The GBHBL Definitive Ranking of the Halloween Movie Series
Halloween, like so many of the other horror franchises is as famous now for the diminishing quality of its many sequels. A franchise that begun in 1978 with what is still wildly regarded as one of the finest horror movies ever made (we gave it 10/10 & you can read that review here).
It was followed by a direct sequel in 1981 that was supposed to tie up the Michael Myers story. You see, John Carpenter & Debra Hill never envisioned Michael to be a multi-film star. In fact they wanted to make Halloween movies that would tell a different story every time.
This is what we got with Halloween III: Season of the Witch. A Halloween horror that has absolutely no links to Michael Myers save for him appearing on a TV as someone watches the very first movie.
Fans hated it so the studios decided to bring back Michael for the next film & every one after. A franchise that is 8 original movies long (including the third). one that has also had a remake/re-imagining & a sequel to that remake. Then, most recently, a new timeline that saw the original movie getting a direct sequel only, with a follow-up to that coming a few years later in 2021. Before that series of movies wrapped up in 2022. 13 Halloween movies in total with most wildly considered to be bad.
But are they? Is every film after the original really that bad? This ranking is based off our original scores when we reviewed the individual movie. If two films scored the same, the ranking is based on the which one we would rather watch again.
This is our definitive ranking of the series to date based off our original scores that we gave when we reviewed them. If several movies got the same score then those ones will be in order of which one we think is the better film. It’s not necessarily the best order to watch them (in particular the first & second should be watched back to back) but it’s what we think is the worst up to the best.
13 – Halloween Resurrection (2002)
Our Score: 2/10
Michael comes home to find a group of ‘ghost-hunters’ wandering around his house. He is less then pleased so sets about slaughtering everyone in sight leading to Busta Rhymes having a fist fight with the killer.
Say hello to the movie that took the already battered & bruised franchise, put its open mouth on the edge of a kerb & then stamped on its head. There is no one out there with anything good to say about this absolute train wreck.
It’s a real struggle to find positives in this movie. It is stunning at just how poorly it is put together & how it has lost sight of what made Halloween a tense &, at times, scary movie.
It’s hard to be disappointed when you don’t expect much going in but this film still manages to go lower then the already low expectations. Jamie Lee Curtis is briefly in it & that helps lift the opening 15 minutes but the film is still a plot-hole mess that helps destroy any semblance of threat from Michael Myers & shows you just how bad some actors can be. Check out our full review here.
12 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009)
Our Score: 4/10
Rob Zombie was free from the leash that had kept him tied to the original movie for this follow-up to his remake/re-imagining. Unfortunately, it results in a move that is lacking in creativity.
Michael has slunk off licking his wounds but is visited by the ghost of his mother & told to bring Laurie home. So a year later, he returns to Haddonfield to finish what he started.
Being free to build on the original in his own way, story-wise seemed to have caused some problems as they’re really isn’t anything that memorable about the plot. Halloween II is likely to only please Rob Zombie fans. This sequel proves that there is very little need for anymore re-telling’s of the Michael Myers story. Check out our full review here.
11 – Halloween Kills (2021)
Our Score: 5/10
Unfortunately, Halloween Kills falls significantly short of the expectations created by Halloween 2018. Missing the mark on several important points and lacking significant developments to make this feel worthwhile. It’s a middle film of a planned trilogy and feels it.
If you’ve been eagerly waiting for this film, set your expectations lower and you might enjoy it more. It’s not a bad film (as some are decreeing it) but it’s not a good film either (those calling it a classic are an interesting bunch). It’s a Halloween movie that sits squarely in the middle which is just so disappointing. Check out our full review here.
10 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)
Our Score: 5.5/10
It seemed at the time as though Halloween & Rob Zombie would be a great fit. He was coming off the back of his popular movie, The Devil’s Rejects & his horror stock was high. While most decreed that Halloween didn’t need a remake, most were at least confident that it was in the right hands & it was…up to a point.
Rob Zombie makes his mark on the film by adding a lot more to Myers’ backstory, giving us insight into just what drove him to kill & what kept him locked up for so long. It’s an interesting addition that divided fans with one side saying it ruined the mystique of Myers while the other said it made the film more then just a ‘remake’.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween is an entertaining movie from start to finish that’s for sure. The overall look and tone of the film is dark and a real treat for the eyes, if you’re a fan of his other work then you won’t be disappointed in that regard.
