Last time I ranked the Halloween films before I re-watched them with the Slasherthon Revisited Crew. Before we start our next endeavor (more on that later) I thought I’d wrap up the last re-watch with a re-ranking!
What happened? Well, we not only made it every week for 11 weeks, we did the full 12 weeks by watching Halloween (1978) a second time and closing out the week before Halloween with Halloween (2018). Everyone had a blast. We turned out to be very interested in collecting data, which resulted in things like tracking how many pickled foods showed up in jars in each film (don’t ask) and how many animals died. One of our members turned the data into a lovely infographic at ampersand.m.studio. You can see the results in their original format here:
My pre-re-watch ranking:
- Halloween (1978)
- Halloween II (1981)
- Halloween (2018)
- Halloween III
- Halloween 4
- Halloween: Ressurection
- Halloween H20
- Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
- Halloween 5
- Halloween (2007)
Halloween II (2009) was in limbo because I’d never seen it.
So how did this most recent watch affect my rankings?
- Halloween (1978): Watching the first nine sequels, then going back to Halloween really drove home how different Halloween is from ALL of the sequels. It’s measured, it’s about the characters of Laurie Strode and Dr. Loomis and they confront an unknowable, unstoppable evil. One is a bookish “girl scout” teen babysitter who has no idea what’s coming for her. The other is a desperate but dedicated professional who knows only too well what is coming, and has tried to contain the evil for years. The movie stands out because everything is as carefully constructed as the meager budget and short shooting schedule allowed, because it has a great script, and because of a trick that could only be pulled once. Loomis and Strode confront unstoppable evil. The trick is that evil is in the guise of a mute man in a Halloween mask with a knife. All of Loomis’s protestations and warnings and Tommy Doyle’s simple childhood fears of the “boogeyman” turn out to be true. It’s simple and but it works and no sequel can live up to it. My compatriots advised the viewer to see only Halloween (1978) and Halloween (2018. I would suggest anyone who hasn’t seen any of the films to watch only this, the greatest one, and move on.
- Halloween II (1981)/Halloween (2018) tie: Last time I said “this is the only sequel with the original creative team and cast in place we’ll ever get.” It’s still true. No sequel is ever going to have the same level of “match” to the original film. Is it good? Even in retrospect, knowing how dumb the “she’s his sister” twist is (did Carpenter watch Empire the week he wrote it?) and how bad the infusion of half-assed “Celtic” mythology served the series, I still enjoy seeing this. Halloween (2018) is, for most of the crew (and for most sane people) the better movie. Curtis is engaged and Strode is now the Loomis. There’s a great moment in the finale and the past of the series is carefully and respectfully woven into the film without overpowering the film. Why don’t I rank it over Halloween II? A big reason is I have deep reservations about the planned sequels. Will they work? Will this look like the start of a great trilogy, or just another dead end?
- Halloween H20: A huge surprise for me this time around was how much I enjoyed H20. Are there issues? Yes! It’s a Halloween sequel, but this time around I enjoyed that Jamie Lee returned and the series was trying again more than I was annoyed by the flaws.
- Halloween III: Season of the Witch: Completely unrelated to the others except by sharing filmmakers, this is often the favorite of Contrary Internetarians and horror fans who hate slasher movies. My answer is that it’s not very good even if it’s better than many of the sequels.
- Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers: Maybe it was finally seeing a restored version of the Producer’s Cut, maybe I just like Paul Rudd that much. This is not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination but it was surprisingly fun and a welcome break after the weak rehash of 4 and the weird turns taken in 5.
- Halloween 4: Look this is simply not good. If no one made 4-6 all that would have happened is that H20 would be stronger. While I retain a weird affection for 4 as it was the first Halloween movie I watched start to finish, that’s my problem-not yours. Stop watching.
- Halloween 5: The make up is better than in 4. Donald Pleasance isn’t as close to death as he was in 6. The cinematography is better than 4 and Danielle Harris’s acting is good. Don’t watch these.
- Halloween: Ressurection: More BIPOC than any sequel up until this point; Busta Rhymes is likable; the film should have been about the culinary student dueling Michael Myers with knives. I might put it over 4 and 5 if it didn’t treat Laurie Strode so poorly or if they had actually made a sequel to it where Josh Hartnett hunted Myers for revenge.
- Halloween II (2009): I dreaded watching this because the Crew took Halloween (2007) badly (possibly because we were watching the nastier Director’s Cut). Rob Zombie is who he is, but if you ‘re the kind of person who likes Rob’s work, I think this one may play better as it’s more “his” and less Carpenter’s and his producers, who apparently meddled quite a bit in 2007. For me, the fact that it’s not a remake of any of the others puts it over Zombie’s first effort, but these are movies that were not made or me in any way.
- Halloween (2007): I would rather watch any other Halloween movie than a Rob Zombie one as both films are full of mean, unlikeable people doing horrible things to each other in the most squalid environment possible, but at least the 2009 movie doesn’t add insult to injury by imaging a film I love as it is in the sad mirror world of Rob Zombie’s psyche. Halloween (2007) is the clown room in a funhouse where 2000s nu-metal is playing and everything is covered in sticky stage blood. Clown rooms scare a lot of people but they just aren’t for me.
Join us next time when I rank the Friday the 13th movies in preparation for the Slasherthon Revisited Crew’s re-watch of the Friday the 13th series. One movie a month starting…today and going once a month through August 13th, 2021.