Halloween is just ten days away now here in 2016. Soon it will be time to get the candy ready for the little ones who will come knocking adorned in scary outfits while an endless supply of horror movies will be plastered all over television screens for anybody who has since grown out of feeling nauseous eating free bags of candy.
There are many horror movie classics but now is a suitable time as any to rate the series of horror films that many would agree fits the holiday more than most, the Halloween horror film series. Ten movies in the famous horror franchise have been made so far, including the two reboots, with a new one planned for a theatrical release next year.
This editorial is going to briefly examine and rank all ten movies, from worst to best.
Halloween Resurrection (2002)
A binding contract was attached to star actress Jamie Lee Curtis to at least make a cameo appearance in what was then the eighth instalment of the Halloween franchise. That is exactly the kind of appearance she went for when she only stayed during first 10 minutes of this desperate dreck of a sequel.
The routine ongoing narrative of Michael Myers stalking one of his family members was seemingly all used up by this point, and so scriptwriters had the knife wielding maniac chasing after teenagers that were occupying the Myers house for one Halloween night while footage of their venture beamed all across America for the nation to see on their own screens. Naturally, things take a turn for the worst when the killer doesn’t take too kindly in having intruders stay at his childhood home.
The film was critically panned and the signs were there that the franchise had dried up and a reboot was planned several years later.
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Psychic connections were the theme in this 4th sequel in an effort to combat the tedium that was setting in. Character development of Myers an interesting road to take but fans did not respond too positively about giving him a human soul, something that completely contradicted John Carpenter’s vision of Michael Myers being nothing but an unstoppable force of evil.
Halloween 5 is a slow, plodding movie that had some good ideas at its core but did not know how to execute them in an interesting way. The only saving grace was the splendid performance by Donald Pleasence, who gave his all in a movie that didn’t quite deserve it.
Halloween: H20 (1998)
Jamie Lee Curtis had the idea of returning the Halloween films to its roots by disposing of the current storyline and continuing after the events that occurred in the first film. Or is that the second film? H20 seems a little confused about this, judging by what is explained.
H20 may have had good intentions in honoring the legacy of the original but it’s soap opera type style of filming was ill fitting. Even the prestigious Halloween theme sounded something that could have been lifted from a day time tv programme! Running at a mere 1 hour and 20 minutes before the end credits roll, Halloween: H20 is there and gone without effect.
Then there is the much talked about constantly changing appearance of the famous white Myers mask throughout the film, together with an actor that did not even bother to watch any of the past Halloween films before donning the mask, which all leads to a film that feels only half cooked.
Halloween II (2009)
There seems to be a little bit of a hate bandwagon when it comes to discussing Rob Zombie’s sequel to his 2007 reboot of the John Carpenter classic. As with Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, there are two versions of Halloween II available, the Director’s cut being slightly better. This mini review will focus on the theatrical version.
Scout Taylor Compton’s Laurie Strode is still traumatised about the events that occurred the previous year on Halloween night, but things are about to get a whole lot worse when Myers returns to stalk her once again.
Unfortunately, the film undermines Michael Myers by revealing that he had been killing due to hallucinations he had been suffering of his mother and his younger self. It wouldn’t be far fetched to suggest that Zombie had the Friday 13th films on his mind when penning the script due to similarities.
Halloween II isn’t as bad as it is heavily made out to be but that does not mean it is very good, either.
Inevitably, 2007’s reboot generated a lot of criticism and general disdain but fans would have to accept it, anyway. Imagine the 1978 film incorporated with elements of the heavy metal music scene right down to the way characters are presented and you pretty much have correctly pictured this film.
The first two acts explore Michael and his past, something that the original pictures only scratched the surface of, but director Rob Zombie seemed content in just imitating what happened in the original film when finalising his vision. Or lack thereof.
Halloween 2007 is an entertaining movie but lacks the technical creativity of it’s original counterpart. However, it could have been much worse.
Halloween III: The Season of the Witch (1982)
Michael Myers was dealt with, supposedly on a permanent basis, at the end of Halloween II and John Carpenter came up with the idea for the franchise to extend itself by containing a different story with each ongoing sequel.
While Halloween III had a primary idea, the film just felt all too different and non fitting in the wake of the impact that the first two films had on audiences. It is now often said that Halloween III is a fine film, it just should never have been related to the Halloween franchise which is hard to disagree with. Otherwise, Season of the Witch contains enough 1980’s camp, gore and suspense on it’s own merit and is actually a decent chilling little flick.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
The sixth entry has quite an interesting and controversial history! It took nearly twenty years for the fan titled Producer’s Cut version of Halloween VI to finally be legitimately released. This mini review, however, will focus on the theatrical version that was released in cinemas in the mid 1990’s.
Known to be a low point in Michael Myers’ reign, the theatrical version isn’t as bad as it was made out to be in retrospect. The pace is slick enough and George Wilbur delivers another spine tingling performance as Myers despite looking to have put on a few pounds. But the backstory explanation of the insanity of Michael is admittedly underwhelming. The conclusion is almost a replication of the ending of Halloween 5 leading to the belief’s that either the filmmakers got lazy or there were no ideas left for the imagination to conceive.
There are worse entries but Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is an overextension that was not seemed to have been thought out too well, something that is all too familiar when a studio pumps out sequel after sequel.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Ignoring the events of Halloween III, Halloween IV continues 10 years after the happenings of Halloween II with Myers in a coma and inflicted with various burn scars. Predictably, he awakens and this time wants to kill his niece who is living in his hometown of Haddonfield. Donald Pleasence returns as Dr. Loomis who is in hot pursuit once again.
Halloween IV is probably one of the better sequels, incorporating some of the same creepy atmosphere that Carpenter once employed in his low budget original, albeit with some of the gore now ramped up for good measure.
This movie also particularly stands out for containing one of the best and shocking endings that served as a huge bombshell that could have potentially altered the direction of the entire series! The next movie was determined not to bear that responsibility which is a shame for us.
Halloween II (1981)
Rick Rosenthal may have been responsible for the disaster that was Halloween: Resurrection but at least he had a helping hand from John Carpenter when he directed this first sequel. Halloween II contained some of the elements that made the original a standout classic including a haunting score by Carpenter and Alan Howarth, who would go on to invent his own renditions of the theme for future sequels.
The inevitable final chase sequences are nearly as suspenseful as the one that came before them and the subplot which revealed that heroine Laurie Strode was actually Michael Myers’ sister was a creation that filmmakers would go with for years to come when they were to continue building the Halloween movie legacy.
Is this surprising? Probably not. But the original 1978 classic that would go on to inspire a countless number of slasher movies throughout the 1980’s and earn the Halloween franchise over $200,000,000 is still the best for it’s inventive filming camera techniques and chilling score. There is little character development, yet Halloween did not require it. Sometimes the acting can take a turn for the cheesy but thankfully that is only in spurts.
Jamie Lee Curtis, in her first movie role, played Laurie with a certain innocence that would go on to be replicated with many “final girl victims” in the future but eventually showed an inner strength that eventually showed to be a match for the terror that awaited her. It would be unchivalrous to not mention the presence of British actor Donald Pleasence who elevated Halloween above what would have probably been an average picture in his absence.
Do you agree? Sound off in the comments below!