Of all the seasons in the year, none are quite like October’s spooky season. The cooler weather, changing leaves, pumpkins, and yes, even the pumpkin spice lattes all blend together together to create an unbeatable time of year. Yet, no October is complete without watching a few scary movies. Fortunately, 2021 is set to deliver audiences with another installment in the Halloween franchise, Halloween Kills. But, before catching Michael Myer’s latest killing spree in theaters or on Peacock on October 15th, it is always best to revisit prior entries in the Halloween franchise. Sadly though, not all Halloween movies are made equal. Some are amazing, and some are well… less than amazing. From 1978 to 2018, here are the Halloween movies ranked:
11. The Worst of The Halloween Movies Ranked: Halloween Resurrection (2002)
Halloween Resurrection is a movie filled to the brim with mistakes and bad ideas. The main problem being that it has no business including Michael Myers or Laurie Strode at all. Aside from a dramatic, “final” showdown between the duo in the opening, the rest of the movie is a generic, uninspired slasher. Overall, the only redeeming qualities of Halloween Resurrection are how fun it is to hate watch and how it ensured that Jamie Lee Curtis has appeared in a Halloween movie every decade since the 1970s.
10. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
One year after Michael Myers made his return to the franchise in Halloween 4, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers killed the franchise’s momentum. The pacing is strange, the killing scenes are below average, some of the sound effects are just off or unfitting, the editing is awful, and the movie overall is not scary. Despite the strength of the prior film, Halloween 5 fails to live up to its potential and fails hard.
9. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is notorious among horror fans for a number of reasons. Despite being among the worst Halloween movies, The Curse of Michael Myers had several good things going for it, including some new interesting ideas and mythology as well as some of Paul Rudd’s earliest work. However, all of this was muddled up by studio interference, reshoots, and re-edits. Even when an alternate cut of the film appeared online in 2014, it remained an overly-complicated mess of a movie.
8. Halloween (2007)
A few years after Halloween Resurrection, Rob Zombie gave the Halloween franchise a shot with his gory reboot. Unfortunately, his reboot is a mess. 2007’s Halloween has terrible characters, awful dialogue, and less than ideal pacing. However, in an era where reboots simply retread familiar territory with abundant fan service, Halloween (2007) taking significant liberties with the story and characters is respectable despite not working well. As a bonus, Halloween (2007) features a great albeit short performance from Danny Trejo.
7. The Most Brutal of the Halloween Movies Ranked: Halloween II (2009)
With all of the groundwork laid out in 2007’s Halloween, Rob Zombie was free to go all-in on the gore and brutality of Michael Myers’ murders in 2009’s Halloween II. In fact, this movie is hardly much more than gore. It is a festival of violence, surrealism, and black humor. Although it lacks in story and substance, Halloween II (2009) is a grotesque visual feast for the eyes that captures the power and brutality of Michael Myers, which earns it a fairly decent spot on this list of the Halloween movies ranked.
6. The Mid-Tier of the Halloween Movies Ranked: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is an above-average slasher film. However, like many of the other Halloween movies, it has its ups and downs. Halloween 4 has the best ending in the entire franchise with scream queen Danielle Harris embracing her family name. However, it also has Michael wearing his worst, least terrifying mask. Overall though, Halloween 4 is a solid movie with a few snags that should have started a more intriguing series of follow-ups.
5. Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998)
This movie marks the better half of the Halloween movies ranked. While Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later is far from perfect, it was a worthy follow-up to 1981’s Halloween II. The script is just strong enough, the sequences are well shot and edited, and the performances from Jamie Lee Curtis and much of the rest of the cast are superb. H20 even had a satisfying ending, unlike the constant teases for sequels in prior films. However, there are still better movies in the Halloween franchise.
4. Halloween (2018)
As the most recent entry in the Halloween franchise, Halloween (2018) has not faced years of criticism, analysis, and reanalysis like the rest of the additions to this Halloween movies ranked list. That being said, 2018’s Halloween is a good but not great movie. One of the best parts is Jamie Lee Curtis’ role and performance. Unlike other entries, this version of Laurie Strode is truly haunted by the events of the original film, and her trauma is explored fairly well. However, despite being better than many other Halloween movies, Halloween (2018) is highly overrated. It is not very scary, has way too many uninteresting stock characters, and for the most part treads the same, familiar ground, which adds little to the franchise overall.
3. Halloween II (1981)
Despite having a low score on Rotten Tomatoes, Halloween II (1981) is one of the best Halloween movies. The direction and script from Halloween creator, John Carpenter, along with Debra Hill are great, furthering the narrative of the original, adding some twists, and ultimately extending the original night of terror. It also features a number of creative kills. More importantly, despite being filmed years later, there are moments in Halloween II where it feels like it was shot alongside the original, giving it something extra that the rest of the sequels have not been able to capture.
2. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Although Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the only movie in the Halloween franchise without Michael Myers, it is still one of the best, allowing it to rank highly on our list of Halloween movies ranked. Season of the Witch was intended to be a new direction for the franchise; instead of stories about Michael Myers, they were going to be stories about Halloween the holiday. Because of that, Season of the Witch serves as an old-school, sci-fi horror movie with a lot of great elements and details. The cinematography and music are enthralling, and Tom Atkin’s performance as the hero of the story is charming. While it may be the odd one out, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a great, standalone movie.
1. The Best of the Halloween Movies Ranked: Halloween (1978)
As much fun as it would be to defy expectations and put Season of the Witch in the top spot, the original Halloween from 1978 is undeniably the best of the Halloween movies ranked — if not one of the best horror movies ever made. Halloween (1978) is creepy, original, and overall thrilling. Nearly everything about this movie is perfect: Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance, Donald Pleasence’s performance, Michael Myers’s mask, the kills, the cinematography, and especially the music.
John Carpenter’s score for Halloween (1978) is without a doubt the best horror movie score in existence. The second that piano starts audiences are spellbound. In fact, that is part of what makes all of the Halloween movies watchable to some degree. Whenever that theme comes on, it’s like magic. You know something bad is about to happen, and you cannot turn away. However, none use it quite like the original, which is still the best of the Halloween movies ranked.
Despite Halloween (2018) not ranking among the top three Halloween movies, it is still a worthy entry in the Halloween franchise, which may lead to something greater with Halloween Kills. Viewers can see Halloween Kills in theaters or on Peacock starting October 15!