For October this year I wanted to catch up on some of the horror classics that I’ve not gotten around to seeing before. I’ve seen some of the Halloween films, but not all of them. This year I’ve sat down and watched every single Halloween film, from the 1978 classic right up to Halloween Kills. Here’s my initial impressions of each one. I’ve also ranked them at the bottom of the post.
I’ve seen this film quite a few times. It’s an iconic classic from the shocking opening sequence to Carpenter’s score to the unrelenting monster that is Michael Myers. The film is very tame for today’s standards, but it is still a masterclass of pure tension and creeping horror. It’s one of the best horror films of all time and will always keep that title. This time around I ended up watching it with headphones on, and it really highlighted just how great Carpenter’s score is. It’s one of cinema’s greatest. John Carpenter and Debra Hill created something truly timeless with the original Halloween.
Halloween II (1981)
Picking up exactly where the original one left off is the sequel that John Carpenter and Debra Hill didn’t want to make. There were no plans for a Halloween II, but after such a success it was inevitable. I know that Carpenter has said many times that he thinks very little of this one, but I still think it’s a great film. It’s not as good as number one, but it still has some great moments. The twist about the link between Laurie and Michael is great and I think it’s a shame that it wasn’t kept for the 2018 reboot. Carpenter’s score is excellent here. The best thing about it is that if you watch 1 and 2 back to back, they feel like one long film. They blend together perfectly.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
John Carpenter and Debra Hill wanted to turn Halloween into an anthology series, with each release being a stand-alone film focused on a completely different and unrelated story to anything that came before. The idea was short-lived as Halloween III was critically panned and didn’t do well at the box-office. I hadn’t seen this one before, being put off by the general criticisms the film has received. I am glad I’ve watched it now because I actually really enjoyed it. It’s a fun, strange and entertaining film that feels closer to The Stuff than it does Halloween. It has some gruesome deaths and great characters. I’m not convinced by the relationship between Dan and Ellie, but I can get over it. Carpenter’s score is subtler here than it was in the previous films and is truly excellent.
In recent years this one has been reappraised with a lot of people claiming it is one of the better films in the series. I feel like the reason for that is people who grew up a long time after the film released, like me, have been told for years by family members, online forums and the general legacy the film holds that it’s not worth watching, so when people do watch it now they’re prepared for it to be unrelated and can enjoy it for what it is. I think this film would have done a lot better if it wasn’t called Halloween and I’m glad it exists, I will re-watch this again.
Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers
I hadn’t gotten around to the Jamie Lloyd films mainly because John Carpenter wasn’t involved and I’d heard bad things. I really enjoyed it though. It’s not scary or tense and it doesn’t live up to the first one, but I did have a good time. There are some moments that are laughable, but in a good way. The story isn’t anything too original or out of the box, it’s a standard slasher film. Michael Myers is a full blown monster at this point. He seems to have recovered his sight after being shot in both eyes. The ending is amazing. I didn’t see it coming and it honestly sent chills down my spine when the reveal happened. Can’t wait to watch Halloween V now.
Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers
I’m quite disappointed with this one. It felt like the set up in IV was great and they didn’t know how to follow it up. A wasted opportunity. This one is the funniest one by far, with the goofy cops and their music. Rachel died way to early on. I love the idea that Michael was nursed back to health by some random guy in the wilderness. The ending is interesting, but I have low hopes for number VI after this one.
Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers
This one was made one year before the first Scream, and somehow looks about ten years earlier. It shouts cheap production. The whole thing has gone of the rails now, in a crazy good way. There’s a cult that’s behind everything. Paul Rudd kills Myers. It’s a crazy, but entertaining story and there are so many great unintentional funny moments. There’s one moment where a group of school kids are sitting outside the school with one of the worst rock songs I’ve ever heard in the background. It’s just a basic guitar riff played over and over. It’s so bad it’s funny, but the film is enjoyable, and I do like the crazy cult sub-plot. I kinda wish they had kept this up.
The seventh film was going to revolve around Paul Rudd’s character, Tommy, going back to Haddonfield and finding out that everyone in the town was involved with it. That’s something we will never get to see now, but it would have been off-the-rails crazy if it had been made. There is also an alternative version of the film, named The Producer’s Cut. It’s not available in the UK, as far as I can tell, so I’ll have to wait to see it. Maybe they will release 4K editions next year, following the ones for this year and I can import it.
