ScreenAge Wasteland Ranks the ‘Halloween’ Franchise

To celebrate October a.k.a. Spooky Season, ScreenAge Wasteland is proud to present our community’s ranking of the Halloween franchise.

Eight people (whether it was staff, commenters, or Twitter followers) took part in sending us their personal rankings of the Halloween films. We then assigned them points (top spot got 13, last spot got 1) and tallied the scores. In the event that someone hadn’t seen a Halloween film, a multiplier was added to bump that film’s score up to what it would have been if all eight people had seen it.

So sharpen those knives and get ready to see where each Halloween film ended up. And feel free to agree or disagree with where a film ranked in the comments below! You can also check out our previous ranking here.

13. Halloween: Resurrection (2002) | 13 points

  • Pure Gar-BAGE. – Romona Comet
  • Oof, there’s a reason I never bothered to seek this movie out until this ranking came along. It’s terrible. Jamie Lee Curtis could smell this dumpster fire from a mile away and got out as quickly as she could. I don’t actually mind the story for Resurrection of a bunch of wannabe reality stars trapped in the Myers house overnight but the execution just wasn’t there. – Marmaduke Karlston

12. Halloween II (2009) | 19 points

  • It doubles down on everything I didn’t like about the first movie and adds more gore. I actually think this could have been an okay horror flick – just remove the Halloween elements and this is a fairly decent Rob Zombie slasher flick. If you like that sort of thing. – Bob Cram
  • For better or worse (definitely worse), this is 100% a Zombie Halloween movie. It has no similarities to any other film in the series (minus the hospital attack in the beginning, which, while super violent, is a dream sequence that ultimately makes the entire thing pointless) and has some interesting ideas (the main character suffering from PTSD) but fails in every conceivable way. The kills are uninspired, the main character is insufferable, Michael visions of his dead mom (accompanied with a white horse no less) are ridiculous and his depiction of Loomis in this is an insult to the character and ruins Zombie’s version from the first movie. The only reason this isn’t the worst in the series is because Michael doesn’t fight Busta Rhymes at the end. – Sailor Monsoon

11. Halloween (2007) | 27 points

  • I think how much you like Rob Zombie movies probably affects your experience with this film. It’s not a bad movie, by any stretch, but Zombie takes all the stuff I disliked about the Halloween follow-ups (family shit) and turns the white-trash knob to eleven. The movie works best during the actual Halloween remake bits, but that’s because Carpenter et al did a great job paving the road. – Bob Cram
  • To say Rob Zombie is divisive among the horror community would be an understatement. You either dig his style of filmmaking, or you don’t. There’s very little in between. So for him to be tapped to direct a remake of one of the most beloved horror films, immediately rubbed some people wrong. On top of that, his decision to have the entire first act be about how shitty Michael Myers’ childhood was, certainly didn’t help convince his naysayers. But even those who hate this movie have to admit, Zombie made Michael Myers scary again. After a string of garbage sequels, this is the first movie to make him a terrifying presence. The film may have it’s flaws but once it starts copying the Carpenter original, it’s an effective horror film regardless of it’s unnecessary first act. Oh and the cast is arguably better than any entry in the franchise. Malcolm McDowell, Brad Douriff, Danielle Harris, Richard Lynch. It’s filled with genre heavyweights that all deliver great performances. – Sailor Monsoon

10. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) | 32 points

  • Easily the best installment in the so-called “Thorn Trilogy” that followed Myers’ story post-Halloween II. I’ll admit that it’s not perfect, but I can appreciate what the filmmakers were trying to do. To be honest, I sort of want the next Halloween movie to revisit this timeline. Let’s pick up 30 years later and see what Paul Rudd’s Tommy Doyle is up to. C’mon, Hollywood! – Marmaduke Karlston
  • There comes a time in every franchise’s where the people in charge think it’s a good idea to shake shit up. Eventually the tried and true formula gets stale, so to keep the series alive, they decide to get a little crazy. Most decide to go into space but others go a different route. Freddy went meta to great effect, Friday the 13th turned Jason into a body swapping demon (as well as replacing Jason AND sending him into space) but Halloween takes the cake for the most amount of soft reboots. There is no other series in history that hates its own sequels more than Halloween. There are two films that pretend everything before them don’t exist, one remake and an outlier that has nothing to do with the series. The reason it keeps rebooting itself is because of awful entries like this one. Whoever thought it was a good idea to introduce a cult who uses Michael Myers as a killer pawn for their sinister cult-y purposes should be ran out of Hollywood. But one bad idea isn’t enough to sink a movie. The biggest sin this film commits is that it’s boring as fuck. It will slide off of your brain seconds after you watch it. If the only thing memorable about your film is a bad idea, a weird Paul Rudd performance and an inexplicable pink mask for a couple of shots, it deserves all the indifference it gets. – Sailor Monsoon

9. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) | 35 points

  • This is the first Halloween film that actually disappointed me because they clearly changed direction after the ending of Halloween 4. If they’d committed to that shocking moment that ended 4, Halloween 5 could’ve been great, instead this film has the dubious distinction of being the one where “it started to get weird.” – Becky O’Brien
  • Nothing like a good retcon, right? Halloween 4 actually gave us a good shocking end, so deciding to change course and have Myers be the main antagonist again was *yawn* boring. I’d love for a horror franchise to actually not get cold feet and follow through with one of these “this changes everything” endings. – Marmaduke Karlston

8. Halloween Ends (2022) | 44 points

  • Given the hype that surrounded Halloween Ends, I was expecting so much more from the end of Michael Myers. We were promised a battle of the ages between Michael and Laurie and instead, we got bait and switched with an encounter that was almost over before it properly began. Laurie’s story ended beautifully but that is not how the saga of Michael should’ve ended. – Becky O’Brien
  • I like the idea that Myers can sort of pass his evil onto people, and I’d have been 100% on board with seeing that movie, but Ends did not market itself as that movie. I wanted to see the epic final confrontation between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers and I did not see that. I like the parts of Ends that other fans hate, but even I can admit that this movie was a disappointment. – Marmaduke Karlston

7. Halloween Kills (2021) | 49 points

  • Halloween Kills has the distinction of being the first Halloween movie I saw in theaters and it was everything I ever wanted from the experience. It’s almost on the same level as the 2018 film but not quite. I’ve always loved how the film turned the story on its head and had the townspeople try to gang up on Michael. – Becky O’Brien
  • EVIL DIES TONIGHT! Kills has some great, well, kills, but it’s not a perfect movie. That said, I did have a fun time seeing this one in theaters. – Marmaduke Karlston
  • Much like how the first fifteen minutes of the 2009 Friday the 13th reboot are the best in the franchise in my opinion, I think the beginning of this film is the second best Halloween film in the series. Which makes me hate this film even more since it’s tied to such a shitty movie. David Gordon Green nails everything I love about Michael Myers in the cold open. Since it’s taking place five seconds after the first film ended, it’s designed to feel like the Carpenter film. Everything from the digital film grain, to the camera angles, to the score and most importantly, how Myers behaves, is within that style. It’s pitch perfect but then the film cuts to present day and it falls on its face. The massacre of the fireman and paramedics is great and there’s some decent kills here and there but it’s just so fucking dumb and unbelievable, as well as visually ugly and boring, that it infuriates me that there’s a part of it that’s so fucking good. David Gordon Green clearly knows how to make a good Halloween movie but seems to want to go out of his way not to. Every character does and says the dumbest possible thing, every subplot is uninteresting and ultimately pointless and there’s not a hint of tension anywhere to be found. I just don’t understand why it’s so hard to make a good sequel with Michael Myers. He’s a shark with a knife that hunts teens on Halloween. It should write itself. – Sailor Monsoon

6. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) | 50 points

  • Some might be surprised to learn that Halloween 4 is by far one of my favorites in the series. Though her existence is no longer canon, Jamie is a perfect character to follow through this type of story as you really feel her terror as Michael stalks ever closer. And of course, there’s that infamous closing shot that still sticks in my memory. – Becky O’Brien
  • After the “failure” of Halloween III (screw you guys!), The Return of Michael Myers was a halfway decent return to form, with Michael escaping to go after yet another family member. It led to some of the worst and craziest entries in the series, but Jamie (Danielle Harris) was a kinda cool addition to the mythos. – Bob Cram
  • Giving Laurie Strode a daughter to get around Jamie Lee Curtis not wanting to come back was a smart idea, but, man, this movie sucks. Also, the mask is terrible. I’ll never understand why the mask looks so bad in all of these sequels until the 2018 reboot. Anyway, the ending twist is the best damn part of the movie and I hate that they quickly backpedaled it in the sequel. – Marmaduke Karlston

5. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) | 60 points

  • A surprisingly good reboot that ignores everything after II. (Geez, that sounds familiar.) It’s a very ’90s film, but does a decent job showing a traumatized Laurie finally ready to move on – only to have her murderous brother show back up after 20 years (where has he been this whole time, anyway?). It’s great to see Jamie Lee Curtis take on the role of Laurie again, and she does a good job with it. The film takes a while to get going, and we could do without the LL Cool J bits, but once Michael arrives things crank up nicely and it provides a satisfyingly final ending. Yeah right. (Do hate the hair on that mask, though.) – Bob Cram
  • This one was fun in a “so bad it’s good” sort of way. The franchise just doesn’t hit the same without Jamie Lee Curtis, so I’m glad she came back for this. – Romona Comet
  • It’s fine. I prefer Halloween (2018) if I’m being honest, but I do like the change of setting for this one. The mask is UG-LY though. – Marmaduke Karlston

