The Halloween Movies Ranked and Where to Stream Them 

The Halloween movies are pretty much synonymous with… well, Halloween. For over forty years, and over the course of 11 movies (soon to be 13 with Halloween Kills this October and Halloween Ends in 2022), Halloween has become a staple of the horror genre, and an absolute must-watch every time the jack-o-lanterns come out and the trick-or-treaters come knocking.

It’s essential viewing for any horror fan and is remembered today not only for establishing the modern slasher movie as we know it, but also introducing one of the most terrifying villains in all of filmdom in the form of the Shape, Michael Myers.

As good as some of the Halloween movies are, however, like any franchise composed of sequel after sequel, there are definitely some entries in the franchise that are just plain bad (something that is especially common with horror series).

With the newest entry in the Halloween franchise, Halloween Kills, coming to theaters on October 15, we thought we’d take a look back and rank all the Halloween movies from worst to best, as well as where you’re currently able to stream them.

13. Halloween: Resurrection

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures

A sequel to Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (which acted as a sequel to Halloween II and ignored the events of Halloweens III through 6), Halloween: Resurrection was… well, it was just bad.

Starring Jamie Lee Curtis again as Laurie Strode, this time around, the Shape returns to his hometown of Haddonfield, where his former childhood home has since been converted into the main setting of a live TV horror show.

Resurrection was a disappointing follow-up to the already mixed reception of H20, with many critics and fans feeling it was ultimately an unnecessary movie that—like the series’ earlier sequels during the slasher craze of the ’80s and ’90s—was made to cash in on the sudden surge in popularity of slashers after Scream‘s success. By 2002, as quickly as slashers had rerisen, the craze pretty much died down, thanks largely to underwhelming attempts at horror sequels like Resurrection.

Streaming on fuboTV, Pluto TV, and Philo

12. Halloween II (2009)

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Rob Zombie’s sequel to his earlier 2007 remake of Halloween, Halloween II is a pretty ambitious movie on Zombie’s part. Taking place roughly two years after Zombie’s previous Halloween movie, Halloween II features each of the three main characters — Laurie, Dr. Loomis, and Michael himself — trying to process what happened in the first movie, with Laurie attempting to overcome PTSD and the mental trauma she suffered from her encounter with Michael in the first movie, Dr. Loomis trying to cash in on the events by writing a book about it, and Michael attempting to reunite with Laurie, who is revealed to be his sister in this movie (similar to the original Halloween II‘s revelation that Laurie and Michael are actually siblings).

The reveal that Michael and Laurie are siblings, however, is about the only thing similar between the two Halloween IIs, with Zombie’s sequel a darker, extremely violent interpretation of the Michael Myers character—even more so than his first movie. While Zombie’s plans for this movie may have been well-intentioned, showing each character’s psyche and response to the horrific events of the first movie, the movie was criticized for its overly violent content, with critics and fans not really warming to many of the ideas Zombie tried presenting with this movie.

Streaming on Peacock

11. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers pretty much follows the same story presented in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, with Michael, once again trying to hunt down his niece, Jamie, now mute and suffering from PTSD from her experiences during the events of Halloween 4, with Michael’s counterpart, the psychiatrist Dr. Loomis, trying to stop him.

Perhaps the biggest difference between this one and The Return of Michael Myers, however, is the introduction of the strange psychic connection that exists between Michael and Jamie that was probably a riff on the ESP elements that was used arguably to a better degree in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (probably the only time Friday the 13th has ever done anything better than Halloween).

Just as its plot was similar to the previous entry in the Halloween franchise, The Revenge of Michael Myers received a similar critical reception upon release —namely, negative.

Critics noted the disappointing turn the series had taken in establishing itself as yet another slasher franchise in a market full of similarly horror disappointing sequels.

Streaming on fuboTV and Philo

10. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures

The sixth entry in the Halloween franchise, The Curse of Michael Myers went pretty much all-in regarding the supernatural elements of the Michael Myers character, offering some magical explanations as to why Michael is an unstoppable, seemingly immortal killing machine. As the movie explains (sorry for spoilers here), Michael is somehow the victim of an ancient curse of Gaelic origins that gave him his signature paranormal powers and abilities.