The gore effects while insanely over the top are highly impressive and there are some decent kills to be seen. Unfortunately though, Rob Zombie’s Halloween fails to bring anything new to the table other than giving us a much more human Michael Myers and by doing so ends up making him much less interesting and certainly less scary.
The original Halloween is a horror classic that lives long in the memories of those that have seen it and will continue to be seen again and again by new audiences and old, while we do like Rob Zombie’s Halloween there is no doubt that the same cannot be said. Check out our full review here.
9 – Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Our Score: 6/10
The second part of the second set of Halloween movies. For Halloween 5 to really make sense you’d need to watch the 4th first. Out within a year of the previous movie, this one picks up after Michael somehow survived the mass shooting that closed out the 4th film. He is nursed back to health by a hermit who Michael kills once he is better. Then off he goes back to Haddonfield to try & finish off Jamie, his niece who he failed to kill in the last.
Annoyingly, the shock ending of the 4th movie involving Jamie is basically ignored here so what we get is the same thing again. The added plot points of a psychic link between Michael & Jamie as well as the ‘man in black’ are interesting developments for a stagnant series though.
A movie of moments, there are some great ones in Halloween 5 bookended by a lot of average ones. It’s probably the least scary one of the series to date but it also has some of the more violent deaths. The mask is shockingly bad though. Check out our full review here.
8- Halloween Ends (2022)
Our Score: 6/10
Directed by David Gordon Green, Halloween Ends brings a close to the trilogy of Halloween sequels that started with 2018’s Halloween.
If there’s one thing Halloween Ends does well, it’s how it manages to not please anyone. However, does that make it a bad movie? We don’t think so. It’s certainly an improvement over the lacklustre Halloween Kills.
The Shape is gone. The story is over. Halloween Ends. In messy, confusing and disappointing fashion. Of this ‘new’ trilogy, only the first really stands out so you have to ask yourself, was it even worth it? There’s no doubt that we’ve not seen the last of this franchise but maybe it’s finally time to close the door on this specific boogeyman. Check out our full review here.
7 – Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Our Score: 6/10
Now there could be an argument about if Season of the Witch should be included on this list. . If you believe it shouldn’t be I directed your attention to the title above where it says ‘definitive list of the HALLOWEEN movies’. Season of the Witch is known as Halloween III. The movie before it was Halloween II & the movie afterwards is called Halloween 4. It a Halloween movie & a decent one at that!
Originally there were no plans to bring Michael Myers back after Halloween II. Instead John Carpenter & Debra Hill wanted different stories each time surrounding a Halloween theme.
Halloween III tells the story of an evil corporation that is planning to change the face of Halloween forever.
Ultimately Season of the Witch will forever be known as that one without Michael Myers in it. Although it deserves better treatment as it is a good throwaway horror flick. Tom Atkins is as great in it & there are some moments that will raise a smile. Check out our full review here.
6 – Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Our Score: 6/10
Welcome to the 90’s Michael Myers! Things have got a bit more flashy but the story has gone off the rails completely!
After the confusing finale of the fifth movie, this final one of the second set of Halloween movies attempts to clear up all the plot threads left hanging.
The story is utter nonsense making Myers nothing but a pawn of a cult but it’s a surprisingly entertaining movie. Considering this is the 6th Halloween movie & the 5th surrounding him, we admire that they even attempted the impossible task of explaining Michael Myers. As well as his ability to survive anything & everything thrown at him.
It might not be a great explanation but props for trying even if it doesn’t really make much sense. The 90’s slasher stink is all over this film but it looks so much sleeker & is also the scariest since the original first two. Check out our full review here.
5 – Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Our Score: 7/10
It’s been 10 years since Michael Myers cut a bloody path to Laurie Strode in Haddonfield before being involved in a fiery explosion at the end of the 2nd movie. Myers didn’t die in the fire but has been in a coma for 10 years. On the night he is being transferred to another hospital & he overhears 2 paramedics saying he has a niece in Haddonfield. Michael wakes up in the back of the ambulance, kills the paramedics & heads off to meet his niece, Jamie.
