A Viewer’s Guide to the Halloween Franchise

It may be November, but here at Quaint and Curious Volumes, Halloween hours are 24/7/365. And, vox populi est vox dei.

(Except it’s November. But clearly none of you care whether my mind turns into mush from too many slashers, so I’m only a little sorry.)

So, without further ado: the results of my binge-watch of all 12 Halloween movies, including the newest release: Halloween Kills.


The basic overall storyline is this: Michael Myers, who subscribes to the same abstinence-only sex ed curriculum as Jason Voorhees, kills his sister on Halloween 1978. He’s institutionalised, but continually escapes and hunts down the leftover family members who keep cropping up, sexually active teenagers, and anyone else who gets in his way. But, as the writers desperately try to come up with new gimmicks, shit gets messy. Which brings us to…

Chronology: Oh boy. Okay. There are more timelines in this thing than an early 2000s episode of Doctor Who. The story reboots twice, once from the first movie (with Halloween 2018) and once from the second (with Halloween H2O, followed by Halloween: Resurrection). Season of the Witch, though nominally part of the first timeline, exists in its own universe (where the Halloween franchise itself is a real thing). So do the Rob Zombie remakes.

(Here’s a helpful diagram from Wikimedia)

On Kayla’s advice, I watched Halloween (1978) first, then followed it with Halloween 2018) and the trailer for Halloween Kills.

My suggestion for watch order is this either:

Halloween (1978) → Halloween (2018) → Halloween Kills (2021) → (and Halloween Ends when it comes out), then, if desired, start again with the original timeline and loop back to H20 and Resurrection once your standards are sufficiently low. You can take or leave Season of the Witch, but definitely leave the Zombie remakes.


Halloween (1978) → Halloween 2 → Halloween IV (2021) → Halloween V Halloween VI. Then start the new timeline before doubling back for H20 and Resurrection. Same advice as above for III and the 2007 and 2009 versions.

Michael Myers Killcount: According to Screenrant, for the first eleven movies and then CBR for the Halloween Kills numbers, counting every Myers-verse, it’s 148. Disparities between CBR and Screenrant exist, but this isn’t an exact science, and I never do my own killcounts because I am an embarrassment to society, so it’ll have to do.

The bloodiest timeline is the original one, where Myers racks up 58 bodies, followed by the original-through-Halloween Kills version gives us 48.  The Zombie remakes (31) narrowly beat the H20 universe (30).

In fairness, these numbers only tell part of the story, since each timeline has a different number of movies. In the original timeline (not counting Season of the Witch), Michael murders at a rate of 11.6 kills per movie. At his peak, in the Zombie-verse, he slashes at a rate of 15.5 kpm, though this is nearly equaled by the 15 kpm (so far) achieved in the original-through-Halloween Kills timeline. In the H20 timeline, he manages just 10kpm.

My Ranking:

  1. Halloween (2018): You want a movie with an intelligent protagonist who does all the stuff you yell at the screen? You want a movie that actually acknowledges the trauma a slasher survivor would face? You want character development like you’ve never seen in a final girl before? You want badass, gray-haired Jamie Lee Curtis? This movie’s got it all, baby. 11/10 because it exceeds franchise and genre expectations.
  2. Halloween (1978): I always have to give a tip of the hat to the OG. 10/10
  3. Halloween IV: Look, this one is solid and then hits you with the mother of all twists. Could stand to deal with some dropped threads (Laurie got iced offscreen with all the nuance of Cinderella’s mom) but after Season of the Witch, we’re all just glad to be back to Haddonfield. 8/10
  4. Halloween Kills: This is an excellent film, with a cool mob scene and some really solid characters (RIP Big & Little John), but the “big twist” where it turns out Michael isn’t actually dead…lads, all you did was beat him over the head a few times, and we’ve been trying that for 11 movies. 7/10
  5. Halloween Resurrection: Mid-2000s reality TV fun, a standard but pretty cool opening twist, and Busta Rhymes beating the crap out of Michael Myers. Legitimately, what more could you ask for? 7/10
  6. Halloween II (1981): standard slasher fare, does what it does well. “Michael had another sister!” isn’t a great gimmick, but it’s not terrible either. But for the love of god, @ everyone in this movie, stop mispronouncing “Samhain.” (It’s “sow-in,” not “Sam Hane” and it’s a festival, the modern version of which is—you guessed it—Halloween. Also, in Irish, the word just plain means November.) 7/10
  7. Halloween III: Season of the Witch: you could be forgiven for watching this movie and assuming you’d walked into the wrong theater. This is not a film about Michael Myers—though he does briefly appear, on a TV that’s playing Halloween at a bar—instead it’s a film about a mask-making company that is attempting to sacrifice millions of children. The proprietor has stolen one of the pieces of Stonehenge. There are robots. There’s an explanation for this weirdness, which is that John Carpenter and Debra Hill wanted to make an anthology series. However, after you make two movies about the same guy, audiences reasonably except to see him again in the third. The best part of this movie is when the protagonists sneak through a room by quite literally hiding behind a wheelie cart. It’s terrible, and I love it. 5/10 for the sheer ridiculousness.
  8. Halloween V: Takes the cool twist at the end of IV and drops it in a puddle. Where Jamie could have been (shock horror!) another garden variety psychopath, exploring the concept of whether evil is born or bred and giving us a Myers Murder Dynasty, she just ends up being sometimes puppeteered by Michael and sometimes acting out his actions a la the tethers in Us but mostly just crying a lot. What saves this film is the costumes. Tina’s gauze-covered corset over jean shorts with white eyelet lace sewn onto them and fishnets is what I want to wear every day for the rest of my life. 5/10
  9. Halloween H2O: 20 Years Later: Lowkey a first draft of the 2018 version, we’ve got Jamie Lee Curtis back and ready to do battle, which has all the makings of a good time, but falls flat. Redeeming qualities include an erotica-writing security guard and the fact that someone (JLC) finally thinks to decapitate Mr. Myers. 4/10
  10. Halloween 6: This movie sucks, but not really in a fun way. It also sequel-baits, and we never got one. Tommy Doyle (the kid Laurie babysat Way Back When) has a pretty decent reappearance, but the cult plotline isn’t used to its full extent, and that rune they finally explain is Norse, not Celtic. 4/10
  11. Halloween II (2009): Mr. Zombie needs to be stopped. 0/10
  12. Halloween (2007): I spent $3.99 renting this thing, and I regret every cent. 0/10

Since watching horror mega-franchises over the course of a few days and then having opinions is apparently my thing now, be prepared for an Elm Street version next.


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