Starring a returning Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis in his fifth and final outing as the character (he would pass away eight months before the film’s release) and a young Paul Rudd as Tommy, the boy Laurie Strode babysat in the original movie, The Curse of Michael Myers offered a somewhat pointless, in-depth explanation explaining Michael’s powers that wasn’t truly needed.

As John Carpenter himself would later gripe about the Rob Zombie Halloween remakes, explaining Michael’s origins in too much depth or applying some otherworldly paranormality to him destroys the mystery and aura the character possesses—the less that is explained about him, the scarier he is.

Though panned upon initial release, in more recent years, an alternative cut of the movie with 45 minutes of additional footage and an alternative ending dubbed “The Producer’s Cut” has circulated online to generally better reviews.

Streaming on fuboTV, Pluto TV, and Philo

9. Halloween (2007)

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures

In the mid-to-late 2000s, numerous horror franchises (especially slashers) saw remakes that attempted to reboot and revitalize each major franchise with more modern stories and an updated style of filmmaking—which usually just meant darker, more violent stories that attempted to overcome some of the cheesier elements from the ’80s and ’90s that modern audiences chuckled at.

This resulted in failed remakes of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, among others. Like every slasher series, Halloween was no exception, with director Rob Zombie attempting to remake the original film with his signature blend of ultra-violent horror.

The result was—like most horror remakes that came about at that point—less than great, with a noticeably darker, more violent horror movie that was pretty difficult to watch at times due to its extreme content.

With Halloween, Zombie attempted to remake the classic horror movie in his own way, examining the psyche of Myers, including his childhood upbringing, as potential reasons that explain his reason for turning into a killer.

While an interesting direction for the franchise to take, some expressed disappointment at such a deep explanation regarding Myers’ motives, including Michael’s creator, John Carpenter, who believed that such explanation ruined the mystique of the character, who was at his scariest when his motives remained a mystery. Some horror and Halloween fans seemed to enjoy the movie, however, resulting in a sequel, Halloween II (2009), just two years later.

Not currently streaming, but available to rent on VOD

8. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

The Return of Michael Myers
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

After the underwhelming financial and critical success of Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which attempted to distance itself from Michael Myers, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers returned to the story of Michael after his apparent demise at the end of Halloween II. Taking place ten years after Halloween II, Michael awakens from a coma and returns to Haddonfield to hunt down his young niece, Jamie, Laurie Strode’s daughter.

To prevent Michael from harming the young girl, Myers’s archenemy, Dr. Loomis (once again played by Donald Pleasence) tries to find and protect Jamie before Michael can get his hands on her. If the producers had hoped The Return of Michael Myers would mark the series as a return to form able to capture the success of the original Halloween, they utterly failed.

The movie marked the first Halloween installment that didn’t involve original producers John Carpenter and Debra Hill, both of whom perhaps recognized the fact that The Return‘s only aim was to financially cash in on the slasher craze engulfing horror at the time, creating sequels only for sequels’ sake and competing with increasingly disappointing franchises like A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Friday the 13th movies.

Evidently, however, from a commercial standpoint, the new producers succeeded, with The Return a huge financial success, sparking renewed potential for future Halloween movies centered around exclusively around the Shape in each new Halloween franchise entry.

Streaming on fuboTV and Philo

7. Halloween Kills

Halloween Kills
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

With 2018’s Halloween, it seemed that the Halloween franchise had once again reasserted its place as the dominant series in modern horror. However positively received it was by fans and critics, though, the reception to Halloween ‘18 was almost immediately countered by the negative press Halloween Kills received three years later.

Moments after the end of the 2018 Halloween, Michael Myers inexplicably escapes from the fire set by Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her family. Now once again free to stalk the residents of Haddonfield, Michael begins a slow, violent journey to his childhood home, racking up a higher and higher body count as he crosses town.

Halloween ‘18 spelled renewed hope for the Halloween series — a chance to improve upon the awful sequels that followed in the wake of the original Halloween. Sadly, this 2021 sequel was just as middling an effort as the dozen other Halloween films that preceded it.

Still, Halloween Kills wasn’t nearly as awful as some of the lesser Halloween sequels, but it fell flat when it came to following up to the esteem of the 2018 Halloween (an admittedly tough act to follow).

Streaming on HBO Max

6. Halloween Ends

Halloween Ends
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The thirteenth and most recent entry in the Halloween series, Halloween Ends is billed as the film that will close the curtains on the Halloween franchise.