I was looking forward to this one, with Jamie Lee Curtis back in the lead role. I was quite disappointed. It’s a generic slasher film, that doesn’t really do anything that great. I don’t understand why they retconned the previous 3 films if Laurie had faked her death. Why didn’t they write it in that she left her daughter to be looked after by someone else, due to her paranoia. It wouldn’t have changed the film at all, just a nice touch to the long-time fans who liked the previous films. Michael is really goofy in this one, his mask looks off and there’s just something about the way he moves that isn’t right. Chris Durand isn’t a good Michael Myers. Overall, it’s bland and a standard slasher film. The music is also dreadful it sounds like the score to a children’s film.
This one is a bit of a mess. The way Michael survived H2O was just stupid. Then the film can’t decide whether it wants to be funny or scary, but it’s not doing either. It was enjoyable, but not the best. I really like the idea of the people at the party watching the live stream of everyone in the Myers house. It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t think it was used to its full potential. The mask looks off and goofy in this one again. It’s a poor film overall, but it’s still not the worst thing I’ve ever sat through.
Rob Zombie’s remake is more focused on building Michael Myers as a character. The first hour of the film is just back story and showing the events leading up to killing his sister and then his time in the hospital before escaping. I enjoyed the first hour, but the second half didn’t work for me. There’s not enough time with Laurie for the horror to really kick in and the teenagers don’t feel natural. They’re borderline annoying all the way through. The effects are good and there are some good kills, but it’s not a patch on the original. I think it would have been better to extend the first hour to a whole film and make it a prequel to the original.
Halloween II (2009)
This film is a bit of a mess compared to the previous Zombie film. Most of the action bits are too dark to really make anything about and the first twenty minutes are mostly a dream, that homages the original Halloween 2. It’s a bit of cheap move and then when the film starts there’s nothing really to it. Myers kills a few people, but it’s not scary in any way. The special effects on the surgery sequence at the beginning is great, but it’s all downhill from there. The shared dreams between Laurie and Michael are dumb, the music is missing the original theme, it’s really dull. I liked Loomis being a rockstar style author who just gets trashed everywhere he goes. There’s no real point for him to be in the film, but his subplot is more interesting than the main plot. I’m glad they ditched this remake series at this point.
I remember this film being announced and being very excited for it, then it was released, and I didn’t get to see it until it was released on DVD. When I finally got around to seeing it, I really enjoyed it. It’s a great sequel to the original. I like the podcast people investigating Myers. The kills are brutal and the new characters are great. My only issue is I think Laurie is overkill. In this universe only the first film exists, so Michael has killed 4 people, including his sister. Why is she so convinced that he is coming after her? It makes more sense in H20, because the 2nd film exists, so she is his sister and killed more people. In this one, there’s no connection, it’s just paranoia. He’s been in prison for 40 years. I also like the nod towards Halloween 3 in it with the kids wearing the masks from Silver Shamrock.
What a mess of a film. I was really looking forward to this one, but it just feels so directionless and pointless. The killings are entertaining, but that’s about it. It’s not that unhinged, Jamie Lee Curtis is underused and it’s filled with new characters as well as classic characters that only exist to add to Myer’s body count. This is a dreadful follow-up to the 2018 film and it’s killed all my hopes for Halloween Ends. It’s so bad that it makes me feel like the 2018 sequel wasn’t worth it. The whole thing is coated in nostalgia that is just overdone. The titles at the beginning, the returning characters and the extended flashback. It’s just remember this film you liked? Well it’s been almost 45 years and we haven’t been able to come up with a new idea so here it is again. The title is also stupid, as is Halloween Ends, but we all knew that before seeing it.
From worst to best my rankings go:
Halloween 2 (2009)
Halloween 2 (1981)
I think this post has gone on long enough, so won’t go into detail about why I’ve ranked them in that order. If you’ve got your own list or favourites, even if you haven’t seen them all, let me know in the comments. I’ll be interested to see your thoughts.
Thanks for reading and until next time,
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