the US) movie about what you’re describing: an average boy next door, seemingly normal on the surface, who becomes a serial/mass killer. Interesting take on the subject given it was in Friedkin’s hands. I’m uncertain as to why a domestic dvd/blu ray has never been released.

          As for Rob Zombie… well, I maintain his best film thus far is Lords of Salem, the one that apparently many of his fans don’t care for. My teenage daughter got into that one, and that encouraged me to give it another viewing. House of 1000 Corpses is my favorite of his, although I more so enjoy the ghoulish campiness (the guy playing the clown is a real hoot) of its first half, up to the point when the hapless Young People end up sliced n diced. I don’t even care to see fictitious depictions of people being tortured and killed, it repels me …which I s’pose may sound odd coming from a lifelong genre/horror fan, but I prefer suspense and atmosphere over sadism and grue. It’s all in how it’s presented in a story. For instance, Shirley Jackson’s infamous sort story, “The Lottery” is violent and horrifying, but at its conclusion doesn’t dwell on the specifics on the stones striking and crushing the lottery ‘winner,’ ya know, ’cause it needn’t to convey the terror of the scenario.

          • tommyturner

            Will try to see Rampage. Obviously saw all the rest you mentioned by Friedkin (Sorcerer is AWESOME. Lover Tangerine Dream soundtrack.). Agree with you a lot about Zombie. I love the way he films a movie and his writing. I remember waiting what seems like forever to see House of 1000 Corpses after the first teaser was released. I even enjoyed 31, which I think is his weakest film. You either love him or hate him. I will probably get some criticism for this, but I think he is the Tarantino of horror films with the dialog he writes.

  • Mac888 spectral

    SOTW gets no. 2? Give me a break. I can respect that a lot of folks have warmed up to it in recent years, but parts 2 and 4 are much better movies overall.

  • Andrew Ray

    Yablans came up with the idea to call it the babysitter murders. It was John Carpenter who set it on Halloween. Just clearing that up. Gotta add that I don’t agree where you put H20. Many of the serious fans include the original, II and H20 as the definitive Halloween films, “the trilogy” and the others are second rate. I would be in that group. Halloween 4 sucks.

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