Whether that will actually be the case remains to be seen (slasher properties have a way of evading permanent death, much like Michael Myers himself). But likely, it’ll be the last Halloween movie we get for a while at least — as well as the one that (hopefully) draws Laurie and Michael’s story to a close.

Four years after the events of Halloween Kills, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) tries to come to terms with her daughter’s brutal death at Michael’s hands. As she tries to maintain a healthy relationship with her granddaughter (Andi Matichak), Michael returns to Haddonfield one last time, confronting his old nemesis Laurie in an all-out battle.

Like Halloween Kills and a number of other titles on this list, Halloween Ends heavily leans on the genre tropes and conventions surrounding the slasher. However, it still tries to forge a radically different kind of horror film in a genre that’s become achingly formulaic.

Its ending may divide fans — some viewing it as a satisfying way to end the series while others are left wanting more — but for the most part, it’s a generally fitting final chapter for Laurie and Michael’s decade-spanning story.

Streaming on Peacock

5. Halloween III: Season of the Witch

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures

The original idea for the Halloween franchise was an ambitious anthology film series, made up of movies set during Halloween with their individual storylines, characters, settings, and themes. The story of Michael Myers having apparently been concluded with Halloween II, John Carpenter and Debra Hill set out to make Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Starring the underrated character actor Tom Atkins and Dan O’Herlihy, the movie follows a strange plot that involves Halloween masks being used to potentially kill thousands of people on Halloween night.

A now-unique entry in the Halloween franchise due to it being the only movie without Michael in it, Season of the Witch has only grown in popularity over the years and has gained a serious cult dedication as a standalone horror film. It’s also a great “what-if” look into what the franchise might have taken instead of relying so heavily on movies centered around Michael Myers, offering a fresh spin on the horror series that few producers ever tried pulling off.

After an initially lukewarm reception and less than stellar box office earnings, Carpenter and Hill’s idea for the anthology was soon abandoned, with Michael Myers returning to the series six years later in Halloween: The Return of Michael Myers. Subsequently, Carpenter and Hill would leave the franchise, allowing it to slowly fall apart over the years with each new disappointing sequel.

Streaming on Peacock

4. Halloween II

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures

It’s no secret that the original Halloween is and continues to be one of the most beloved and universally acclaimed horror movies of all time, not to mention the archetypical slasher movie. Obviously, Halloween II had a lot to live up to with its release, and unfortunately, wasn’t quite able to do so. Taking place immediately after the events of the first movie, Halloween II follows the returning main characters — Michael, Laurie, and Dr. Loomis — as they try to deal with the aftermath of the events of Halloween.

Resolving the cliffhanger in the original movie, Dr. Loomis attempts to track down the missing Michael, who is targeting an injured Laurie as she is taken to a local hospital to treat the injuries she sustained at Michael’s hands. A so-so movie in and of itself, Halloween II is interesting for a few reasons. For starters, it’s responsible for introducing the idea that Laurie and Michael are long-lost siblings, something that would play a major role in each sequel as well as Rob Zombie’s remakes, but would later be retconned in 2018’s Halloween.

Additionally, it was meant to conclude Michael and Laurie’s storyline, with producers John Carpenter and Debra Hill attempting to establish the franchise as a horror anthology series, a plan they would try out with Halloween III: Season of the Witch, though would later abandon. Today, the revelation regarding Laurie and Michael’s relationship remains somewhat controversial, with some fans loving the personal aspect it brings to the series, while others felt it was an ultimately unnecessary and out-of-nowhere plot twist.

Regardless of how you feel, Halloween II is no doubt one of the better sequels in the franchise—which, given how bad some of the later sequels are—admittedly isn’t saying much.

Streaming on Peacock

3. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures

What the newest Halloween did with every single movie in the Halloween franchise except for the original, Halloween tried doing with H20: 20 Years Later, retconning Season of Witch, The Return of Michael Myers, The Revenge of Michael Myers, and The Curse of Michael Myers, and instead existing as a direct sequel to Halloween II.

Starring a returning Jamie Lee Curtis twenty years after her last appearance in Halloween II, a now middle-aged Laurie Strode, suffering from PTSD as a result of her previous encounters with her brother Michael Myers two decades prior, tries moving on with her life by finding work as a teacher in a private California boarding school with her son, John (Josh Hartnett). Her attempt to start a new quiet life and overcome her past traumas, however, is interrupted by the sudden reappearance of Michael, who is attempting to hunt Laurie and her son down once and for all.

