Frightening Film Franchise Marathon: Ranking All the Halloween Films

In the final installment of the Frightening Film Franchise Marathon, Pop Break’s George Heftler sat down and ranked the ultimate horror franchise — Halloween.

Check out our other Frightening Film Franchise Marathon Columns on: Child’s Play | Friday the 13th | A Nightmate on Elm Street | Hellraiser

9. H2 (2009)

This movie is an abomination. I honestly think this movie was a ploy by Rob Zombie to keep his wife employed, because I can’t find a single positive thing to say about it. Unlike Rob Zombie’s first Halloween movie, which kicks off with a molestation joke, he keeps it classy by switching to a necrophilia joke. Michael is definitely brutal, but there’s no imagination to it. PLUS, he incorporates some supernatural BS into this movie… why can’t he just be evil? Why does he need to be motivated by a ghost? And not even an interesting ghost! It’s not just Michael though… Laurie is SO annoying in this movie. We’re supposed to be on her side, but I honestly just wanted Michael to kill her so I didn’t have to hear her screaming at the people trying to help her anymore.

This movie can be summed up in a line thrown at Dr. Loomis…. “You’re profiteering off the misery of others.” It’s my misery, and Rob Zombie’s profit.

8. Halloween Resurrection

There is a single good thing about this movie, and it’s the way they justify Michael being on the loose. Unfortunately it comes at the expense of Jamie Lee Curtis leaving the movie immediately, and she is the only even moderately tolerable character. Busta Rhymes is bad in this. Tyra Banks is bad in this. Every character is a fame-hungry asshole who is weirdly eager to have sex in a serial killer’s house, and where did they get that bong from?

It’s not just the characters either. There’s constant cutting to body cameras, which have awful quality and means there’s too many cuts. They do the typical dumb fake-outs, including one of the worst I’ve ever seen, where they want you to be scared by a baby chair. At the end of the day, this movie is just BORING, and they didn’t even wait until the next movie to bring Michael back to life.

Also worth noting: the three biggest faces on the poster have less than a half hour of screen-time combined. Deceptive poster and a dumpster fire of a movie.

7. Halloween (2007)

I truly loathe what Rob Zombie did to this franchise. There was no reason at all to go into Michael’s childhood, and frankly, his actions are almost worse if he had a normal upbringing. Instead, he’s in an abusive household, and we spend 38 minutes and 41 seconds dealing with a bad child actor spitting in the face of the original. I honestly kind of think this whole section was just to ramp up the body count.

Even after Michael isn’t a kid, the movie doesn’t get much better. We get some serious lack of “show don’t tell,” with awful exposition like someone telling Michael “You haven’t said a word for 15 years.” Yeah. He knows. Why would you tell him that, except to communicate it to the audience? Just bad writing. This bad writing also extends to characters; even disposable ones seem to be built entirely of clichés and stereotypes, like the gross Southern racist rapists who abuse the patients at the asylum they work at. It’s particularly bad for Laurie Strode though.

Check out Pop Break’s interview with Rob Zombie.

Original Laurie is a sweet, simple nerd who’s afraid to ask a boy to the dance. The first time we see this Laurie, she comes downstairs for breakfast and makes a graphic sex joke about her teacher molesting her to her mother. Plus, everyone is just MEAN in this movie. Laurie is awful. Her friends are awful. Even the children are awful. Rob Zombie continues by taking all responsibility away from Loomis. In the original, Loomis is transporting Myers and lets him escape. In this one, Loomis is well retired and get called in by the asylum.

Michael also seems to not even be there to kill Laurie? In the original he’s just killing people, and in the sequel, he’s actively hunting Laurie because she’s his sister, but then in this, he’s like “hey sis” and just kneels in front of her? I guess the ending was… fine, but definitely not good. The ending and the brutality of the kills are the only parts that brings it above the two movies already discussed.

6. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

When your first scene is a lady in labor being pushed through an underground tunnel by a cult… you’re in for a bad time. Hey, Paul Rudd though!

The pacing of this movie really screws it up. They seem to want to let suspense build, with long scenes of people walking down hallways and reaching for doors and… opening washing machines? But these scenes are usually accompanied by silence, instead of score. Which means it’s not suspenseful, it’s just boring. On the other hand, Lights go out? CLAAAAANG. The brother jumps down and surprises someone? CLAAAAAANG. THAT’S NOT SCARY ITS JUST SURPRISING.

This movie had potential though, and bits of it shine through. When we DO get score, it’s interesting, and there’s screaming and electric guitar as part of it instead of just discordant strings. Both Paul Rudd and Donald Pleasance are giving their all. The way we find the radio guy and the Rear Window kill were both cool. Everyone is actually taking the threat seriously. Unfortunately, the story itself is bad enough that it really drags the movie down.

6. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Oh good, another bullshit psychic connection movie. On top of a premise that I already don’t like though, the kids in this movie are so dumb. They’re so damn dumb, and I can’t relate to them at all, so if they die, they die, and I don’t care at ALL. My theory is that they HAVE to make the kids dumb so they don’t take the threat seriously after DOZENS of murders, but it still completely detracts from the movie. There’s just no one to connect with. Michael is “the shape,” with no emotion and no dialogue. The kids are all stupid assholes. It completely defuses everything.

