Friday, October 31, 2014

Ranking the Halloween Series

Happy Halloween everyone! This is always the best time of the year. World Series baseball is wrapping up, the NFL season is in full swing and horror movies are running rampant. Oh how I wish October would never end. Scary movies were my introduction to film. At an early age I developed an obsession with feeling frightened thanks to classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. However, nothing quite left its mark like Michael Myers and the Halloween franchise. As a loyal fan and someone who has seen each film of the series, through the good times and the bad, I've decided to devote October's Movie List of the Month to ranking each Halloween film from best to worst (click here for September's List). I hope you enjoy.

#10. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Following an unforgettable hospital scene at the conclusion of the original Halloween II where Dr. Loomis blows the building to smithereens, the powers that be hoped to take the franchise in a new Michael Myers-less direction. The result was a horrendous tale of a Halloween mask-making company with evil plans of killing as many people as possible during the holiday. I mean seriously, what's a Halloween movie without Michael Myers?

#9. Halloween II (2009)

I was as upset as anyone at news that Rob Zombie was planning on re-inventing my beloved horror franchise. But in all fairness, I didn't hate his first installment (I did have my issues with it, though). However, when Zombie released his sequel in 2009, the finished product was absolutely terrible. Michael returns to Haddonfield to find his sister and the deadly slashing continues, but what was with all the imagery  and that white horse? Absolutely ridiculous and unforgivable on Rob Zombie's part.

#8. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

After decades of chasing his baby sister, Laurie Strode, in 2002's Halloween: Resurrection Michael Myers finally kills her off and then puts down his knife to return home for a peaceful retirement. Yet, upon his arrival back to Haddonfield he finds a reality television crew taping a haunted online episode in his home. Michael isn't too happy with this and once again goes on a murderous killing spree in the house he knows best. This 8th installment to the franchise ignored Myers' previously revealed curse and goes in its own direction, making it one of the weaker films in the series.

#7. Halloween 5 (1989)

Taking place only one year after the fourth film, Halloween 5 features Michael Myers quickly returning home to take care of his niece Jamie Lloyd (Laurie Strode's daughter who was later adopted) once and for all. Unlike any other movies in the franchise, Halloween 5 attempts to implement a small amount of comedy with its dopey police officer characters, like many other horror movies of the late 80s, but to no avail. The story takes a wild path with almost a telepathic connection between niece and murderous uncle, but Halloween 5 is still a decent watch.

#6. Halloween (2007)

In 2007 Rob Zombie completed a lifelong dream of bringing his own re-imagining of the beloved horror franchise to life. Zombie's goal was to show Michael Myers from a young age being the "perfect storm" of sorts, growing up with both internal and external forces that drive him to murdering his sister on Halloween night. While the film as a whole was solid and terrifying, Rob Zombie's Halloween was a huge deviation from John Carpenter's originally crafted tale. I never liked how Zombie felt the need to generate reasons for Michael's villainous origins. Sometimes it's just scarier to think that people are capable of such actions without any explanation at all.

#5. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Although you may have never known this, the 6th installment of the franchise starred a young Paul Rudd in one of his first feature films ever. Six years has passed since Halloween 5's cliffhanger conclusion that left audiences and fanboys scrambling to make sense of the finale. All those questions were answered in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers where the franchise labeled Michael Myers' desire to murder his family members as an ancient curse of Thorn marked by the symbol on his wrist. Despite a semi-ludicrous storyline, the film delivered enough legitimate scares and murder sequences to appease its loyal audiences.

#4. Halloween H20 (1998)

Paying homage to the franchise's origin and making some beaucoup bucks in the process, a 20 year anniversary film pitted Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode against her murderer brother once again. Halloween H20 also included performances from many young stars including Michelle Williams, Josh Hartnett and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (in a brief death scene). While Halloween: Resurrection was a laughable continuation with how it altered this film's intended ending, at the time H20 was a very strong addition to this classic horror franchise.

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

After a disappointing 3rd installment that alienated fans of the series. 1988 re-introduced the "Boogeyman" to audiences. As one of the strongest features in the franchise Halloween 4 watched Michael Myers return to Haddonfield to kill his niece, Jamie Lloyd. Unaware of the serial killer's presence in their small town, Myers disposes of almost the entire police department and forces the sheriff to safely board up Jamie and a bunch of others in his house. With just about no way in or out of the home, their safety is compromised since they unknowingly locked Michael inside with them. Overlooking a head-scratching finale that was initially intended to redirect the franchise yet again, Halloween 4 proves to be a fantastic scare-fest.

#2. Halloween II (1981)

Part of me feels that it's unfair to make a distinction between the two initial Halloween films. Being born in 1983 the first two features always felt like one long combined story. Seeing that the take place on the exact same night, Halloween II watches as its villain hunts Laurie Strode all the way to the hospital where she is being treated for her wounds. SPOILER ALERT: It's also this film where the audience finally discovers that Laurie is Michael's sister, a huge revelation to the story that ultimately sets up the entire franchise. Halloween II is a non-stop slasher pursuit bombarded with amazing kill scenes and an equally eerie tone as the original. 

#1. Halloween (1978)

Greatness can almost always be traced back to its origins, and the same logic applies to this iconic series of film. John Carpenter's Halloween set the slasher-movie bar and still remains as one of the most profitable features ever released ($300,000 budget and $47 million box office). We witness the transformation of a young six year-old boy into a murderer after brutally stabbing his sister to death with a kitchen knife. Then, after 15 years institutionalized by the courts, a 21 year-old Michael Myers returns to Haddonfield and terrorizes a local babysitting on Halloween night. Halloween changed the landscape of horror films and remains as a classic piece of cinema to this day. If you want to experience a spine-chilling birth of evil, than look no further than John Carpenter's Halloween

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