While H20 definitely isn’t the worst movie ever, it feels somewhat off for a Halloween film, similar more in style and tone to the then-modern Scream movies that dominated the slasher genre in the 1990s.

This might be attributed to the fact that H20 was based on a story by Kevin Williamson, the writer behind the Scream franchise. Arguably the best sequel in the Halloween franchise prior to the newer Halloween, which would of course retcon this movie, 20 Years Later remains a favorite of horror fans and Halloween fanatics alike.

Streaming on fuboTV and Philo

2. Halloween (2018)

Halloween Movies Ranked
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Hollywood has seen a new trend in recent years, wherein producers make a direct sequel that ties to the first entry in a franchise and ignores all other (usually subpar) sequels that followed the original. Look at how Terminator: Dark Fate directly follows Judgment Day, ignoring Rise of the Machines, Salvation, and Genisys, or, more recently, how the new Candyman movie ties in only to the original film, retconning the two sequels that followed. Case in point here with Halloween ’18, which may have been the first movie to use this recent retconning idea and proved how successful it can be when used properly.

Taking place forty years after the first Halloween, the newest entry in the Halloween franchise follows Michael Myers, just after he is able to break out of a psychiatric hospital and returns to Haddonfield to finish what he started. Facing off against the Shape, however, is an elderly Laurie Strode, who has spent the past four decades readying herself for the inevitable day Myers would return to hunt her and her family down.

After what he perceived as the somewhat disappointing Rob Zombie Halloween remakes, John Carpenter returned to the franchise as a creative consultant with this movie, offering his input after a nearly forty-year-long absence from the series.

The movie also features the return of horror heavyweight Jamie Lee Curtis to the franchise after 16 years (her last appearance in the franchise was 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection), as well as the welcome additions of director and writer David Gordon Green and his frequent collaborator, Danny McBride, as a writer.

With Carpenter’s input guiding them, Green and McBride were able to finally make a worthy sequel that adequately followed up the original film after four decades of subpar sequels, returning the franchise to the forefront of horror, and resurrecting the Myers character for a new generation of moviegoers.

Not currently streaming, but available to rent on VOD

1. Halloween

Halloween Movies Ranked
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

You just can’t beat the original, can you? Especially when the original happens to be one of the most revolutionary movies in all of horror. Perhaps director John Carpenter’s most successful and beloved movie, Halloween today is considered the first-ever modern slasher movie, responsible for putting the horror subgenre on the map and paving the way for future horror franchises like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th.

It’s a simple, effective horror movie that has pretty much no gore, has only a few jump scares, and has one of the most iconic horror theme songs and villains of all time. Borrowing from earlier genre inspirations like Psycho and Black Christmas, Carpenter’s original Halloween was made on a shoestring budget, using a largely unknown cast (the exception being established character actor Donald Pleasance as Dr. Loomis, one of the actor’s most celebrated roles), with a young director who was only just beginning to learn his craft.

However, Carpenter not only exceeded the odds with Halloween, but he also shattered them, making one of the most profitable horror movies of his day, and creating one of the best-reviewed slashers movies in an era when the subgenre didn’t command a great deal of respect. Since its initial release in 1978, Halloween’s reputation has only grown over the years, remaining the quintessential slasher movie in all of horror. If you ask pretty much any horror movie fan, a Halloween spent without watching the original Halloween is a Halloween wasted.

Streaming on fuboTV and Philo

Final Thoughts

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Like everyone, we love Halloween — both the movie and the holiday. The movie especially the original remains one of the most popular, easily identifiable slasher movies in all of horror, with one of the most recognizable cinematic villains at the heart of the franchise. As great as some of the best Halloween movies are, though, there’s no denying there are more than a few bad ones mixed into the franchise as well — something that you’d probably expect, considering they retconned half of the movies not once, but twice.

Is the franchise really dead, as purported by the title of the recent Halloween Ends? Honestly, probably not. After all, slasher villans and franchises never really truly die. With any luck, when they do get resurrected again, it’s something worthy of the legacy, if not the initial film itself.

We’ve got the latest on all the movies in theaters now.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Richard Chachowski is a freelance writer based in New Jersey. He loves reading, his dog Tootsie, and pretty much every movie to ever exist (especially Star Wars).

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