The original Halloween movie is very sneakily probably the movie I have seen more than any other.
It seems weird, but I watched it a lot as a kid, and even as an adult I watch it with some regularity during the Halloween season. So usually at least once more a year. It only recently dawned on me that I watch it so much… probably more than movies I like better, such as Hot Fuzz or Scott Pilgrim Vs The World.
There are so many other Halloweens, though! Some I have seen many times; others I have seen only once. But if I were to rank them all, what would that look like?
I’M GLAD YOU ASKED.
#11. Halloween: Resurrection
What even is this flick? After so much effort over so many movies, Michael pretty effortlessly dispatches of Jamie Lee Curtis’s Lauri Strode in the opening minutes and then just… goes back to his house? Where a real-time reality show is being filmed? So he just starts offing the kids running around his house, like you do. It’s… pretty bad.
Oh, and Busta Rhymes BEATS THE CRAP out of Michael Myers in a fist fight. It’s like bad WWE where he insisted that he be booked strong against the monster heel.
#10. Rob Zombie’s Halloween II
I’mma be honest: I saw this one, and I don’t remember anything about it. It was just forgettable. I wish I had more to contribute, but I literally can’t remember so much as a scene from this. Wow.
#9. Halloween III: Season of the Witch
This is a movie that spent ages being hated because it was a Halloween movie that didn’t feature Michael Myers. It was this weird little outlier movie that just didn’t fit in, and people dismissed it out of hand.
Then a funny thing happened… public sentiment started swinging the OTHER direction, and suddenly it is unabashedly praised and referred to as maybe the best in the series after the original.
Here’s my take: the sudden love for this film comes strictly as a hipster answer to the disdain it faced for years and a desire to seem different. Or maybe it’s even just a kickback against never-ending horror franchise sequels that do the same thing over and over. Halloween 3 IS different from the rest, but it’s still not particularly good (neither because of or in spite of that fact). The odd thing about this movie is that it’s entirely memorable BECAUSE it’s Halloween 3. If it was a separate flick just called “Season of the Witch”, it would have been forgotten about ages ago.
#8. Rob Zombie’s Halloween
God, I HATE this movie. I don’t even like that it is THIS high. But Resurrection is dumpster juice, its own sequel is a nothing movie, and Season of the Witch is just blah. At the very least, this had the basic bones of a Halloween movie.
This movie gave Michael the poor piteous back story that NO ONE asked for, up to and including making him a snotty little brat who deserves a good smack in the face. Daeg Faerch plays pre-teen Michael, and he is just… just the worst. Maybe that’s intentional, but he comes across as more of a petulant jerk than an ominous monster-in-making. I couldn’t stand any scene he was in.
The movie also loses points for bringing in a grown-up Danielle Harris and having her get topless. Danielle Harris, if you don’t know, played Michael’s young niece in Halloween’s 4 and 5, and that’s just skeevy, Rob Zombie. Come on, no one needed that!
The movie GETS a point for Taylor Scout-Compton as Laurie Strode because she was quite good in reprising the classic role and, honestly, very pretty to look at throughout. Sorry, not sorry.
#7. Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers
Paul Rudd was in a Halloween movie! LOVE IT.
Even at such a young age, in one of his first roles, in a horror slasher flick, he is just so… PAUL RUDD here. He makes little smirky faces and elevates everything else going on with his inherent charm and neurotic character. This movie is worth it just for his work.
This was Donald Pleasance’s last Halloween film before he passed, and that’s a shame because this one is weird. There is suddenly a whole CULT built up around Myers, and he is their avatar on Earth. They even give him a little underground bunker to rest in when he is not murdering teenagers, which… sure. Why not?
#6. Halloween (2018)
I think other people liked this one more than I did. It just seemed a bit too proud of itself and off-the-wall.
First off, it re-wrote almost forty years of history by retconning the reveal in Halloween II (and, in fact, erased that entire movie altogether) that Michael and Laurie are siblings. What the hell? That was a FOUNDATION of Halloween lore. Even Rob Zombie’s piddly ass movies got THAT right!
Then it had Laurie dedicate her entire life to planning revenge against Michael, but she still relies on massive luck to overcome him because she has rooms in her house full of sheets and mannequins that serves no purpose than to make things scary for an audience and difficult for her to scope out.
