Ranking The Halloween Franchise From Worst To Best

It's Halloween season again, and it's also time for a new "Halloween" movie – "Halloween Kills," the sequel to 2018's "Halloween." Once again, a distraught Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) must contend with the murderous ways of Michael Myers. And, whenever a new entry in this unkillable series arrives, it's fun to look back at the franchise as a whole. Sure, the continuity is shot to hell, but so what? We can still enjoy ourselves by ranking the "Halloween" franchise from worst to best.

I am of the controversial opinion that pretty much every "Halloween" movie – except "Halloween Resurrection" – is worthwhile. Perhaps I'm just a sucker, but I almost always end up enjoying these movies. Still, I also realize that some of the "Halloween" films are far, far better than others, and that's where this ranking comes in. I've done some reconfiguring here and changed the place of certain entries, while also including "Halloween Kills." That isn't because I'm indecisive. It's because opinions change with time, and I think it's important that we own up to such change rather than suppress it. So here's how the "Halloween" franchise ranks right now. And who knows? Maybe it'll change next Halloween. 

12. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

"Trick or treat, motherf***er!"

Oh boy, let's get this garbage out of the way first, shall we? "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later" attempted to bring some dignity back to the lusterless "Halloween" franchise, and partially succeeded (more on that later). That film not only brought Jamie Lee Curtis back, it also gave Curtis the chance to finally kill Michael Myers by cutting his head off. But Moustapha Akkad, the producer who controlled the franchise until his death in 2005, refused to let Michael Myers stay dead. To get around Michael's decapitation, Kevin Williamson, of "Scream" fame, came up with an idea in which Michael tricked Laurie by placing his famous mask on the head of a paramedic. It was the paramedic Laurie killed, not Michael.

As a result of this, Laurie is now in a mental institute at the start of "Halloween: Resurrection." This is actually a great set-up! Laurie, further traumatized by Michael's unstoppable evil. Had "Resurrection" stuck with this plotline, and involved Laurie more, it might have worked. Unfortunately, that's not what happens. Instead, Michael kills Laurie a few minutes into the film, and then moves on to target a bunch of annoying 20-somethings taking part in a reality TV show.

Michael's future victims are camped out in the spooky old Myers place as part of a show called "Dangertainment," run by Busta Rhymes. One by one, the youths are picked off as Michael slashes his way through the house, and later engages in a big fight with Busta Rhymes, in which the rapper-turned-actor proceeds to kung-fu kick The Shape through a wall.

Of all the not-so-good "Halloween" sequels, "Resurrection" is truly the worst. Rick Rosenthal, who helmed the first "Halloween II," does a terrible job here – there's absolutely zero sense of dread, atmosphere, or life. The found-footage craze had yet to die down in 2002, and as a result, there's a bunch of scenes in this movie where characters film stuff with their own cameras, and it looks terrible. On top of that, there's not a single likable character here. The first "Halloween" was so effective because we immediately liked, and cared about Laurie Strode. There's no one to root for in Resurrection. We're just biding time until they all get slaughtered.

And while there might be a certain camp value in having Busta Rhymes shout "Trick or treat, motherf***er!" as he dropkicks Michael Myers, the action effectively murders whatever dignity this series had left at this point.

Resurrection was so bad it did what no other "Halloween" sequel had done before: it killed the franchise, eventually leading to a complete reboot.

Franchise Mythology Revelation: Michael Myers' true weakness is kung-fu.

Best Scare: There's nothing really remotely scary here, but an opening scene in which Michael Myers lowers himself down from some ceiling pipes one-handed like some sort of badass bodybuilder to get the drop on a security guard is pretty neat.

Michael Myers Mask Rating: Not great! For some reason, the mask in Resurrection is super-stylized, to the point where Michael has some penciled-in eyebrows and what looks like shadowing on his cheeks. How glam!

11. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

"If there's one thing I know, you can't control evil."

Good lord, what is this movie? "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers" had problems from the get-go. No one could decide what they wanted this movie to be, and the now-infamous "producer's cut" shows that "The Curse of Michael Myers" was originally a different movie (although not entirely different from the theatrical cut).

