Halloween Movies Ranked and Where To Stream Them 

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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.

Halloween Movies Ranked and Where To Stream Them

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.

Halloween Resurrection
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Halloween: Resurrection

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.

Today, Resurrection is considered one of not only the franchise's weakest sequels yet, but also one of the worst sequels in all of horror, measuring up to the worst of the Friday the 13th movies (which is definitely saying something about the deteriorating quality of the Halloween movies prior to 2018’s Halloween).

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video (AMC+ add on required)

Halloween II 2009
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Halloween II (2009)

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 characters' 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.

Like most attempted horror remakes that came in the late 2000s', the attempt to reboot the Halloween franchise ultimately ended after Halloween II, with a sequel retconning Zombie's films coming nearly ten years after this one.

Not currently streaming, but available to rent on Amazon Prime Video

The Revenge of Michael Myers
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

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. As of yet, it is also the poorest-performing Halloween movie in the franchise in terms of box office, though that certainly didn't stop the producers from creating sequels following this one.

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video (AMC+ add on required)

The Curse of Michael Myers
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

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, leading to fan petitions for a formal DVD/Blu-Ray release. While that movie has yet to be released, and few fans have been able to see it, it's almost certainly better than this underwhelming entry in the Halloween franchise.

Streaming on Paramount+

Halloween 2007
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Halloween (2007)

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.

Streaming on Shudder

The Return of Michael Myers
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

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 Shudder

Season of the Witch
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

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 Shudder

Halloween II
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Halloween II

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 Shudder

Halloween H20 20 Years Later
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

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, although (like all of its fellow sequels) it still wasn't able to live up to the original.

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video (AMC+ add on required)

Halloween Movies Ranked
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Halloween (2018)

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.

Streaming on Hulu (premium subscription required)

RELATED: Best Horror Sequels and Where to Stream Them

Halloween Movies Ranked
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Halloween

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 Amazon Prime Video (AMC+ add on required)

Final Thoughts

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.

With Halloween just around the corner, and Halloween Kills set for a theatrical release in mid-October, we believe this list best represents the Halloween franchise from worst to best. Like every horror fan, we're eager to see how Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends — the final chapter in these new Halloween sequels—ties into this list, but they can scarcely do worse than some of the downright horrendous movies on this list.


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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