All 12 Halloween Movies Ranked in the Franchise

Warning: May Contain Spoilers

Following one of the most successful film releases in Halloween history, Halloween Kills the middle piece to director Gordon Green’s reboot trilogy hits $50.4M opening day. As of the time of this article it’s overall gross to date is $255.6M.Since Halloween (2018) begins 40 years after the original Halloween II (1981), and considering the ending of Halloween Resurrection, watching them in order of release, may be confusing. To help with planning your Halloween Movie Marathon, the renowned media company Variety ranked all 12 of the Halloween Movies from best to worst. 

(Listed from worst to best according to Variety’s ranking)

12. Halloween Resurrection (R.2002) 

The 8th entry in the Michael Myers slasher series, follows Michael stalking a group of fame seeking college students as they agree to spend the night in Michael’s childhood home for one night while being filmed for an internet reality show. Aside from the ridiculous cameo by Jamie Lee Curtis, other famous stars in this one include Busta Rhymes playing a martial arts enthusiastic web producer. Despite being directed by Rick Rosenthal, who has experience directing a successful Halloween film, this one lacked suspense, and kept Michael on screen too much of the movie, killing his mysterious persona – no pun intended. 

11. Halloween 5: the Revenge of Michael Myers (R.1989)

Where to begin with this follow-up to Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers? Let’s start with the awful mask that appears like a bad generic rip off of Michael’s mask. Next we have the horrible barn stalking scene that feels like it’s the length of the entire movie. Maybe it was the sound of Tina’s voice or the bad sound effects. Mainly, I agree with this placement due to the failed attempt to scare us once, just once. 

10. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (R.1995)

Most people loved Paul Rudd playing the now town weirdo, Tommy Doyle, in the years following his encounter with Michael in the first installment. But that still doesn’t save its placement on this list. This film’s downfall was sadly on the production side. The confusing backstory was a result of screenwriter Daniel Farrands’ attempt to piece together the story with the overly complicated story he was given for this film. Endless reshoots and terrible re-edits left this film a confusing disappointment for many. The released an alternate producer’s cut in 2014, but that one didn’t provide the clarity they thought it would. In my opinion, you should not take two of the same film to explain one film but that’s me. You get once shot but with there being 12 of these, there were plenty of takes to go over.

9. Rob Zombie’s Halloween (R.2007)

This placement I definitely do not agree with but the reasons Variety gave were the only benefits were the Michael Myers backstory that we do not get in the 1978 original. Onced the normal storyline with the babysitter begins, this is where Variety states the film loses steam. Which is basically after the first 20 minutes of the film. The take on Michael was nearly the opposite as John Carpenter’s quiet, stalking, lethal killer but nonetheless made this Michael terrifying to watch. 

8. Halloween Kills (R.2021)

This placement seems right as it does lack a plot line being the middle part of director  Gordon Green’s reboot trilogy but Variety’s has its own reasons for the ranking. The best things about the film were, to me, the most important parts of horror films, kill scenes and a suspenseful and fantastic score. The way the film was shot using a glow, gives the film a great nostalgic and creepy nod to the 1978 version complimenting well with the 1978 flashbacks in Kills. The lack of plot line, Laurie’s lack of interaction with Michael due to her sidelined injury she sustained in Halloween (2018), and the angry mob were the weak points of this film. I enjoyed the kill scenes, the score (and timing of the score), and the 1978 flashback mask were my favorite parts.

7. Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (R.2009)

This one I liked second to last, so. That’s how I feel about that. Variety feels slightly different. 

Rob Zombie was able to unleash his imagination free from having to stick to the plotline of the original 1981 version, Rob meshed pulverizing violence, weird surrealism, and dark nightmarish type scenes into his telling of Michael’s continued pursuit of Laurie Strode. This was a straight up unforgiving slasher movie with some dark atmospheres. 

6. Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (R.1998)

Now this was the Halloween that came out when I was a kid. And this Michael scared the crap out of me, mind you I had not seen 1978 yet. In this anniversary installment Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode, which is probably what made this film one of the best in the franchise. This film ignores films 4,5, and 6 where Laurie works as a headmistress at a private boarding school. Josh Hartnett and Michelle Williams make appearances in this film which was early in their careers as well. Two-time Friday the 13th director Steve Miner helmed this reunion of Michael Myers, and Laurie Strode which perhaps adds more value to the success of this film. 

5. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (R.1988)

Scratch that – this one has the worst mask of the collection. Despite that piece, writer Dwight H. Little delivers a solid, old fashioned plot, which is easy for us to follow and enjoy. It also introduced the world to Danielle Harrris and gave us a great slasher masterpiece that has made the AMC’s FearFest’s annual programming every year.

4. Halloween (R.2018)

The first installment in director Gordon Green’s franchise, this film takes place 40 years after the events in Halloween II (1981) ignoring all other films in the collection. Jamie Lee Curtis kicks up her paranoia a bit from H20 and she appears as a nutty old grandmother. Until Michael makes his usual Halloween holiday visit and we get to see how badass Jamie Lee Curtis can be as she plays a mature Laurie Strode. Not to mention a cool more featureless mask and some awesome scenes to go along with that.

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

This sci-fi horror tale does not feature Michael Myers but does give us an awesome little story about a diabolicatal toymaker who boobytraps masks. Tom Atkins leads with an amazing performance, scored by John Carpenter, and beautifully shot by DP Dean Cundey as he battles an Irish warlock in California. 

2. Halloween II (R.1981)

In the second installment ever in the collection, Rick Rosenthal delivers on his promise of more of the night he came home, with this film beginning where the original 1978 ended. Shot in the hospital following Halloween night in 1978 (but really it’s 1980) Dr. Loomis  and Michael faceoff, which adds value to the chilling hospital backdrop. The kill scenes and plays off of the availability of medical tools, along with John Carpenter’s score which has been said to top the original score achieves this film the rank of #2 rightfully in the same place it falls in the collection.

  1. Halloween (R. 1978)

You just can’t beat the original and despite the different stories and remakes of the original, there can be only one #1. The key points of this film being the combination of the ideal cast and crew with John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Jamie Lee Curtis, and legendary English actor, Donald Pleasence. Dr. Loomis’ insistent repeating of Michael Myers being pure evil adds to the terror of Michael and is also a point that is reaffirmed in later films.                  

Here they are in order of the ranking: 

  1. Halloween (1978)
  2. Halloween II (1981)
  3. Halloween III (1982)
  4. Halloween (2018)
  5. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
  6. Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998)
  7. Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009)
  8. Halloween Kills (2021)
  9. Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)
  10. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
  11. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
  12. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)                              

Published by Kris C.

Kris is the host of the REEL Film Reviewed podcast, the owner of REEL ProduCtions, LLC, (the capital C is intentional) and is an independent filmmaker.

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