While nowhere as confusing as many other horror franchises (we’re looking at you Friday the 13th), the Halloween series is a bit of a mess. A mess because out of the 11 movies made, it operates on 3 different timelines, has a remake and a remake sequel and has one film that is completely separate to Michael Myers story.
For this story recap we’re going to break each timeline down starting with the first and the longest.
Timeline I – Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) and Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Halloween begins in 1978. The famous franchise opening in 1963 on Halloween night in the town of Haddonfield, Illinois. A young Michael Myers who, after seeing his sister having sex, takes a knife and kills her.
He is found on the street by his parents, seemingly catatonic and locked away in Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. 15 years later and Michael escapes and heads back to Haddonfield. Along the way he kills a mechanic and takes his clothes, gets some knives and finds his infamous mask.
Meanwhile in Haddonfield, a young woman called Laurie Strode is preparing for Halloween night. However, Michael arrives in town and starts stalking Laurie killing her friends as the night goes on.
Eventually the pair have a showdown and Laurie is saved by Dr Loomis who shoots Michael knocking him off a balcony. However, when he goes to check on the body…it is gone.
The sequel, Halloween II would be released in 1981 and pick up exactly where the last film ended. Haddonfield is on high alert with every police officer searching for Michael while Laurie is rushed to hospital. When someone dressed in a similar outfit is run down and killed in an explosion, the police think it’s over but Dr Loomis isn’t so sure.
He is right and Michael Myers is still alive.
He heads over to the hospital to finish off Laurie as it is revealed that she is his younger sister. Hence why he has targeted her.
After stalking Laurie through the halls of the hospital and killing many people along the way, Michael’s eyes are shot out and he is blown up by Dr Loomis. As his aflame body collapses to the floor it seems to be over.
After the third stand-alone movie would flop, Michael was brought back for Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. Released in 1988, it is revealed that Myers has been comatose since the explosion in the hospital. While being transported in an ambulance, Myers awakens when he hears that Laurie died in a car crash but she had a daughter, named Jamie.
Now awake, Michael kills the ambulance crew and sets off to Haddonfield to meet his niece. As does Dr Loomis who has since heard about Michael’s escape.
The young girl Jamie has been living with a foster family since her mother’s death and has started to have nightmares about her Uncle. The dreams become a reality when he arrives in town and starts creating a bloody path to Jamie.
As the killings ramp up, the town becomes aware of his presence and his attempts to kill Jamie fall short. Eventually being gunned down by a mob and knocked into a mineshaft.
In a twist though, the experience has twisted Jamie and she dons a clown mask similar to what the young Myers wore when he killed his sister. She is found bloody and holding a pair of scissors by Dr Loomis.
A year later, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers would be released and drop the idea of Jamie following in the footsteps of Michael Myers. Instead the shooting scene from the last is extended to show the police throwing dynamite down the shaft to finish him off.
It doesn’t work as Michael is able to escape into a creek where he is found by a hermit and falls into a coma. One year later, Myers awakens and kills the hermit before heading off to Haddonfield again to kill Jamie.
Following the trauma the year before Jamie has been rendered mute and been staying at a hospital. Her nightmares are now so severe they cause seizures and it is established by Dr Loomis that she shares a psychic link with the killer now.
He uses this to his advantage to lure Michael into a final showdown where Jamie attempts to appeal to his humanity. After Loomis beats Myers unconscious, he has a stroke and the police arrive. For the first time in the series, Michael is arrested and put in prison.
Not for long though as a mysterious man in black arrives at the station and breaks Michael out, killing many police along the way.
The final movie in this timeline was released in 1995 and was called the Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers.
It is revealed that the night Michael disappeared from the police station, Jamie was also abducted. Six years later, a teenage Jamie escapes her captors but is pursued by Michael Myers along with her recently born infant child.
Eventually Michael catches up to her and kills her but the child is gone.
