Ranking the 'Halloween' Franchise from Worst to Best
This week, Halloween brings Michael Myers back to the big screen, with great results. But how does the new Halloween stack up to the rest of the franchise? Our Halloween ranking examines the franchise as a whole, in which Michael Myers faces off against Laurie Strode, Dr. Loomis and more. Which film still holds up, and which deserves to be tossed out with last year’s rotten Jack-o’-lantern? Let’s find out.
11. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
“Trick or treat, motherfucker!”
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 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, motherfucker!” as he drop kicks 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 body builder 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!
10. 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 batshit 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 want 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 this The Curse of Michael Myers is, the mask looks fairly good here, and somewhat close to the original.
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 the keep the momentum going? Absolutely not. Instead, they shit 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 as a potential victim showers 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 is a Wall Street investment banker, 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.
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