Halloween MIGHT be my favorite horror franchise. Growing up in the '80s, I remember being aware of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger through other kids at school, even though I wasn't allowed to watch the movies and they probably weren't either, at the time, so my knowledge of the slasher icons was filtered through this game of telephone. I knew what they looked like, and generally that they were BAD, but I didn't know that Freddy appeared in dreams--he was just a scary-looking dude with knife hands. My friends and I would write stories where we'd get into battles with them while skateboarding the mean backstreets of Alexandria, Virginia. At least until we started getting into real fights because Billy killed Johnny in one of his stories or vice versa. My third grade teacher swiftly instituted some limits on what we could write about, even though she still took pains to encourage our creativity.
Regardless of how little direct experience I had, the slashers were inescapable. In retrospect it's kind of weird thinking about elementary school kids dressed up as Jason for Halloween. Not as weird as a kids' animated series based on the Toxic Avenger, but up there.
The first HALLOWEEN I saw was the much scoffed-at sixth entry in the series, THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS. I don't care what anyone says, I love it. Some amazing kills, the douchebag shock jock, some genuinely creepy moments (lightning flashes and we see Michael standing on the other side of the blinds, for example). And the scene in the hospital when Michael suddenly starts slaughtering all the cultists he'd supposedly been working for/with? Chilling.
Since this was the '90s and I made a few bucks a week that I mostly spent on weed, CDs, and unfortunate fashion choices, it took me a while to go back and watch all the entries in the series. Now I'm the proud owner of every last one on Blu-Ray. Since I've watched every movie several times and somehow still have a girlfriend I think I'm uniquely qualified to rank the entire series.
Without further adieu, I present to the class my definitive ranking of all the Halloween movies.
Honorable Mention: SEASON OF THE WITCH (this is worth watching for Tom Atkins' incredibly shitty alcoholic '80s parenting alone, but the entire flick is a joy).
10. HALLOWEEN V: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS
A bullet-ridden Michael commando-crawling into a river and being nursed back to health by a hermit. Tina is the Poochy of the Halloween series. Rachel is killed off unceremoniously. The psychic powers are stupid. Everybody makes dumb decisions and they're too lazy to make it NOT look like Pasadena. This movie sucks.
9. HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION
Busta Rhymes kung fu fights Michael Myers. That's all you need to know.
8. HALLOWEEN II (Rob Zombie version)
I can see why people hate the Zombieweens (and also everything else Rob Zombie does other than scream about burning through the witches) but other than the white horse stuff I found this movie to be pretty enjoyable. The part where pro wrestler Mikey flips over a cop car is fun even though at that point we're not watching a HALLOWEEN movie anymore.
7. HALLOWEEN: H20
After killing off the franchise's Tommy Jarvis in the first few minutes of the previous film and turning up the Cult of Thorn nonsense to 11, retconning Laurie Strode back into existence seemed like a good idea. This movies wears its late '90s influences on its sleeve. Some people criticize it as the WB version of HALLOWEEN and they're not wrong, but it's fun and has a few really iconic scenes (Michael lowering himself from a pipe one-handed).
6. HALLOWEEN (Rob Zombie version)
Rob Zombie made half a good HALLOWEEN movie. I don't need to spend any more time with little Mikey Myers than we did in John Carpenter's original, and seeing the escalation of Mikey killing animals and bullies ruins the impact of his sister's murder. The whole point was that his sister's murder was totally out of left field. No build-up, no warning signs. That's what was so scary about it. The second half of the movie is tense and terrifying, however, and the dynamic between Laurie and her friends works well.
5. HALLOWEEN VI: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS (Producer's Cut)
I'm only ranking this movie at #5 because of the competition. The part where the Mark of Thorn appears on Loomis' wrist at the end was a total shark-jump.
4. HALLOWEEN VI: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS (Theatrical Cut)
Already got into what I liked about it further up. Far from a perfect film but it will always have a place in my cold, dark heart.
3. HALLOWEEN IV: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS
Kind of a stealth remake, the FORCE AWAKENS of the series. But there are a lot of cool moments, it's generally well-made, and inserts a dose of realism (and additional conflict) with the drunken Haddonfield militia running around shooting dudes in bushes. Unfortunately it also lays the groundwork for the worst elements of the series, psychic powers and unbelievable resurrections. And Donald Pleasence's makeup is, uh, distracting at best.
2. HALLOWEEN II (orig)
THE STAIRS SCENE you guys.
1. HALLOWEEN (orig)
Maybe not the first slasher film, but maybe the best, and it really holds up. Is John Carpenter the greatest horror director of all time? Yes, yes he is.
UPDATE: I’ve seen HALLOWEEN 2018 and damned if I know where to put it. Definitely in the top half of the list. Maybe 3.5? It’s good, go see it.