"The Curse of Michael Myers" blows up the mythology completely, introducing an utterly bats*** crazy idea about an evil cult controlling Michael Myers. Why anyone thought this would be a good idea is beyond me, but here we are.

As "Curse" begins, we see Michael's niece Jamie now a young adult, giving birth to a child. This is no joyous occasion, though: Jamie is being held captive by the evil cult who wants her baby. She was abducted at the end of "Halloween 5" by the mysterious Man in Black, who we eventually learn is Dr. Wynn, an old colleague of Dr. Loomis. The producer's cut adds an extra disturbing element to Jamie's pregnancy: the baby is actually Michael's – that's right, Michael Myers had sex with his own niece. Ick.

Jamie manages to escape with the baby and hide it away, only to be brutally murdered by Michael. From here we meet our main characters, one of whom is Tommy Doyle, the young boy we saw Laurie Strode babysitting in the first movie. Tommy is all-grown-up now and played by none other than Paul Rudd in his big-screen debut. I like Paul Rudd, you like Paul Rudd – everyone likes Paul Rudd. And he's a good actor now! But he is not a good actor in "The Curse of Michael Myers," and his performance here is absolutely dreadful. He gives every single one of his lines a weird, smug inflection that's almost unbearable. It's amazing that he would eventually blossom into a charming, likable, apparently ageless man.

As "Curse" unfolds, one thing becomes abundantly clear: this movie makes zero sense. It's impossible to follow, and the only sign of light comes from franchise mainstay Donald Pleasence, in his final performance as Dr. Sam Loomis, Michael's determined former doctor. "Halloween 5" had Loomis in a state of near madness, but "Curse" turns him into a warm, grandfatherly type. It's a treat to watch Pleasence work, even if his death during filming resulted in his part being severely limited.

What "The Curse of Michael Myers" lacks in common sense it tries to make up for in brutality. The kills here are nasty – Michael actually blows up some guy's head at one point. That may satisfy gorehounds, but there's nothing else satisfying here.

Franchise Mythology Revelation: Where do I even begin? It's nearly impossible to make sense of what's going on in this movie, but here goes: Michael Myers is being controlled by an evil cult bent on world domination (I think?). The cult is really into Druid rituals, sacrifices, and fooling around with DNA (or something?). Oh, and Dr. Wynn, a character we saw for about two minutes in the original Halloween, is the mysterious Man in Black who is in charge of the cult. Whatever!

Best Scare: Paul Rudd's performance.

Michael Myers Mask Rating:  Not bad! As much of a mess as "The Curse of Michael Myers" might be, the mask looks fairly good here, and somewhat close to the original.

10. Halloween (2007)

"Trick or treat, baby!"

My knee-jerk reaction when starting this list was to put Rob Zombie's Halloween dead last. The way some people feel about "The Last Jedi" in regards to "Star Wars" – i.e., it betrays the franchise – is how I feel about Zombie's "Halloween." In short, it makes me furious. But to call it the worst "Halloween" film when would be disingenuous. From a strictly filmmaking standpoint, Zombie's "Halloween" has a lot going for it. Because Rob Zombie is actually a strong filmmaker.

Unfortunately, he's a terrible screenwriter. In Rob Zombie's movies, everyone is a foul-mouthed hillbilly obsessed with dirty jokes. That may work for stuff like "The Devil's Rejects," but it's terribly out of place in the world of "Halloween." Everyone here is unbearable, and Zombie's dialogue certainly doesn't help. Unlike John Carpenter and Debra Hill, Zombie does not have an ear for realistic dialogue. When the teens in the original "Halloween" talked, they sounded like real teens. Here, everything sounds forced.

"Oh, come on, babe. I want to do it with the mask on!" Judith Myers' boyfriend says at one point, trying to have sex with her wearing the famous Shape mask.

"It's probably just some pervert cruising school Poontang!" cries Laurie's friend Annie later.

And then there's the dialogue from adults. The worst offender is Ronnie, Michael's abusive stepfather. At one point, he looks at his own stepdaughter's rear end and comments: "Man, that b**ch got herself a nice little dumper!" Come on – "a nice little dumper"? What is this?

Even when Zombie is trying to directly quote the original "Halloween," he whiffs it. At the end of the 1978 film, after Dr. Loomis has shot Michael Myers, Laurie tearfully asks: "Was that the boogeyman?"