The baby is found by Tommy who was the boy babysat by Laurie back in 1978. He takes the child back to Haddonfield but of course Michael is also in town too. As is Dr Loomis who has since retired but hears a desperate plea from Jamie on the radio.
Tommy is obsessed with Michael Myers and has spent years trying to understand why he does what he does. He believes that Michael is cursed. The curse of Thorn, represented by a symbol on his wrist. It is said that a child would be chosen to bear the curse and must sacrifice its next of kin on the night of Halloween.
This all comes to a head at Smith’s Grove where the man in black is revealed to be Dr Wynn, a colleague of Dr Loomis. Wynn is the head of a cult that worships the curse of Thorn and has Michael under their control.
Jamie’s child will be the the start of a new cycle of evil.
The cult’s plan is foiled by Tommy and Dr Loomis resulting in Michael turning on his captors. Eventually ending with Tommy injecting Micheal with a corrosive liquid and battering him with a pipe.
Dr Loomis later finds Michael’s body missing but his mask on the floor.
It should be noted that this is one ending of Halloween 6 and in fact, the movie has many different versions including an ending that saw Dr Loomis assailed with the Thorn symbol implying he would now have to lead the cult.
Both versions end with the sound of Dr Loomis screaming.
…and that’s the abridged story of the first Halloween timeline. One that flips and flops all over the place before diving off a cliff with the wacky cult/Thorn stuff.
Timeline II – Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), Halloween H20: 20 Years later (1998) and Halloween Resurrection (2002)
In this timeline, the original 1978 Halloween movie and its sequel in 1981, Halloween II are canon. Everything that followed afterwards was thrown away.
Called Halloween H20: 20 Years Later and released in 1998, this movie opens with the nurse colleague of Dr Loomis from the first film finding her home broken into. The burglar is Michael Myers who wanted a file on Laurie Strode. After finding what he wants he kills the woman and some neighbour kids before heading off to Summer Glen in California.
This is where Laurie Strode now lives having faked her death and changed her name. She is the headmistress of a private school where her son also attends. It is revealed that every year leading up to Halloween night she suffers nightmares of what her brother did.
She expects him to return even though her son points out that it has been 20 years since he was last seen.
She’s right though, as Michael arrives & begins his stalking of Laurie and murdering people who get in his way. However, she is not a victim anymore and fights back eventually impaling him on a flagpole and knocking him off a balcony.
Presumed dead, his body is to be taken away in an ambulance but Laurie steals it. In the back Michael wakes up so Laurie brakes and sends him crashing through the window before running him down. The ambulance crashes pinning Myers against a tree whereupon Laurie decapitates him with an axe.
It should have ended there but it didn’t as this timeline would have another sequel called Halloween Resurrection in 2002.
It is revealed that Laurie had killed the wrong person at the end of the last film. Michael had attacked a paramedic and dressed him up in his clothes. To ensure the man couldn’t cry out, Michael also tore out his larynx.
Years later, Laurie has remained mute and was committed to an asylum. However, she is just preparing for Michael to come and attack her. Once again, she is right but she leads him into a trap. Hanging upside down on the roof, Laurie second guesses herself wanting to be sure it is Michael and goes to take his mask off. Michael grabs her arm and turns the tables stabbing her in the back and dropping her to her death.
Job finally done, he returns to his dilapidated home in Haddonfield.
Meanwhile, a group of students are to take part in a web show run by Dangertainment. Wearing cameras and being filmed all the time, the group are to spend the night in the old Myers place. The idea being that they will be looking to uncover the truth about why Michael killed so many people.
Of course it is all set up, at least until Michael takes umbrage to his home being invaded.
For those watching, the lines of reality and fiction get blurred leading to an eventual showdown between the final girl, the producer of Dangertainment and Myers. The killer is electrocuted and presumed dead but wakes up in the morgue.
Which brings this timeline to a close too. four films spread across 24 years.