4. Halloween II (1981) | 61 points

  • Considering this film picks up mere moments after the original film, Halloween II had little trouble scaring me to death. There are some brutal kills in this film and it’s a good continuation of the story. – Becky O’Brien
  • I used to dismiss Halloween II, but it’s actually an okay slasher flick. Yes, I hate that it introduces the whole “Laurie is his SISTER!!” element, that it starts kinda in the middle of a murder spree and has nowhere to go, tension-wise, that Michael doesn’t just jab a nurse with a needle – he takes the time to tape it carefully to her arm, that…. wait. I was praising this, wasn’t I? Uh, Michael is still pretty scary in this and Jamie Lee Curtis is always good. I just wish there was more of her. – Bob Cram
  • It’s definitely the best sequel, in my opinion. The hospital setting gives it an extra creepy atmosphere. – Romona Comet

3. Halloween (2018) | 63 points

  • I didn’t think a direct sequel set forty years after the original could possibly work but oh, was I wrong. The 2018 soft reboot works on every level and shows that one terrifying night can leave scars for decades afterward. – Becky O’Brien
  • I really do love the first third of this film and it does a fantastic job of making Michael Myers freakin’ scary again. It ignores ALL the sequels, so the family drama is all around Laurie and her inability to move on from the trauma of that long-ago Halloween. Jamie Lee Curtis is great, damaged and strong at the same time. People think she’s crazy, but she only has to be right once – and guess what time it is? There’s a moment early on where the true-crime folks show Michael his old mask that almost has the power of myth. It comes back down to earth fairly quickly, though, with Michael stab stab stabbing his way to Haddonfield to find Laurie again. Fun stuff, even if you find yourself wondering if it was strictly necessary. – Bob Cram
  • Loved seeing Laurie Strode back as a paranoid survivalist. Also, Judy Greer as her daughter? BONUS. – Romona Comet

2. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) | 65 points

  • I’d actually skipped Halloween III for years because it was known to me as “the one that doesn’t count” because Michael Myers isn’t the focus. However, once I gave it a try, the story turned out to be not all that bad. It’s still the weird entry in the series, but it is enjoyable. – Becky O’Brien
  • I’m probably the only one that’s going to put this flick in second place, but damn do I love Season of the Witch. It’s got a creepy, dark sci-fi vibe I adore. Once you realize it’s not a Michael Myers story you can enjoy the absolute weirdness of a guy implanting slivers of Stonehenge into Halloween masks to cause… well, I dunno exactly. But it’s strange, and cool, and has just enough gore and jumps to be an awesome horror flick. I wish it had done better at the box office, because maybe we would have gotten more original, odd horror movies, rather than a bunch more slasher flicks. – Bob Cram

1. Halloween (1978) | 84 points

  • The original film in a series is almost always the best and such is the case with the original Halloween. With a spooky story and terrifying jump scares, I couldn’t pick any other film to be number one. – Becky O’Brien
  • Halloween didn’t invent the slasher genre, but it perfected it. Good enough to launch a thousand dead teenagers, the film is always better than I remember it being. Maybe because I saw so many slasher flicks before I saw the OG I used to dismiss it, but it really is a master class in building tension and delivering the scares. Add in great performances from Jamie Lee Curtis as the original Scream Queen, Laurie Strode, and Donald Pleasance chewing scenery, and that amazing score by John Carpenter and you have lightning in a bottle. Still effective, decades later, it’s one of the horror classics for a reason. – Bob Cram
  • The OG. As hard as they try, no sequel or reboot has come close to matching the terror and suspense of John Caprenter’s masterpiece. – Romona Comet
  • It’s hard to beat the original Halloween. Hands down the best in the franchise and it’s not even close. – Marmduke Karlston

Was there any doubt that the original Halloween would come in at #1? Perhaps the most surprising placement is Halloween III coming in at #2 and the 2018 legacy sequel rounding out the Top 3. Regardless, there’s a huge 19-point drop from #1 to #2 showing just how much better John Carpenter’s Halloween is than every other installment in this franchise.

Thank you to everyone who participated in SAW’s twelfth community ranking!

How does your ranking of Halloween look? Share your ranking in the comments below!