"As a matter of fact, it was," Loomis replies. Short and sweet, and to the point.

Here, when a similar scene plays out and Laurie asks the same question, Zombie has Loomis reply: "As a matter of fact, I do believe it was!" Why is that "I do believe" thrown in there? It makes the line sound so clunky. To quote William Hurt in "A History of Violence," "How do you f*** that up?"

Zombie also has no idea what made Michael Myers so scary. The whole point of the character, in Carpenter's film at least, was that he was inhuman. He has no human characteristics – he's an unstoppable force of pure evil. Carpenter's famous opening scene is so chilling because it reveals that on the surface, Michael is just a normal little boy from a normal, clean-cut family. Nothing made him evil – he just is. That's terrifying!

In Zombie's hands, however, Michael is the product of a broken home. He comes from a terribly abusive family, and while that may not have made him a serial killer, it certainly didn't help. In short, Zombie is trying to generate some sympathy for Michael Myers and to be blunt, that's stupid.

After focusing on Michael's childhood, Zombie has the character grow up into a mute, hulking killer who busts out of the asylum and goes on a killing spree in Haddonfield. He's out to find his long-lost sister Laurie, played (terribly) by Scout Taylor-Compton. At one point, Zombie stages a scene in which Michael actually holds up a photo of Laurie to force someone to tell him where she is as if he were a private detective in some old noir film. It's incredibly silly.

Through it all, Mr. Zombie's stunt-casting continues to distract. "Halloween" looks as if Zombie took a camera crew to a Monster-Mania convention and filmed everyone there signing autographs. I get it: he's a horror fan, and he wants these classic horror stars in his movie. But having Udo Kier, Sid Haig, Ken Foree, Richard Lynch and more pop-up for quick cameos gets real distracting, real quick.

And then there are the main actors. Taylor-Compton is grating as the new Laurie, and Sheri Moon Zombie, Zombie's wife and constant leading lady, is unbearable as Michael's mom. The only actors who turn in slightly good work here are Malcolm McDowell, playing Dr. Loomis, and Brad Dourif, playing Sheriff Brackett.

Here's the thing: if this wasn't a "Halloween" movie, if Zombie instead crafted a brand-new slasher film that paid homage to "Halloween" but never mentioned Michael Myers, or Dr. Loomis, or Laurie Strode, or any of that stuff, I might like it more. Sure, the script would still stink and the characters would still be unbearable. But Zombie really does have a wonderful eye for visual storytelling, and I wish to hell he'd direct other people's screenplays because then he might turn in a genuinely great movie.

But this is a "Halloween" film, and as a "Halloween" film, it's bad. It's more competently made than the previous three entries on this list, which earns it its place here. But that's not saying much.

Franchise Mythology Revelation: Michael Myers isn't pure, unstoppable evil. He's just a misunderstood redneck kid from a broken home.

Best Scare: Young Michael's first kill – murdering a school bully – is genuinely scary in its brutality, and in the way Zombie films it, with the camera swirling as Michael mercilessly beats the bully to death.

Michael Myers Mask Rating: Good. Until the 2018 Halloween, the Halloween 2007 mask was the closest to the original, albeit with a slightly decayed factor.

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

"I prayed that he would burn in Hell, but in my heart I knew that Hell would not have him."

"Halloween 4" brought Michael Myers back from the dead after "Halloween III" ignored him completely, and audiences ate it up. It was good to have the Shape back in action, and while "Halloween 4" could never live up to Carpenter's original, it worked surprisingly well, ending with one hell of a shocking twist: Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), Michael Myers' niece, attacked and presumably killed her stepmother, indicating that Michael's evil had been passed on through his bloodline.

Now that the franchise had essentially started over again, what do you think happened? Did they keep the momentum going? Absolutely not. Instead, they s*** the bed. First, Moustapha Akkad decided to retool the previous movie's surprising ending with "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers." Jamie's stepmother didn't die after all. Instead, Jamie just attacked her, but no one really holds that against Jamie for some reason. There was a clear set-up in "Halloween 4" that Jamie would be the new face of evil, but Akkad preferred to keep Michael Myers front and center. As a result, Jamie goes back to being a potential victim, and Michael once again stalks her through town. In a sense, "Halloween 5" is just a dumber remake of Halloween 4.

