The Halloween series has seen some great films, some middling films, and some real stinkers over the years. Last year for THS Fright-A-Thon, we wrote extensively over a couple articles about the series. Whether it was part of the Best Part 4’s in Horror, or an entire piece devoted to the red-headed step-child, Halloween III: Season of the Witch. This time around, we’re kicking off the march to Halloween with a ranking of the ultimate Halloween season series. You can watch Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street any time of year; Halloween has it’s true power and impact this time of year. We have Halloween Kills coming out in theaters and on Peacock on October 15th, so let’s get ready for that release with a ranking of every movie in the Halloween series.

UPDATE: Halloween Kills

With the release of Halloween Kills, on October 15th, we’ve updated the list to account for its release. Where does Halloween Kills fall on your list?

12. Halloween II (2009)

This movie is an abomination. I’m sorry to Rob Zombie fans. I enjoy a good portion of his movies. but this one was completely unnecessary. The only redeemable portion of it is that Michael Myers is completely unhinged and brutal in this movie. But that brutality is wasted with cartoonish violence and scenes that stretch far further than they needed to go. The two in particular are Michael stabbing Octavia Spencer‘s Nurse Daniels over and over and over and over and over, and just when you think it’s over, and over and over again. The other is a similar scene where Michael smashes a stripper’s head into a mirror.

It’s just as gratuitous. This movie took steps to set itself apart from just remaking the original Halloween II, but in the end, it succumbs to Rob Zombie’s excessive style. Halloween II goes for a more dreamy and surreal movie, but that fails. Malcolm McDowell is pretty great as Doctor Loomis here though. It’s a shame because the cast is top notch. If you’re going to skip this one on a series watch, I wouldn’t blame you.

11. Halloween Resurrection (2002)

The one thing you can tell from the Halloween films that are lesser than some on this list is that they all released NOWHERE near October. Who releases a Halloween movie in July?

So with this movie, we got the bait and switch that Jamie Lee Curtis would be in it again. Instead of the final battle between Michael and Laurie Strode in the previous film being our last look as an audience, she’s unceremoniously killed off in the first ten minutes. Nice reference to Curtis’s mother in Psycho being killed off in the first section of the film, but it doesn’t work here.

It’s quite simply an unfun entry in the series that uses a tired gimmick of the early 2000’s slasher craze. Taking Michael and confining him to a murder house wasn’t the series best idea. It’s devoid of joy, thrills, or anything that made the series what it was about. Honestly, this one might be worse than Halloween II. These two films could share this bottom spot, but this comes out ahead because at least it has Jamie Lee Curtis for a couple minutes. Finally, it does have Busta Rhymes trying to use karate moves on Michael Myers, so there’s some unintended comedy there.

10. Halloween (2007)


I hate to admit it, but if you’re going to remake a classic, at least try to change it up. Rob Zombie did just that with his 2007 remake of Halloween. It didn’t do enough to rise above the other entries in this list, but the movie doesn’t crap all over itself like it’s sequel. Zombie does put his own spin on the story, but it begs the question: “why did they need to remake Halloween?” The original movie is a classic, and almost perfect. So the questions for remakes come to: can you update it to current day or can you add anything new to this story? It turns out Zombie didn’t answer either of those questions with this film,

It doesn’t add anything but more brutality to the killing and Zombie’s special flair. As with Halloween II, this movie has a tremendous cast and some good performances, but at the end of the day, it’s unnecessary. It added too much to Michael’s backstory. Sometimes you don’t need to know why a monster turns into one.

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

Whether you watch the theatrical cut or the Producer’s Cut of this film, it’s pretty messy. The two variations of the film have some pretty big differences between them when it comes to the story, but they share the convoluted backstory that they had to slap on for Michael Myers and the Cult of Thorn. Halloween 5 ended with Michael being broken out of jail by the Man in Black. That’s a pretty cool image from that film, but this one takes that into a territory that the series likely didn’t need to go on. It doesn’t help that there was such a large gap between the two that we couldn’t get Danielle Harris as Jamie Lloyd in this one.

The film features the final performance of Donald Pleasence as Doctor Loomis. It turns out that adding more and more to a simple story bloats it up. This one is worth a watch because it’s the final appearance for Pleasence. I find the Producer’s Cut to be the better version of the film, but they’re both at least watchable.

8. Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers (1989)


Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers embraces slasher conventions but throws away the amazing ending to Halloween 4 in favor of more Michael Myers. It seems to be a hallmark of the series that when they find something or have a good idea, they always end up going back to Michael. Calling back to the classic monsters of the past from Universal, this one starts with Michael on the run and settling with an old hermit to recover for a year. Jamie Lloyd is mute and damaged from the events of the past film. The old Myers house is changed to a bigger more mansion-like setting, due to filming constraints and the fact that they couldn’t find the original house.

It was the start of the excess and questionable ideas that would plague the series in it’s later installments, but this one is still pretty fun for fans of slasher movies.

7. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Another Halloween movie that released in not October. What gives?

