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RANKED: The 'Halloween' franchise


Michael Myers

There have been eight "Halloween" feature films since 1978 — discounting the two remakes — and only a handful of them are objectively any "good." What started as an independent film full of tension, suspense, and dread blossomed into a lucrative, decade-spanning franchise that has since undergone a remake and a sequel to the remake.

As the series progressed, the films moved further and further from the spirit of the original until they reached a breaking point. They got so bad that the writers of the later films literally had to un-do all the egregious errors set up by the truly terrible ones.

The history of the "Halloween" franchise is one riddled with production horror stories, differing opinions of what the films should be, and, of course, a bunch of dead teenagers.

Scroll down for a full breakdown and ranking of each film in the original, pre-Zombie-fied "Halloween" universe. For the sake of consistency, I've included the numbers in each title, even if they are not actually there.

Screenshots courtesy of Anchor Bay, Dimension, and Miramax.

SEE ALSO: The 25 best horror movies you can stream on Netflix this Halloween

8. "Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers" (1995)

halloween 6 michael

The theatrical cut of "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers" is an absolute mess.

It's a film so incredibly maimed by studio interference and sheer lack of direction that it's more a "Frankenstein"-esque project made up of bits and pieces of different movies than anything cohesive.

Its tumultuous production is no secret — Dimension allegedly wanted more gore, director Joe Chappelle wanted less Loomis, and the screenwriter wanted direct connections to previous films while also adding new details. 

The film was botched so badly the studio took on extensive reshoots, and that's the version most people know.

The "workprint" version (sometimes referred to as "Halloween 666" or the "Producer's Cut") is another beast entirely, but more on that later.

halloween 6 producers

Not a single thing in "Halloween 6" makes any sense. Its historically difficult production shows through as it's clearly a movie pieced together by people who disagreed at every turn.

"The Curse of Michael Myers" is the first "Halloween" sequel to shoot in the '90s (1995, to be exact), and it shows.

Right away, the film opens with hyper-stylized, quick cuts that couldn't be further from the patient, voyeuristic tendencies of the original film's camerawork. Minimal editing and carefully plotted long takes are no longer relevant here.

The plot itself is even more absurd than the last, which is really saying something. 

The film opens with Michael's niece Jamie, now 15 years old and inexplicably pregnant, giving birth to a child, which is then promptly kidnapped by the unexplained "Man in Black" (who briefly appeared at the end of 4) and his cult.

A nurse later helps Jamie and her baby escape, and Michael of course shows up and kills the nurse. Jamie and her baby flee in a stolen pickup truck and she manages to call in to a radio station and warn Haddonfield that Michael is returning.

halloween 6 nurse

She is quickly impaled by Michael and killed, but not before hiding her baby in a bus station, where Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd!), the child Laurie Strode babysat in the first film, conveniently finds it. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis, now a retired recluse, hears Jamie's plea on the radio and decides to go back to Haddonfield to warn everyone, yet again.

Tommy Doyle now lives in a boarding house across the street (?!) from the Myers' home, and relatives of the Strode family now live in the Myers home for some godforsaken reason.

Tommy spends a lot of time being sad, and you know this because the film shows him staring longingly out a window. He's depressed, but worse than that, he comes off as incredibly creepy. 

halloween 6 rudd

He spends much of the movie investigating Myers, something he has been doing his whole life. He just wants to understand.

Meanwhile, Loomis shows up just in time in inform the Strodes that they are living in Myers' house, but at this point, the murders have already begun. It also makes zero sense that the Strodes would be so blissfully unaware, especially when Tommy himself is right across the street.

Tommy eventually learns that Michael's evil *does* have an explanation! According to this movie, Myers was afflicted with the curse of Thorn by a druid-inspired cult.

This entire idea is so absurd I'll let the film's Wikipedia explain:

Thorn is an ancient Druid symbol that represented a demon that spread sickness and caused destruction. To prevent this, one child from each tribe was chosen to bear the curse of Thorn to offer a blood sacrifice of its next of kin on the night of Samhain (Halloween). When the corresponding Thorn constellation appears, Michael appears.

mark of thorn halloween 6

While Tommy and the Strodes are out discovering all this, Michael kills some folks, and the "Man in Black" cult leader is revealed to be Dr. Wynn, the chief administrator of Smith's Grove, the facility in which Michael was incarcerated for most of his life.

The cult's motives? To replicate evil. They believe Michael (and his relatives) possess the desired "evil" genes, and they want to harness this. For what, god only knows. They see Jamie's baby as an opportunity to usher in a new era of evil ... or something.

Once Michael kills a bunch of cult members, he chases Tommy and the remaining Strodes around Smith's Grove, but Tommy eventually "kills" him by injecting him with something corrosive and beating him with a lead pipe.

halloween 6 cap

When Loomis goes to deal with Michael's body, all that's left is his mask.

Did you follow all that? Me neither.

In this movie, every single element is more convoluted than the last, and the entire concept is fundamentally flawed.

The title itself, "The Curse of Michael Myers," is inherently problematic — there doesn't need to be a curse to make Michael a scary figure!

The filmmakers here are attempting to inject some sort of supernatural explanation for Michael's desire to kill.

Michael has always been a mysterious figure, and the origin of his "evil" has been alluded to repeatedly throughout the series, but never flat out explained.

halloween 6 hallway

Loomis is usually the one delivering the "he's not human, he's the boogeyman" rhetoric, and he gets systematically ignored as the bodies pile up film after film

Additionally, the convenience of the writing repeatedly showcases how incredibly lazy the film is. For example, Tommy only finds the baby because that's what his character needs to do, and Loomis only hears Jamie's radio plea as it serves the narrative to bring him to Haddonfield.