That said, there are a handful of neat ideas here. At the start of the film, we see the severely wounded Michael – he was shot approximately 500 times at the end of "Halloween 4" – stumble upon a hermit's shed. The hermit nurses Michael back to health for a full year. And how does Michael repay this kindness? The minute he's well enough, he murders the hermit. That's cold-blooded, and a nice touch. Another nice touch: Donald Pleasence's Dr. Loomis, the psychiatrist who has spent the entire series warning people about Michael, has gone off the deep end. Loomis is in full-blown Captain Ahab mode here, obsessed to the point where he's willing to put a small girl in terrible danger just to finally kill Michael once and for all. Loomis has always been intense, but I quite like the out-of-his-mind Loomis on display here.

Any goodwill "Halloween 5" develops is ruined, however, by a goofy ending in which a mysterious Man in Black kills all the cops in town and helps Michael Myers escape from prison. The people behind this film fully admit they had no idea where this plot device was leading to, and just threw it into the film willy-nilly. It shows. Another terrible thing: there are two bumbling cop characters who get their own goofy musical theme. This was meant to pay tribute to similar corny cops in  Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left, but it absolutely does not work here.

"Halloween 5" didn't have the same box office success as 4, and producers decided to pause and retool things. That didn't work out so well, of course, as the previous entry on this list shows.

Franchise Mythology Revelation: Michael Myers has a tattoo on his wrist that has somehow never been shown before! Also, there's a mysterious Man in Black up to no good (he also rides a bus into town for some reason, because I guess he doesn't like to drive). Oh, and Michael's niece has a psychic connection to him?

Best Scare: The scene where Michael stalks around the exterior, and then interior, of a house while a potential victim takes a shower inside, is surprisingly well crafted and tension-filled, even more so because it happens in broad daylight. There's something unnerving about Michael blatantly stalking around in the day.

Michael Myers Mask Rating: Awful. This might be the worst mask of the bunch – the hair is slicked back as if Michael was headed out for some Sloppy steaks at Truffoni's, and the neck is untucked from the overalls, making it jut out at odd angles. It's silly to expect Michael to always have the same mask, but yeesh, it doesn't have to look this bad.

8. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

"20 years. Don't you think he would've shown up by now? What's he waiting for?"

"Halloween H20: 20 Years Later" attempted to do two things at once: revitalize the Halloween franchise and cash-in on the slasher movie revival kicked off by "Scream" in 1996. For a brief amount of time, things were on track to make "H20" something special. Not only was original star Jamie Lee Curtis coming back, but "Scream" screenwriter Kevin Williamson wrote the story, and original franchise director John Carpenter was set to helm.

Then things changed. Curtis remained, but Williamson's story was ditched, and Carpenter never finalized the deal. The filmmaker wanted a three-picture deal, but Dimension Films' heads The Weinsteins balked at the idea, Carpenter walked, and Steve Miner took over.

The end result? A mish-mash, but an entertaining mish-mash. "H20" makes every film after "Halloween II" null and void. Here we learn Laurie Strode faked her death and went into hiding. She's now the headmistress of a posh private school. She also has a son, John, played by Josh Hartnett. John is the only one in Laurie's life who knows who she really is and what's going on, and Laurie is an overprotective mother, to say the least. Her overprotectiveness is warranted, though, of course, because Michael Myers makes his way to the school and starts killing.

Everything involving Laurie here is good, mainly due to Jamie Lee Curtis' performance. Unfortunately, since "H20" came out in the heyday of the slasher revival, a good chunk of the movie focuses on younger characters, including John's girlfriend, played by Michelle Williams (!). Everything involving the kids is dull, and all we want to see is Laurie and Michael face-off, which they eventually do. But we have to sit through a lot of crap to get there.

"H20" is a slight step up from most "Halloween" sequels, but a few more rewrites would've made the film excellent. A subplot involving LL Cool J as a comic relief security guard writing erotic romance novels is awful and goes absolutely nowhere. Who cares about that, at all? Give us Laurie vs. Michael!

Franchise Mythology Revelation: Nothing after the original "Halloween II" actually happened. Laurie Strode faked her death and moved the hell out of Haddonfield.

