For exactly 40 years, movie audiences have been thrilled and terrified by masked serial killer Michael Myers in the Halloween film franchise. Directed and co-written by fan-favorite filmmaker John Carpenter, the original 1978 film brought slasher movies irrevocably into the Hollywood mainstream, gave the subgenre one of its most iconic killers, and launched the career of definitive scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis.
With a new film in the longrunning series poised to return audiences to Haddonfield for a final showdown between Curtis’ Laurie Strode and Myers, here is a comprehensive ranking of all eleven films in the slasher franchise including its attempts to distance itself from Myers in 1982, a soft reboot in 1998, the Rob Zombie reboot in 2007, and this year’s latest installment. The ranking system averages the scores between review aggregate sites Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, while providing the audience score as well. The audience score doesn’t affect the average but does provide a comparison to see how professional critics regarded the films apart from the general public.
Let’s begin with the worst rated installment in the entire franchise:
11. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers – Average Score: 8
The sixth entry of the Halloween franchise closed out the Cult of Thorn trilogy that began with Halloween 4, as Michael Myers turned his attention to remnants of the Strode family that moved into his childhood home in Haddonfield and an adult Tommy Doyle (played by a young Paul Rudd) while original film star Donald Pleasence reprised his role as Dr. Sam Loomis posthumously, as he died before the film’s release. Directed Joe Chappelle, there two versions of the film are available to the public, the theatrical cut released in 1995 and a producer’s cut of the film that was screened for test audiences months ahead of the wide release that led to extensive reshoots.
Contemporary reviews labeled the film the worst in the entire franchise, and its reputation didn’t improve in the years that followed. “By far the worst in the series, is bland and deadening,” declared Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle with Daniel M. Kimmel of Variety offering a slightly softer criticism noting that the entry was a “Run-of-the-mill horror item is notable only for final appearance of the late Donald Pleasance.” The film has a critics’ score of 6% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 10.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers currently holds an audience score of 38% on Rotten Tomatoes.
10. Halloween: Resurrection – Average Score: 15.5
The eighth installment in the slasher franchise, and the direct sequel to 1998’s Halloween H20, 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection marked the return of director Rick Rosenthal, who had previously directed Halloween II. After a prologue featuring the brief return of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, the sequel follows Michael Myers as he returns to his childhood home to discover it is the subject of a web-broadcast reality series and begins hunting the contestants.
Featuring found footage-style cinematography interspersed throughout the film, shot from the characters’ various body cameras, the sequel attempted to make the franchise relevant with its reality show premise, more hip-hop oriented soundtrack, and a laughably climactic fistfight between Michael Myers and Busta Rhymes. As you might expect, the film failed to connect with audiences and critics upon its initial release. “There’s no evidence of craftsmanship or energy. Everything, from the plot to the execution, is plodding and obligatory,” wrote James Berardinelli for ReelViews while Lou Lumenick from the New York Post observed that “it’s so devoid of joy and energy it makes even [Friday the 13th sequel] Jason X … look positively Shakesperean by comparison”. The film has a critics’ score of 12% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 19.
Halloween: Resurrection currently holds an audience score of 26% on Rotten Tomatoes.
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