The weapons Michael uses get more and more outlandish, which also detracts from the intensity. In the original, everything was very up close and personal, which made it scarier. Also, why do they still sell that mask in Haddonfield?

The movie isn’t quite as actively bad as some of the others, and there’s a few decent scenes like the little girl trying to stay stuck in the laundry chute… but this is still a far cry from a good movie.

5. Halloween: H20

This movie brings a shockingly good cast for such a late movie, and we get TWO famous-actors-to-be at the beginning of their movie careers in this!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is delightful as always in his small role, and Josh Hartnett is good too. We also have LL Cool J writing erotic fiction, and Jamie Lee Curtis returns triumphantly. She is excellent in this and drinking like a champ.

The has some good cinematography as well, and a really neat shot where Michael is framed through a crack in the bathroom door. The dumbwaiter crushing a girl’s leg is brutal, and the garbage disposal scene is cool too.

This is definitely one of the better late entries in a horror franchise, but it’s more campy shlock than an actual horror movie. There is still some weak writing, including a very ham-fisted Frankenstein comparison and I’m pretty sure not a single car has started on the first try in this entire franchise. That said, I enjoyed it quite a bit, especially all the Psycho references, including Janet Leigh herself appearing. Fun fact: She’s Jamie Lee Curtis’ mom IRL! So that’s cool. This movie is worth a watch.

4. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

This movie is immediately ridiculous, with Michael starting us off by killing a doctor just by jamming a thumb into his forehead. However, it does have the most realistic depiction of children I’ve ever seen, with a bunch of them standing around this poor little girl and chanting “Jamie’s an orphan.”

I don’t have a lot to say about this movie because it’s pretty samey. It’s fine, but doesn’t do much to differentiate itself. There’s a pretty good ending, but it’s easy to see coming a mile away, and I don’t love that Jamie “turns into another Michael,” especially since they back down from it immediately in the movie.

3. Halloween 3: Season of the Witch

Look. I get that it doesn’t have Michael Myers in it, and for a lot of people, that’s enough to bury this movie. But I think that if you watch it with an open mind, it’s really quite good! There’s awesome kills including a dude’s head getting ripped straight up, eye gouging, and a drill to the head. Plus when they reveal what the mask did to that lady, it was NUTS. Legitimately frightening in this man’s humble opinion.

There’s also plenty of intrigue, Easter eggs like the original Halloween movie playing in the background, #RobotHouse, and a catchy as heck jingle. Plus, they utilize that jingle very effectively when the pitch and speed get ramped up higher and higher as the kid turns into bugs and snakes… very intense. We even get an ambiguous ending done right! This movie is definitely worth a watch.

2. Halloween

This is a very simple movie, but it’s incredibly effective. Part of what I love about this movie is the way Michael Myers just chills there. Watching. Waiting. He just shows up in the background, and if you’re not paying attention, it would be really easy to miss him. Plus, he gets super up close and personal with his kills, so they’re super intense. There’s a super creepy scene where he’s hiding under a sheet, an incredible score, Jamie Lee Curtis doing her JLC thang, and overall, this is just a great, spooky slasher.

Plus, we get another fun Easter Egg; they’re sitting down and watching the original version of the Thing From Another World, which John Carpenter adapted the same work in 1982, four years after this movie. Neato!

1. Halloween 2

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I think this sequel is actually better than the original. We get some awesome opening credits, with a Jack O’ Lantern slowly revealing a skull, and then we start immediately after the first movie, which I like. Great start. Plus, they start off with a bang- there’s a great scene with fantastic framing of a girl talking on the phone, but we see Michael slip into her house in the background before he kills her.

It’s obvious they’re making good use of the higher budget, and even obvious stuff like “Michael is definitely behind that door because of the way it’s framed” is still paid off well. The kills are great (especially the hydrotherapy pool kill), but they also let your imagination do some of the heavy lifting, with an awesome kill fully in the background behind frosted glass.

They handle the tension really well in this movie too. When the nurse turns around the dead doctor and Michael Myers shows up in the darkness behind her as she backs up… that’s some good shit. And seeing just his shadow in the room to let you know he’s there? That’s also some good shit. But the best shit of all is that they don’t show us every kill. Sometimes we just stumble on a corpse, which is awesome. Let’s you know that Michael is doing his thing even when we don’t see him, and anyone could be dead.

I don’t love that they made Laurie his sister, but this is a great story in an expertly crafted movie. REALLY GOOD, watch this movie!

The first three movies are really good, and I thoroughly enjoyed each of them. However, if you stopped there, you’d probably be doing yourself a favor. There are a few shining moments down the road, but the plummet in quality is both quick and steep. Michael Myers is a cool villain, but if you like him, you don’t want him ruined by later movies. Especially the abysmal Rob Zombie ones. I understand that he needed to do his own thing, but they really show no respect to the source material. But maybe you disagree, so let me know in the comments!

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