Best Scare: All those late '90s fashions! Am I right, folks?!

Michael Myers Mask Rating: Yikes. There were actually four masks used in "H20," and none of them are good. Scene after scene, the mask Michael is wearing changes. On a few quick occasions, you can even spot a CGI mask, and boy does it look like s***.

7. Halloween Kills (2021)

"Evil dies tonight!"

David Gordon Green's direct sequel to his 2018 "Halloween" feels incomplete. Green has a whole trilogy planned – "Halloween Kills," which is currently due out next year, will theoretically wrap everything up. But knowing that he has one more film to take care of loose ends seems to have had a negative effect on Green and his team because they've delivered a film that feels very much like the middle entry in a bigger story. And while that may play better once "Halloween Ends" arrives, it's lackluster right now.

Still, "Halloween Kills" isn't the disaster some are making it out to be. For one thing, it more than lives up to its title, featuring one extremely brutal kill after another as Michael picks his way through Haddonfield again. Another idea here I like is the realization that Laurie Strode really isn't all that important. She thinks she is, and has spent the last 40ish years assuming that she and Micheal Myers are joined together by fate. But as she learns here, Michael only showed up at her house in the previous film because he was brought there. Laurie is just another potential dead body in his path, nothing more, nothing less. 

And then there's the idea of mob justice getting way out of hand, especially among small-town folks with closed minds. This is all potentially strong stuff! But "Halloween Kills" doesn't do much with it, and instead just unfolds like a series of unconnected scenes that don't add up to a whole lot. Still, as big of a step-down as this is from "Halloween" 2018, I couldn't help but have fun with a lot of what happens here. But it's a middling entry, and thus it belongs in the middle of the ranking.

Franchise Mythology Revelation: Michael really doesn't care about Laurie Strode! Also, the more people he kills, the more immortal he becomes – or something like that. 

Best Scare: Honestly, there's nothing outwardly "scary" here, which is a problem. I suppose it could be argued that Michael's unrelenting cruelty in the way he brutally dispatches people is scary in its own way, but beyond that, there's a serious lack of atmospheric fear here. 

Michael Myers Mask Rating: Good! I dig the burned look here, making Michael even more inhuman, almost like the Terminator after half his face has been blown off, revealing the metal exoskeleton beneath.

6. Halloween II (1981)

"Is this some kind of joke? I've been trick-or-treated to death tonight."

None of the creatives behind "Halloween" wanted to make a sequel. But money talks and "Halloween" was a huge hit. Eventually, John Carpenter and Debra Hill were talked into helping out with a follow-up film. The two wrote a script – while drinking lots of beer – and came up with "Halloween II." In the process, Carpenter cooked up a plot twist that would change the franchise forever: he gave Michael Myers a motive.

We learn that the reason Michael is so hell-bent on killing Laurie Strode is that she's his long-lost sister. Carpenter himself later admitted this idea was "Purely a function of having decided to become involved in the sequel to the movie where I didn't think there was really much of a story left." He would go on to regret its inclusion, and indeed, it does rob Michael of a lot of his strength. It's much scarier to think Michael targeted Laurie and her friends for no real reason. That implies that anyone, anyone at all, could be a target.

All these issues aside, "Halloween II" is a lot of fun. It's decidedly nastier than the first film – Michael's kills are more brutal, crueler. He doesn't just stab and strangle here. He boils people alive, or injects them with syringes, or bashes them with hammers.

Laurie spends a good chunk of the movie out of commission, laid up in the hospital with her wounds from the first film. Meanwhile, Michael picks his way through the (oddly empty) hospital to get to her. Is it overly simple? Yes, it is. In fact, there's almost nothing to this movie. And yet it works. The fact that the movie takes place immediately after the events of the first film makes it feel as if it's part of that previous movie (even if it's not as well made). The franchise has yet to grow stale, and watching Michael slash his way through hospital staff makes for surprisingly compelling viewing.

Franchise Mythology Revelation: Laurie Strode is Michael Myers' sister!!!

Best Scare: The climactic scene where Laurie shoots both of Michael's eyes out (spoiler alert: they magically heal in the sequels), and he keeps coming after her anyway is a wonderful touch. Not even being blinded is going to stop Michael from trying to kill Laurie Strode.