Timeline III – Halloween (1978) and Halloween (2018)
The most recent one. Only the original movie in 1978 is cannon followed by a same-titled sequel in 2018. This one finds Laure Strode living a reclusive life constantly preparing for Michael’s return. Much to the chagrin of her daughter and granddaughter.
Since the events of the first film, Michael has been locked up in a sanitarium. His opportunity to escape arises when he is transferred along with multiple other prisoners. He hunts down a pair of true crime podcasters who have his mask before making his way back to Haddonfield.
Once there he goes on a killing spree before finding out that Laurie is still alive. He turns his attention to her and her family but Laurie has been preparing for this for years.
The movie ends with Michael trapped in a basement as flames erupt around him. It seems in escapable but with sequels in the works, the killer isn’t dead yet.
Timeline IV – Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009)
The first film sticks closely to the plot of the original but goes deeper into Myers childhood. A boy from a damaged home, he shows serial killer traits by killing small animals. Eventually upgrading to a school bully before taking his knife not just to his sister but his abusive step father too.
Confined to a sanitarium, Dr Loomis tries to get through too Michael but he retreats into himself unclear as to why he is even there.
After he tries to kill a nurse it is decided that he will remain in prison indefinitely and Dr Loomis makes a lot of money off his case. As an adult, Michael escapes and heads back to Haddonfield to kill is younger sister who has since been adopted.
Brutally murdering her friends, the film culminates with a battered Laurie and Michael both going over the balcony and Laurie shooting him in the face.
Halloween II begins with a flashback of the young Michael Myers being visited by his mother in the sanitarium. She gives him a white horse statue and Michael tells her of his dream where he sees his mother all in white telling him to come home.
Like the original duo, Halloween II picks up directly afterwards with Laurie being rushed to hospital. Michael isn’t dead and isn’t far behind, cutting a bloody path towards Laurie. This turns out to be a dream that Laurie is having one year after the events of the previous film.
She’s struggling with the trauma especially as Michael’s body wasn’t found and he is presumed dead.
He’s not, in fact he’s been hiding out but picks up his knife again when he has a vision of his mother and his younger self telling him to bring Laurie home. So once again, Michael sets off to Haddonfield.
Laurie is also having visions and goes into catatonic states where she acts out the murder that Michael is doing at the time. Later she discovers, she is his sister and that he is back in town.
After slaughtering many people, Michael is able to kidnap Laurie and take her to his shack. There, Laurie’s visions keep her captive while Dr Loomis tries to reason with Michael. It fails and he is killed but Laurie is able to break free and kill Michael once and for all.
The movie ends with a mentally broken Laurie emerging from the shack wearing his mask and is then shown in a sanitarium smiling at a vision of her mother.
The Stand Alone Movie – Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
It’s no secret that the creators of Halloween wanted the franchise to tell different stories each entry. Hence why they killed off Myers at the end of Halloween II in 1981. Halloween III: Season of the Witch would be the one and only attempt at this.
Dr Dan Challis is brought a patient who was found hurt and clutching a jack o’lantern mask. While in the hospital, the man who attacked him arrives and finishes off the job. Wearing a dark suits and not speaking, the killer goes to his car and sets himself on fire.
Dan meets the murdered man’s daughter who tells him about the mask her father was holding when he was taken to hospital. It comes from Silver Shamrock Novelties, a powerful company who make Halloween masks.
Dan begins to dig and discovers a witchcraft like plot to sacrifice children on Halloween night. One led by the head of Silver Shamrock, a man named Cochran.
At 9pm on Halloween night during a Silver Shamrock commercial, a chip inside the masks that the children are wearing will go off, killing them. He demonstrates this for Dan with a young boy and his family.
Cochran puts a mask on Dan and leaves him to die but he is able to escape. After fighting off Cochran’s goons and killing the man himself, Dan attempts to call the TV station to stop the commercial being aired. However, he is too late and the film ends as he screams into the phone while the commercial plays.
So there you have it, an abridged recap of the entire Halloween franchise. 4 timelines and one stand alone totalling 11 movies.