This was the first of the films to start the convoluted, confusing, and sometimes unnecessary retconning of sequels. It disregards the events of 4-6 and starts off where Halloween II ended. Laurie Strode is presumed dead, but she’s actually been living as the Headmaster of a prestigious private school. This one could have been much different though. John Carpenter was originally attached to direct, but requested a $10 million fee and a three-picture deal. Instead of turning the franchise back over to it’s creator, the Weinstein’s denied him and Steve Miner took over as director.

The 90’s changed horror with the release of Scream, and H20 follows in that film’s footsteps. It’s more fun, more interesting, and just a better shot film than most of the sequels. Having Jamie Lee Curtis back as Laurie Strode helps. Back in the day, people went out of their way to compare this one to the original film, and didn’t let it stand on it’s own. That’s a mistake, this film stands as a high point of the later sequels.

6. Halloween II (1981)


Halloween did end on somewhat of a cliffhanger. It picks up right after the events of the first film, with Laurie Strode on her way to the hospital and Doctor Loomis in pursuit of Michael. The film is much more violent and gory than the previous installment, which either ups the enjoyment of the film or doesn’t, depending on who you ask. It does a decent job despite what John Carpenter has said about the film in the years since he wrote it.

The plot is quite simple, but does the job. Michael has some of his most gruesome kills in the series in this film. It led to a creative choice to further the series without Michael Myers, that would backfire with audiences. Halloween II is a fantastic sequel to the original that started it all. I try to make it a double feature every Halloween.

5. Halloween Kills (2021)

Check out the full review of Halloween Kills, but to put it short, this one is a fantastic old school slasher film. It gives us a look into the mob mentality of Haddonfield’s residents and makes Michael Myers TRULY scary once again.

4. Halloween (2018)

How wrong could this movie have gone? Thankfully, you had a cast, crew, and creative team that cared about the feeling and lore of the original films. This one brought back Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter as an Executive Producer. The team of David Gordon Green, Jeff Fradley, and Danny McBride brought Halloween into the new age with this “sequel/retcon” of all the various sequels. Blumhouse and Universal made the series scary again with this one. It’s the start of a new trilogy of films culminating with Halloween Ends in 2022.

It gave us the badass and weathered Laurie Strode that we deserve. If this is the “end” of the Halloween series, the finale to the Strode story is in good hands for this trilogy. Halloween Kills releases on October 15th and should rival this film in quality. This is the blueprint for how to continue/modify a slasher story for the new generation.

3. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)


I wrote all about this movie last year for Fright-A-Thon. That entry came to the defense of Halloween III. This movie was lambasted by critics and audiences at the time because it didn’t have Michael Myers. Instead, they went the route of making the series about the traditions and evil of Halloween. This movie might have a strange route to get there, but it serves a great purpose of starting an anthology series about the holiday. Instead, audiences didn’t understand why Michael Myers wasn’t in the movie. They rejected it, and the idea to make an anthology series was scrapped.

It’s strange that no one has tried to emulate this idea to have a different Halloween based story each year, but this one went for it. It’s not a bad movie despite what some people will say. Tom Atkins is badass and the film doesn’t skimp out on the kills. It even goes as far as killing kids that happen to wear the evil masks made by the Shamrock Company.

If you haven’t seen this one in a while, give it another shot. It’s worth your time.

2. Halloween IV: The Return Of Michael Myers (1988)

Here’s the surprise of the entire list, depending on the type of Halloween fan you are. This one has some of the hallmarks and tropes of an unsuccessful horror sequel. Original heroine Jamie Lee Curtis is unceremoniously killed off years before the story takes place. It only has Donald Pleasence returning from the first two films. John Carpenter and Debra Hill aren’t involved at all. Somehow, through all of it, it takes a simple route to the plot. Michael Myers is chasing after Laurie’s daughter, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris). That’s about it.

Simplicity works well here, and the only really negative thing about it, is Michael Myers’s mask. It looks silly compared to the rest of the masks from all the other films. That doesn’t take too much away from a film that stood tall in a field of bloated, overcomplicated, and dying slashers of the late 80’s. The ending had the chance to set up a new chapter of the series with Jamie Lloyd becoming the killer, but they strayed away from that with the fifth installment. Finally, the film’s opening captures the essence of the Fall and Halloween seasons perfectly. If you haven’t watched it yet to ring in the Halloween season, you need to.

1. Halloween (1978)


It was number two on my list of Best Horror Movies Ever. What can I say about this movie that hasn’t already been said by countless others? I can add my own personal experience with it, and that’s about it. Because this film is a classic that popularized an entire genre, the slasher genre. John Carpenter and Debra Hill crafted a simple story that stretched out across 40+ years of films. There were blatant knockoffs, and there were countless sequels. But you really cannot get better than the simplicity and naivety of this film and it’s plot. We just have a monster, the man chasing the monster, and a girl affected by the monster. It’s that simple.

The series might twist and turn and take a bigger shape after this movie, but it’ll always be the best example of slasher films and horror in general.

So, do my rankings match up with yours? Do you like Halloween 4 as much as I do? Do you enjoy the Rob Zombie movies? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @HunterBolding.

For more on horror, check out Fright-A-Thon 2021 or stay tuned to That Hashtag Show.