Michael Myers Mask Rating: This is the same mask from the first "Halloween," but it looks a bit different due to general wear and tear. "Halloween II "is set on the same exact night as the first film, but in truth, 3 years had gone by. As a result, the mask decayed a bit (and the hair has gone a bit reddish-blond for some reason).

5. Halloween II (2009)

"I'm a little confused. Are we talking about the Austin Powers Mike Myers or is this someone else?"

Rob Zombie's "Halloween II" is a vast improvement over his Halloween for one simple reason: he's no longer trying to recreate a John Carpenter movie. Instead, Zombie crafts a crazy, stylish horror movie full of incredible imagery. 

It still has problems, though. Once again, Scout Taylor-Compton and Sheri Moon Zombie are here giving rather bad performances. And Zombie's hillbilly dialogue still grates. But the ideas on display are so intriguing that these issues are almost forgivable. Almost. Since writing this list the first time, I've revisited "Halloween II," and It's aged well. In fact, it's even better than I remember. I still have a lot of issues here, specifically in regards to Mr. Zombie's dialogue. But gosh, he sure knows how to amp up the violence.

In the aftermath of the first film, Laurie Strode is slowly going insane, haunted by the ghost of Michael's mother, Deborah. She doesn't know she's Michael Myers' sister yet, but when she eventually learns this truth, it sends her over the deep end. Meanwhile, Michael has become a bearded brute stalking the countryside like Frankenstein's Monster. And Dr. Loomis has cashed in, writing a book about Michael's murders and exploiting everything for personal gain.

All of this is neat, and unlike anything we've seen in a Halloween movie before, so I dig it. At the same time, it seems as if Zombie can't commit to certain ideas. There's a moment near the end of the movie where he teases that Michael Myers isn't even real and that Laurie has been imagining him for the entire movie. But then he quickly reveals that  Michael is real, making the hallucination pointless. This is in the theatrical cut, by the way. The director's cut – which is superior – makes things much clearer. 

Once again, Zombie's "Halloween" thrives on brutality, and there's plenty of that. Michael smashes people into mirrors, hangs dismembered bodies from ceilings, and fills dumpsters with corpses. In one particularly horrifying scene, he kills Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris, playing a different character here than the one she played in "Halloween 4" and "5"), one of the few victims who survived him in the first movie. The fact that Annie got away, only to be killed here, is tragic. As is the reaction of Brad Dourif, playing Annie's father.

"Halloween II" ultimately suffers from all the fatal flaws of Rob Zombie's other movies, but at least he's trying something new here. And for that, I commend him. This is one of the few "Halloween" movies that focus on the aftermath of Michael's attacks, and that's interesting. I just wish Zombie would let someone else write his scripts.

Franchise Mythology Revelation: Michael Myers can flip a car over with his bare hands.

Best Scare: An opening hospital sequence in which Michael murders a nurse (played by Octavia Spencer!) is horrifying because it just keeps going. Rather than a simple kill, Michael stabs the nurse over and over again as she keeps trying to crawl away. It's hard to watch.

Michael Myers Mask Rating: Okay. The mask is a rotting mess here, to the point where Michael Myers' beard (which he has in this movie) is poking through. It's memorable, but not the best.

4. Halloween (2018)

"He's waited for me, I've waited for him."

Here is the sequel you've been waiting for. Director David Gordon Green brings Michael Myers back from the dead, and what a treat it is to watch. But this isn't Michael's movie. No, the new "Halloween" belongs to Laurie Strode. Jamie Lee Curtis returns once again, and turns in a fantastic performance, playing Laurie as a traumatized woman reclaiming her narrative. She's no longer going to be a victim.

Halloween is similar (perhaps too similar) to "Halloween H20," in that it ignores other sequels (in this case everything after the first movie), and has Laurie dealing with a bad relationship with her child. Here, Laurie doesn't have a son, but a grown daughter, played by Judy Greer. Greer's character, Karen, thinks her mom is a nut, because Laurie spent years living as a gun-toting survivalist, sure that someday, Michael Myers would return. The only member of Laurie's family to have any sympathy for her is her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak).

