The Halloween film series has gone through so many visions, revisions, reboots, retcons, and remakes, that it’s fair to say Michael Myers must be tired of trying to appeal to audiences of every generation out there. He went from being a really bad brother to being some sort of supernatural being, and still producers (and audiences) didn’t learn that what makes him an effective villain is that Michael can be inherently evil, and that’s the way we should accept him. We can imagine John Carpenter smirking, and Debra Hill scolding everybody from the beyond. Their baby has been engineered countless times, but the magic trick has never been repeated.
One really cool way to go through the evolution of Myers and the franchise is the Rotten Tomatoes ranking. Critics have spoken for decades, and it’s a rare case of a subjective ranking that’s really close to what audiences think. Let’s dive into it.
13 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) – 8%
Mostly known for being Paul Rudd’s acting debut, and Donald Pleasance’s last appearance on screen as Dr. Sam Loomis, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, the sixth film in the series, was a box-office disaster directed by TV whiz Joe Chappelle. It takes place in the Jamie Lloyd storyline, as Michael hunts down her son. This is the one that follows up on Michael’s wrath being associated with a druid-like cult and features Michael in an improved mask after Revenge. The now-famous Producer’s Cut is an improvement over the theatrical cult, but Curse is still an inconsistent film that feels too rough around the edges.
12 Halloween: Resurrection (2002) – 10%
In Halloween: Resurrection, Michael got a brow lift. Or something. This is the last film to feature Laurie Strode in the storyline where she’s Michael’s sister. She dies at the beginning of the film which makes for the only watchable footage. Resurrection is a terrible film that attempted to capitalize on the popularity of reality shows and showed a group of people recording a live show in Michael’s abandoned childhood home. The dialogues are clunky, there’s nothing scary about it, and it features Busta Rhymes delivering a laughable line that made John Carpenter cringe and shiver at what producers had done with his baby.
11 Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) – 11%
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers feels too distant from what the franchise represented in the beginning. The story is about Michael Myers going back to Haddonfield to hunt down Jamie Lloyd, his niece. In the previous film, she had been institutionalized because of her attempt to murder her foster mother. When it comes to the ridiculous masks Michael wore throughout the franchise, the one in Revenge is the absolute worst, but it still isn’t the worst thing about the film. It’s the whole plot about Michael being under the influence of a cult that makes it a shameful moment in the Myers-verse.
10 Halloween II (2009) – 23%
Rob Zombie’s Halloween II is a controversial film. It doesn’t matter how the director justifies its existence, people despise the film for some reason. It’s not nearly as bad as critics said it was when it was released, and it features a more dramatic storyline that could help you understand Michael’s rotten psyche. It’s a direct sequel to Zombie’s remake which worked under the concept of Laurie Strode being Michael’s sister, and we all know how that didn’t work in the end. In any case, it was shot beautifully, and it’s one of the few Halloween films that doesn’t rely on Carpenter’s musical theme until the end.
9 Halloween (2007) – 28%
Rob Zombie always seemed like the ideal guy to tackle Halloween’s remake for Dimension Films. So why did his reimagining anger people so much? Halloween is far from a bad film. It just doesn’t look like any other movie in the franchise and heavily goes for dissecting the psychological aspect of Michael’s vengeful attitude. This one works as a backstory to the events that took place in Haddonfield and tries to explain a lot about Michael’s relationship with his mother after he murders a bully, his sister, her boyfriend, and his mother’s abusive boyfriend.
8 Halloween II (1981) – 33%
After the success of 1978’s Halloween, producer Irwin Yablans saw the opportunity to make some money out of Michael’s successful rampage. Carpenter and Hill were on board as writers, and Carpenter actually directed some of the film before handing it over to Rick Rosenthal. The result was a lukewarm continuation that created the whole concept of Laurie and Michael being related, and most of it takes place in the hospital where Laurie is being taken care of after the night of the original murders. It’s definitely not as bad as other sequels of the franchise, but the problem with Halloween II is that it feels like a downgrade from the original film.
7 Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) – 35%
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers saw the return of Michael to the franchise. Literally. After a botched attempt at continuing the franchise with another storyline, producers brought Michael back to Haddonfield to kill his niece, Laurie’s daughter. Jamie Lee Curtis wasn’t back for this one, and it seems she kept the magic to herself. Return feels too restricted in terms of Michael’s reach as he’s hunting an innocent seven-year-old that somehow manages to escape. The ending is actually pretty good as Jamie has become possessed by Michael’s “evil spirit” and attacks her own family.
6 Halloween Kills (2021) – 38%
The sequel in David Gordon Green’s retconning Halloween-verse is not as good as people expected. Halloween Kills is a cinematic mess that capitalizes on the presence of familiar faces to incorporate more nostalgia into the franchise. It depicts the events right after Laurie and her daughter Karen and granddaughter Allyson attempt to kill Michael. Somehow, the monster escapes and terrorizes Haddonfield again during a rampage that featured a relevant social commentary about mob mentality. The film’s introduction scene is amazingly well done.
5 Halloween Ends (2022) – 40%
The newest Halloween movie and final film in Green’s reimagining takes the evil and cleverness out of Michael and puts it on someone else. Halloween Ends was a divisive film that depended solely on the audience’s ability to believe Michael could be defeated at some point and ended the conflict with a brutal scene in which Laurie Strode finally faced the terror of Haddonfield and killed him. With that ending, it was necessary to ask: did we actually need someone else to take the reins of the Halloween rampage? After this one, all we kept thinking was: Michael and Laurie need to rest. Let them take a break.
4 Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) – 50%
In the world of sequels, Halloween III: Season of the Witch has to be one of the strangest decisions ever made by a film studio. If this had come after Halloween II, it would have made more sense, but the third entry in the Halloween film series is an experiment that most people hated back then because they didn’t understand it. Of course, they were not to blame. Everyone kept waiting for Michael to show up, and he never did. It tells the story of a man uncovering a conspiracy having to do with the Silver Shamrock masks every kid wants for Halloween. The thing is the masks have some sort of power that turns their brain into mush. If you thought this was weird, wait till you see the reason behind the powerful toys.
3 Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) – 54%
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later isn’t a bad film. Far from it. It’s actually one of the good ones and most of it has to do with Laurie’s return to the franchise. In the film, Michael hunts down Laurie and ends up in sunny California where he will try to kill her and her teenage son. How producers went from this one to Resurrection is bewildering, but we’re taking a guess that it has to do with Jamie Lee saying no-no to the franchise continuing. They went ahead and continued without her, and we all know how that turned out to be. The ending of H20 is very, very good.
2 Halloween (2018) – 79%
It wasn’t critical acclaim, but it was the closest to audiences and critics accepting a new iteration of Myers. Halloween (2018) is a solid movie that didn’t erase from our memory the past decades of the franchise, but it did its best in reordering the disaster that had progressed since Hill and Carpenter thought to make Michael Laurie’s actual brother. Too many visions were never good for the figure, and David Gordon Green took the basics and built a whole new take from there. In the film, Michael comes back to Haddonfield 40 years after the first attacks and encounters Laurie again. But she isn’t the innocent girl she once was. She’s a badass now.
1 Halloween (1978) – 96%
It couldn’t be any other way. John Carpenter’s Halloween is one of the greatest horror films ever made, and it hasn’t lost its authenticity more than 40 years after its release. In the film, Michael comes home and decides to go on a rampage murdering babysitters that probably look too much like his sister, who he killed decades ago. Yes, it’s the first one, and some things look outdated, but this one is the scariest film in the Halloween film series.