Before the Bloodshed
Halloween’s(1978) influence on the slasher subgenre cannot be overstated. John Carpenter’s masterpiece serves as the Microsoft Office template for every slasher film to come until Scream (1996). In honor of spooky szn and the recent new addition to the franchise, let’s rank the Halloween films by just how slashey they are!
12. “The One Where Rob Zombie Rob Zombies” – Halloween II (2009)
Like all of Zombie’s films, Halloween II is a cruel, unpleasant slog that asks you to question if you’ve ever felt joy at all. Also, like all of Zombie’s films, his wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, is featured despite any semblance of acting ability. This sequel/remake-sequel/sequel-remake is absolutely the worst of the lot.
11. “The One Where Busta Rhymes Kicks or Something, I Don’t Know, It’s Hard to Sit Through” – Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
The eighth entry in the series is perhaps a worse movie than Zombie’s sequel, but at least it’s funny to say the sentence, “You know that Halloween movie starring Tyra Banks?” Jamie Lee is killed off instantly in this ill-filmed cash-grab, and the rest of the seventy-minute runtime is mind-numbing. It’s actually hard to remember much of this movie after it’s over.
10. “The One Where Paul Rudd Does Magic” – Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Running out of Strodes to stalk, Michael turns his blade toward Laurie’s…cousins. But wait! There’s magic! The film only gets points for trying to tie that magic directly to the holiday. Featuring the true rarity of a bad Paul Rudd performance, Halloween 6 is boring, dumb, and tame.
9. “The One Where the Little Girl is, Like, Jean Grey” – Halloween: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Picking up directly after the events of Halloween 4, Michael comes back to murderer his niece. Luckily for the niece, she has now developed telepathy! There are folx who are fans of the fourth and fifth films, but this one is just too desperate to really add any value to series. Also, this one features the most hideous Michael Myers mask in the series—it looks like a failed paper-mâché project.
8. “The One That’s a Torture Porn Remake” – Halloween (2007)
The biggest compliment you can possibly give Zombie’s remake is that it is memorable. It’s not because of anything good, but at least it’s memorable. In true Zombie-fashion, the spooky slasher elements are replaced with mutilating torture porn nonsense. The film’s most egregious error is completely misunderstanding the fascination with Michael Myer’s character, choosing to overexplain his psychopathy to death.
7. “The One That Brought Michael Back” – Halloween: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
After the disappointing reception of Halloween III, the studio brought Michael Myers back to do some more Michael Myers-ing. In trying too hard to please, Halloween 4 doesn’t really achieve anything interesting. Overall, it’s not a terrible film, but it is far more boring than a good sequel should be.
6. “The One That Has Nothing to Do with the Other Ones” – Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
It is still kooky to revisit these films and remember that there is one lone anthology entry in the franchise. Halloween III gets big points for being big weird with a narrative about an evil mask-making corporation that plans to take over the world on Halloween night, one mask at a time. However, the execution is kind of cheesy and doesn’t have a lot of re-watch value.
5. “The One Where Nothing Characters are Treated Like Final Girls” – Halloween Kills (2021)
I am still desperately trying to figure out how I feel about this film. The Michael sequences are not very scary, but they are certainly exciting. Every scene without Michael is…questionable. Every surviving character from the 1978 film is brought back and it’s supposed to be a big deal for some reason? Was anyone really eagerly awaiting the return of the kid Laurie babysat’s bully? The film is super slashey, but not super successful.
4. “The One That Really Wishes It Was Scream” – Halloween: H20 – Twenty Years Later (1998)
H20 is a hoot. Having recently screened it for a group of college students, I can confirm that its entertainment value holds up. It’s cheesy, cheer-inducing, and full of teenagers making dumb decisions. It’s impossible to label this film as “scary,” but it is a fun watch with friends on Halloween.
3. “The One That’s So Much Better Than You Remember” – Halloween II (1981)
Why do more people not love Halloween II?! Picking up the minute the first film ends, Halloween II is a great example of a horror sequel. The scares are effective, the kills are spooky, and the story is solid. Jamie Lee is in the movie far more than people remember her being, and she gives a great performance. Even if it’s the third best film in the series, it’s the one I recommend you revisit most quickly.
2. “The One Where Jamie Lee Curtis Acts Her Ass Off” – Halloween (2018)
Thematic, visually rich, and most importantly, scary, 2018’s Halloween is an impressive film. The film reestablishes Michael Myers as the symbol of the holiday, all while giving the audience a funny, character-driven story. Jamie Lee is so good in this movie, it’s the only time in the series that you’ll actually wish for a little less Michael on screen.
1. “The One” – Halloween (1978)
I, mean, duh.