Of course, Laurie's fears are founded. Michael breaks out (again), and comes to Haddonfield. The results are great, and scary. Michael is a force of nature here, bashing his way through one victim after another. There's no humanity to this character – he's a monster, plain and simple. And it's incredibly satisfying to watch Laurie finally face off against him, and have the upper hand.

Not all of "Halloween" works, though. There's a subplot involving Michael's new doctor (played by Haluk Bilginer) that's so bad it made me angry. And like "H20," I hate that Halloween felt the need to focus on younger characters in peril when all I wanted to see was Laurie. But there's so much to love here. Green's direction is the best the series has seen in years, and the script, by Green, Danny McBride, and Jeff Fradley, is smart, snappy, and yes, funny.

Best of all: John Carpenter returned to create a propulsive, thrilling score (along with Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies). This will be a controversial opinion, but I'd go so far as to say the new "Halloween" score is even better than the iconic original.

Franchise Mythology Revelation: Nothing after the first "Halloween" happened, and Laurie Strode is not Michael Myers' sister after all.

Best Scare: One of the new "Halloween"'s strengths is how scary it makes Michael Myers seem. He storms through this movie obliterating everyone in his path. With that in mind, there are a lot of scary moments here. My two persona favorite: Michael reaching over a bathroom stall and dropping a handful of teeth he's ripped out of some poor dope's head, and a long tracking shot in which Michael stalks from one house to another, killing whomever he comes across.

Michael Myers Mask Rating: Very good. I love that the mask looks like the original, but has been given creases and "wrinkles" to show that Michael is older now.

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

"We are talking about evil on two legs."

John Carpenter and Debra Hill wanted Michael Myers to stay dead after "Halloween II," but Moustapha Akkad wasn't willing to let the money-making machine that was the "Halloween" franchise rest. At first, Carpenter and Hill were involved with the movie that would become "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers." Hill planned to produce while Carpenter co-wrote a script with Dennis Etchison.

Unfortunately, Akkad hated the script and wanted changes. At this point, Carpenter and Hill washed their hands of the franchise, signing all rights away to Akkad. Now completely in charge, Akkad set out to make a simple, effective throwback. Michael Myers would return, and he would target dumb teens. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The end result works! It's nowhere near the original "Halloween," but for the most part, "Halloween 4" is a success. The film introduces a new element: Michael Myers' niece, played by Danielle Harris. Jamie's mom, Laurie Strode, is now dead, and life isn't easy for poor Jamie. It's hard being the niece of the boogeyman, after all.

Michael has been in a coma for ten years, but he wakes up just in time to kick the movie off and target Jamie. Also back: poor Dr. Loomis. Donald Pleasence is, as usual, wonderful, lending a real touch of class to the proceedings. Loomis is incredibly weary here – he can't believe he has to go through all of this again. One of the best scenes in the film is when he tiredly implores Michael to stop; to leave the people of Haddonfield alone. Realizing his words are futile, Loomis then points a gun at Michael and mutters, "God damn you..." before firing. He misses, of course.

Some child actors have a gift, and others are annoying. Danielle Harris is thankfully the former, and she turns in a believable, likable performance as the awkward, terrified Jamie. When she's screaming for her life as Michael comes after her, we buy it.

It all builds to a shocking climax. After Michael has been defeated, the survivors are trying to unwind and rest easy. But – seemingly out of nowhere – Jamie picks up a knife, dons a clown costume (just like her uncle did as a child), and stabs her stepmother – presumably killing her in the process. The implication is clear: Michael's evil is part of his bloodline, and he's passed it on to Jamie. The movie ends with Loomis literally trying to shoot this child to death, screaming in terror and rage as he does so (he's overpowered before he can pull the trigger). It's one hell of an ending, and it packs a punch. Sadly, "Halloween 5" would ruin it, but if you want to, you can always pretend that movie doesn't even exist and stop at this sequel.

Franchise Mythology Revelation: Laurie Strode is dead, and she's left behind a daughter – Jamie. Also, both Michael and Dr. Loomis survived the fire of "Halloween II" with a few minor burns.

Best Scare: That jaw-dropping ending, where Jamie stabs her stepmom, is unnerving as hell, as is Loomis' horrified reaction.

