Halloween 1: 1978
Halloween 1978 created several tropes horror movie still used to this day. The masked figure lurking in the background never running but always seeming to catch up on their prey is just one of them. Directed by John Carpenter he made use of a perfect score as well as lighting. Unlike modern horror movies using darkness to provoke fear Carpenter decided to set much of the film in daylight and use blue tint to create an uneasy sensation on Halloween night. Further, for a film that takes place entirely in one day with the exception of the flashback scene to Michael Myers youth it is perfectly paced and leaves the view are in a constant state of anticipation and tension.
Halloween 2: 1981
As of 1981 Halloween had already become a classic. The second installment ranks second on our list because it adds another important trope that will impact all horror genres from then on. It is in this installment that we learn Jamie Lee Curtis’s character is related to Michael Myers. The first film was originally to be titled the babysitter murders when it was decided to take advantage of Halloween. Making them brother and sister created a strong bond that would now allow for old characters and new to create drama and plot the course for endless sequels. Once again, this film demonstrates what is excellent about horror which is its ability to be absolutely terrifying while also on a budget. Like most of the B-Horror movies that came before Halloween it takes place almost exclusively in one location. The hospital that Jamie Lee Curtis has been brought to moments after the events of the first film.
Halloween H20: 1998
One of the shortest entries in the franchise it acts as a sequel to Halloween 2 from 1981. Now 20 years later Jamie Lee Curtis’s character of Laurie strode has gone into hiding under an assumed name. As the headmaster of a gated and upscale school the grounds are cleared as a result of a field trip leaving only her and her son and the cast of interesting characters behind. The usual horny teens are dispatched first and LL Cool J provides a comic relief that Harbor has come to know in the 90s. This installment takes Jamie Lee Curtis from being the helpless victim who happens into victory and transformed her into a proactive and strong heroin.
Halloween III: 1982
This was an interesting departure from the normal sequels in franchises. Halloween III actually eliminated the central figure of Michael Myers. Instead they chose to go with an evil corporation that was using Halloween as a guise under which to commit heinous crimes with their evil masks. The idea was to create a new anthology series with different villains in each installment moving forward. I place it high on the list because as a film it is well paced and interesting. If you remove the disappointment from not having Michael Myers in it it’s a good film. And it is certainly head and shoulders above some other entries on this list. Eventually the television series Friday the 13th would take up this concept. That would belong to a different franchise all together the idea was definitely born here.
Once again altering the timeline Halloween 2018 represents a great sequel to Halloween 2. Jamie Lee Curtis has now grown into a survivalist recluse awaiting the return of her evil brother. Having been locked up for a further 20 years this movie mirrors the original. There’s an escaped mental patient stalking a woman all while being hunted by his psychiatrist. It has all the elements of the original making this more of a reboot than a sequel. However, Danny McBride known for comedy illustrates an excellent adeptness at the horror genre. There is also a definite feeling that Jamie Lee Curtis is excited about her role now that she has more to do than be a victim. You will note a definite break in tone for her from the previous installments.
Halloween 4: 1988
This film was billed as the return of Michael Myers as in Halloween three they completely eliminated the character. We also lose Jamie Lee Curtis in favor of her character’s then daughter Jamie Lloyd. This is one of those instances where the timelines diverge as in Halloween H2O she has a son instead of a daughter. And this installment the daughter is put up for adoption and Jamie Lee Curtis is presumed missing or dead we later discover and other entries this was faked to throw Michael off the trail. Obviously, at the time Jamie Lee Curtis did not want to reprise the role hence the contrivance. This kept the franchise alive limping along with a new heroin related to Michael Myers in keeping with the theme. The return of Donald Pleasence also helps lend credibility to this film. As it is at this point we start to see a dip in the production value.
Halloween 5: 1989
The concept for this film is straightforward we still have our main character of Jamie Lloyd and the surviving Michael Myers returns to kill her. The contrivance of this film is that she is now mute from the shock of the previous film and locked away in a children’s hospital. Donald Pleasence further aged and weathered from his battles with Michael Myers returns to help Jamie survive. This installment is the firsthand that a psychic connection taking this franchise into the spiritual world where it joins the films at Spawned Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street.
Halloween Resurrection: 2002
This is the first entry in the new millennium for Michael Myers. This film definitely departs from some of our favorite notions. In an attempt to have continuity they brought back Jamie Lee Curtis for an introductory seen at which point her character dies. This yet again is a further break from the timeline as she returns alive and well in Halloween 2018. This film plays well and 2020 in particular as it focuses primarily on the creation of a new streaming service focused on horror. A group of individuals enter the old Michael Myers house for one night stay they must survive. Unbeknownst to them Michael Myers alive and well has been dwelling beneath the house and is angry that people have disturbed rest. Well not the best quality for a film it at least as the virtue of having an interesting take on the concept. It also makes an effort to truly introduce it to an all new audience unlike previous installments. It does however have many flaws that deserve a tone article.
This is the first true reboot in the series. Director Rob Zombie took over in 2007 in an attempt to breathe new life into the dying franchise. His take however as per usual was incredibly dark providing an awful backstory for the lead Michael Myers. Many people saw the gruesome take as unnecessary. All the characters involved lacked the Midwestern charm and likability of the original cast. This was a stab fest not a true film. The one saving grace however was the addition of Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis. He provides a lecture talking about the evil behind Michael Myers eyes which takes the audience back to his own performance in A Clockwork Orange where the eyes were key to the role. Credit where is due Rob Zombie is a fan of horror films but with a very specific taste of his own.
Halloween 2: 2009
The cast returns for the second outing in the new timeline. Everyone performed admirably however along with the original Rob Zombie Halloween in 2007 this also marks the second time that the mask was less than appreciated by the audience. Sticking close to the original sequel we see a return to destroy his sister. No frills.
Halloween 6: 1995
Widely panned as awful this is the last appearance of Donald Pleasence in his role as Dr. Loomis and the first and only appearance of Paul Rudd in the franchise. This installment creates a cult around Michael Myers once again referred to as the bogeyman. Sadly, the reasoning behind creating a cult did not fit with this character and this original storyline. He is a bad man seeking vengeance on a family he did not fit in with. The only thing that might represent evidence of a cult making sense is the fact that Paul Rudd has not seem to age throughout his entire career. He has definitely found the last unicorn and his drinking is blood in order to remain young.