But I digress. "Halloween 6" proves that questions about Michael Myers supernatural abilities are best left unanswered.  

Back to the producer's cut — even though this version consists of 43 minutes of altered footage, it's still a thoroughly terrible movie.

producers cut halloween 6

There are tons of minor differences, but the biggest takeaway is that the producer's cut features about double the Loomis and goes into even more detail on the awful cult stuff. 

The most shocking thing about the producer's cut is that it reveals Michael himself is the father of Jamie's weird cult baby.

Yes, in this universe, Uncle Michael had sex with 15-year-old niece Jamie and procreated. It's no surprise this was left on the cutting-room floor.

The ending is also a little different — instead of Loomis just finding Michael's mask on the ground, he finds Michael on the ground, laying dead.

Except it's not Michael — it's Dr. Wynn! He donned the mask, which allowed Michael to escape wearing Wynn's cult garb. Wynn then transfers his "mark of Thorn" to Loomis, the idea being that now Loomis is the cult leader in charge of Michael?

No matter how you spin it, both versions of "Halloween 6" are varying levels of atrocious.

7. "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers" (1989)

halloween 5 michael maskIf "Halloween 4" was a step in the wrong direction, "Halloween 5" is a full on sprint. 

The film opens right where "4" left off, as Myers inevitably cheats death yet again after the firing-squad assault. He literally crawls into a river as the "Halloween" theme plays. 

We abruptly cut to a year later, and Jamie, who was set up to be the killer at the end of the last movie, is now just mentally disturbed and living in some sort of home for deranged children. 

She now has quite the reputation amongst the townspeople, and they welcome her by tossing rocks through her window that say things like "the evil child must die." 

In "Halloween 5," Jamie inexplicably develops a psychic connection to Michael. She can sense when his future victims are in danger. 

jamies halloween 5

Unfortunately, this gift doesn't quite save Rachel, her foster-sister, as she is killed fairly early on. The buck then gets passed to Tina, her annoying, random friend, and we watch her and her friends suffer at the hands of Michael.  

For a film whose title touts "Revenge," Michael sure spends a hell of a lot of time senselessly murdering kids that have nothing to do with him. I guess he's easily distracted.

He actually spends most of the movie's runtime behind the wheel of his car, which is a bizarre sight.

By the end of the film, a wild-eyed Loomis uses Jamie as bait to lure Michael into his childhood home, where Loomis then tranquilizes him and beats him with a 2x4 until he literally has a stroke.
 halloween 5 jamie

"Halloween 5" ends with Michael locked up in the sheriff's station ... that is, until a stranger (a "Man in Black") shows up, kills the cops, and sets him free. 

Will this masked man play a role in "Halloween 6"? Yes, but he probably shouldn't have.

6. "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers" (1988)

halloween 4 michael

"Halloween 4" was the beginning of a serious rough patch for the franchise.

After backlash from fans following the release of the Michael Myers-less "Season of the Witch," the studio caved and gave people what they want — "The Return of Michael Myers."

The film is notable for introducing Jamie (Danielle Harris), Michael's niece and Laurie Strode's daughter, but it's best known for considerably lowering the bar for the series. 

halloween 4 jamie

From the very beginning, "Halloween 4" just doesn't compare to what came before. It starts on shaky ground and never moves past it. The plot is entirely dependent on dumb people doing dumb things to drive its narrative. 

The opening sequence involves Michael being transferred to a sanitarium without Loomis' consent. On October 30. 

It's been 10 years since the events of the first two films, and Michael has been in a coma ever since.  

Michael awakens as soon as the paramedics mention that he has a niece, immediately kills them both, and makes his way back to Haddonfield to find and kill her, as well as whoever else gets in his way. You know the drill. 

halloween 4 loomis

While the return to familiar territory is welcome, the film is more often a boring retread of the original film than any sort of improvement on it. The impressive direction and focus on suspense and anticipation has gone entirely out the window.

"Halloween 4" relies way too heavily on narrative convenience and coincidence. Major plot details hinge on trivial meetings between characters, like the fact that Michael just so happens to run into Loomis at a gas station before heading to Haddonfield.   

The characters in "Halloween II" were certainly dumb, but the sheer stupidity on display in "Halloween 4" is shocking, and every decision every character makes is a bad one. Who thought it'd be a good idea to transfer Michael on the 10th anniversary of his massacre?!

halloween 4 rachel

Jamie, Michael's nephew and the film's protagonist, is terrorized by her classmates for her relation to Myers (shouldn't they be horrified?!) and also haunted by nightmares and visions of The Shape himself. 

Jamie has been taken in by a foster family, and is mostly left in the care of her foster sister Rachel to babysit, because nothing bad has ever happened to a Strode while babysitting.

There's a lot of unnecessary character detail here, including a subplot revolving around the fact that Rachel's boyfriend is a sleazeball whose sleeping with her good friend, who also just so happens to be the Sheriff's daughter.

These transgressions are, of course, swiftly punished by Myers, so I guess it's fine.

When Loomis informs the Haddonfield police that Michael has returned, it's not long before an angry mob is formed and they go on the hunt for Michael. At one point they actually kill an innocent person, as it's Halloween and masked men are everywhere.

halloween 4 loomis close

The ending is pretty ridiculous, and the producers must have known it, because "Halloween 5" ditches its implications entirely. 

After Michael is shot at by the Haddonfield firing squad, Jamie touches his body, and we are to assume she inherited some of his "evil," as the final shot of the movie is Jamie brandishing scissors after stabbing her own stepmother.

"Halloween 4" was clearly an attempt to usher in a new era of Myers-focused "Halloween" films, and while it did just that, the next two sequels are arguably even worse. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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