Michael Myers Mask Rating: Bad. The mask looks incredibly cheap. I get it: Michael is returning for the first time in 10 years, and there's no way he'd find the same exact mask. But what he wears here is flimsy and disappointing.

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

"Halloween...the festival of Samhain! The last great one took place three thousand years ago, when the hills ran red with the blood of animals and children."

Having "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" rank so high on this list is bound to be controversial, but I stand by it. Alright, sure, you could argue that since Michael Myers isn't in this film, it's not really a Halloween sequel. But I don't want to hear it.

After "Halloween II," John Carpenter and Debra Hill hoped to turn the "Halloween" franchise into an anthology. Each subsequent sequel would tell a new story, set on Halloween. It was a great idea! Unfortunately, audiences didn't agree at the time. They wanted more Michael Myers. And they eventually got him and left "Halloween III" in the dust

Which is a damn shame, because "Halloween III" is fantastic. It's a unique, creepy horror film that makes great use of the spookiest of holidays. The film finds beer-swilling sex machine/doctor Tom Atkins mixed up in a plot involving killer Halloween masks. It's all part of a nefarious plan cooked up by crazy toymaker Conal Cochran (a wonderfully menacing Dan O'Herlihy). When kids wear masks manufactured from the Silver Shamrock corporation and sit down to watch a special broadcast of a flashing pumpkin, chaos will reign. Bugs, snakes, and other nasty s*** will come pouring out of the heads of children everywhere. Only Tom Atkins can stop them! But first, he has to have sex with the daughter of one of his patients.

If "Halloween III" had been called simply "Season of the Witch," or "Halloween Night," or "Killer Masks! The Movie!," it would be universally heralded as a great horror movie. Unfortunately, branding this a "Halloween" sequel hurt it.

Time has been kind to "Halloween III," though. In my experience, most horror fans have come to realize how unique this movie is, and how unjustly maligned it was back in 1982. I only wish Carpenter and Hill had been able to make their anthology idea a reality. Think of all the fun, weird Halloween-themed movies we could've had!

Franchise Mythology Revelation: Michael Who? This movie is about killer masks, baby! Forget all that other stuff.

Best Scare: Nothing beats the scene where we see one of the cursed masks in action, causing bugs, snakes, and other foul things to escape from the skull of a helpless child.

Michael Myers Mask Rating:  N/A

1. Halloween (1978)

"Death has come to your little town, Sheriff."

The original "Halloween" at number one? Wow, I bet you never saw that coming! In all seriousness, no matter how much time goes by, nothing can ever beat John Carpenter's lean, mean original. Carpenter takes a B-movie premise and works it into art – a terrifying tale of unstoppable evil.

Before Michael Myers became diluted and dumbed-down, he was the living embodiment of darkness. There's nothing human in this individual, and that's why he's so commonly known as The Shape. He stalks about in his featureless mask, murdering for no real reason. There's no motive, no logic. He just shows up in the darkness of a Halloween night, and takes the lives of clueless young people. Young people who have no idea why this is happening to them, and who is doing it.

Jamie Lee Curtis, in her first big-screen role, immediately proved she was a movie star. Her Laurie Strode is immediately likable – we care about her, and we want her to survive. When The Shape comes after her, we're terrified, because she seems so innocent, and so helpless. How can she possibly hope to stand up to the Boogeyman?

Through it all, Donald Pleasence steals the show as the somewhat crazed Dr. Loomis. Loomis is the only person who knows how dangerous Michael Myers is, and he might be the only one who can stop him. Or maybe not. Maybe nothing can stop him.

Employing point-of-view shots and making great use of shadow, Carpenter stages "Halloween" beautifully. This looks like an arthouse movie, even though it's about a masked serial killer bumping off horny teens.

Many films – "Halloween" sequels included – have attempted to emulate what Carpenter did here. But no one has ever come close. And no one likely ever will.

Franchise Mythology Revelation: You can't kill the boogeyman.

Best Scare: The entire movie, from beginning to end. John Carpenter knows what he's doing.

Michael Myers Mask Rating: This is the mask that started it all, so obviously it's the best. What was once a William Shatner Captain Kirk mask was transformed into a featureless skull-white visage with black pools for eyes. It's unbeatable.