AND there is a ludicrously inane heel turn by a character, and it serves no purpose. That moment genuinely annoyed me when it happened because it was a swerve JUST to swerve.
That said, Jamie Lee is brilliant as always and gives herself up to her raving, batty role here. Judy Greer is her typically wonderful self. There is stuff that worked for me, but there’s more that just didn’t.
#5. Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Listen. No, listen! I don’t want to hear it! Just… you listen, okay?
I really like Halloween parts 4 and 5.
I’m sure it’s nostalgia because they are hallmarks of my childhood (and yes, I love that hallmarks of my pre-teen childhood are slasher flicks), but I still watch Return and Revenge with some frequency, and they hold up just fine to me.
Of the two, part 5 is worse because it’s a bit hokier with its incompetent pair of cops and man-out-of-time greaser character. And it killed off poor Rachel who was such a good protagonist in part 4. But it replaced her with Tina, who was fine as a surrogate. It also provided a rare spark of hope into the series by NOT having Jamie follow in her uncle’s footsteps after the ending of Halloween part 4.
So I don’t know. I liked it. It follows the original continuity. Introduces more characters to the universe. And has Donald Pleasance!
#4. Halloween II
The slowest hospital in history! Seriously… who would ever go to this dimly-lit, poorly staffed medical facility? If the random masked serial killers don’t get you, you’ll probably die of inattentive care.
Still, this is the original Halloween sequel, and it follows up the chills of the original in a new, claustrophobic environment.
It’s not AS well made as its predecessor, but its acceptable. And to this day, when waiting for and getting on an elevator, I think “Would these doors close fast enough to save me from a slowly walking killer?”. These are the important things to consider.
#3. Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers
I really miss the original Halloween continuity, but more on that next entry.
This is the movie that introduced Jamie Lloyd, Michael Myers’ niece and the daughter of Laurie Strode, who would be driving force of the next few flicks. Laurie herself is written off in this continuity as having died in an accident since the events of Halloween 2, which is kind of a shame, but the movie makes it work.
So after the Season of the Witch interlude, Michael is BACK for this one, and now on the hunt for his niece. It works the formula of the original, and I dig the new characters of Jamie and Rachel, as well as the always-welcomed return of Dr. Loomis! There’s also an angry mob in this movie which I get a bigger kick out of than I should, and its ending kind of inspired parts of the ending to the #2 movie on my list with its car attack on a quiet road that results in attempted vehicular manslaughter!
#2. Halloween H20
This movie erased part 4, 5, and 6 from existence, and that made me sad.
In this new rebooted continuity, only the first two Halloweens count (and, as I mentioned, in 2018 they would reboot again and go one further by eliminating part 2), but that’s fine because this is the most well-made Halloween since the first. Curtis is finally back and giving the stellar performance we are all used to. Josh Hartnett is here as the other main protagonist, Laurie’s son (NOT a daughter named Jamie!).
Friggin’ LL Cool J is here, too, in a fun role where, unlike Busta Rhymes, he did not demand he gets to whoop on Michael.
It’s all just fun and well-done and has JLC. Good stuff. I do resent it for overwriting 4 and 5, but… oh well. It felt like it was trying the hardest since 1978’s classic.
#1. Halloween (1978)
The best horror movie of all time. Everything works here: from Curtis’ portrayal as the most noteworthy Final Girl in history, to Michael as the silent, stalking madman, to Donald Pleasance as the bewilderingly charming Dr. Loomis who is just screaming “EVIL IS COMING!” at everyone who will listen like a loon. The music and score and, really, all of the audio is foreboding and significant. The directing uses great work with shadows and zooms to build terror. And it’s so smart because there are details in the background throughout the movie you will only notice on several re-watches.
The original Halloween is an incredibly well-constructed flick that maximized its viewers’ sense of dread and created three of the most outstanding characters in all of horror. A deserving classic.
That’s it! That’s the ranking? What do you think?
You think I should swap Halloween 4 and Halloween H20?
Halloween 4 IS better, isn’t it?
No! I have to stay strong! As much as I love 4, a good Halloween movie with Jamie Lee is better than a good movie without her.
Eh, consider it a virtual tie.
But what would YOUR list be? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time… take care!