One of the nicest surprises about Halloween 4 is the level of acting throughout, most of the cast are great. Special mention has to go to Donald Pleasance though who is just wondrous throughout the movie constantly sporting hugely melodramatic lines such as:
“You’re talking about him as if he were a human being. That part of him died years ago”.
“We’re not talking about any ordinary prisoner, Hoffman! We are talking about evil on two legs”.
Better than expected as long as you don’t hold it up against the first two movies. There is so much to enjoy that the fairly obvious mistakes (during the school section Myers has blonde hair!) can be ignored. Check out our full review here.
4 – Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
Our Score: 8/10
H20 may not have aged well but it is well loved for several good reasons. For starters it felt like a Halloween movie. It chooses to ignore the previous 4 movies instead continuing the Laurie Strode story 20 years after the original.
After Halloween II, Laurie disappeared & took on a new identity. Since then she’s been living happily as a school headmistress with a teenage son & boyfriend. However, Michael isn’t dead & also knows the significance of it being the 20th anniversary of the original.
Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role & knocks it out of the park. As do many others within the cast. This Michael feels authentic to the one from the first movie, He has the slow pace but like a zombie he just keeps on coming. Sure he gets his ass kicked a bit more here but his isn’t the same Laurie, she is battle harden by her experience with him & life in general.
There are many great scenes such as where Laurie comes face to face with Michael on the other side of a door.
Sure, it’s got its silly moments & relies on a lot of conveniences but what Halloween movie doesn’t? H20 also has a brilliantly done ending, one that is touching & brutal. Something that the following sequel, Resurrection would attempt to screw up royally. Check out our full review here.
3 – Halloween (2018)
Our Score: 8/10
The Bogeyman is real but he has stayed silent in his prison. His doctor, desperate to understand and make contact with him before he is transferred to a maximum-security prison, allows two true-crime podcasters attempt to interview him. It goes as well as you can expect.
Frustrated, they turn to his opposite, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). She has locked herself away with top of the range security and plenty of weapons to protect herself. On the offer of $3000 she meets the pair. However, when they start to question her about her family, she kicks them out.
Laurie hasn’t been able to let Michael go. She is convinced that it’s only a matter of time until he comes.
October 31st arrives and unsurprisingly so does Michael having escaped when the bus transporting him crashed. His first port of call are the two true-crime podcasters who have something he wants…his mask.
Happily, the overwhelming feeling that comes from viewing this new Halloween is one of satisfaction. Even the music, a mix of the classic tunes and modern, fresher variations will put a silly smile on faces. Horror fans will love it…Halloween fans will love it. Check out our full review here.
2 – Halloween II (1981)
Our Score: 8/10
A direct continuation of the first film, it literally picks up with Michael having disappeared after having been shot & falling from the balcony. Laurie has been rushed to a hospital because of the injuries suffered at Myers hands & Dr. Loomis is trying to rally the police. He knows the killer won’t stop.
The very much alive Michael Myers arrives at the hospital & begins cutting a bloody path towards Laurie killing everyone that gets in his way.
If the Michael Myers story had ended here then we would all talk about the series in a different light. It would probably be more respected. Halloween 2 is as direct of a sequel as you can get. It doesn’t tread any new ground beyond upping the gore & deaths but is still extremely enjoyable. Check out our full review here.
1 – Halloween (1978)
Our Score: 10/10
Was there ever any doubt? After referring to the 10/10 given above what was the likelihood of any film in the series getting the same score? Halloween is a classic, the perfect slasher horror & one that is standing the test of time as it nears its 40th anniversary.
What more can be said about this film that hasn’t been said before? The plot revolves around the teenage Laurie Strode being stalked on Halloween night by a masked killer who is relentless & uncompromising.
Halloweens story is simple but oh so good, it moves at a great pace & you’re always on the edge of your seat waiting for what comes next. The stalking scenes are impossibly creepy & so well done.
When the killing does start it gets pretty brutal but pretty light on gore. Normally this would be a complaint but the movie just didn’t need it. Michael’s actions & his choice of targets are enough.
There is an argument over giving any movie review a 10/10, it suggest perfection. We think that is what Halloween is. There have been 7 sequels, 1 remake, a sequel to the remake & the original’s strength hasn’t been hurt. Check out our full review here.