It just wouldn’t be Halloween without Michael Myers. Ever since John Carpenter’s silent killer stalked Laurie Strode and her friends in 1978’s “Halloween,” the indestructible boogeyman has resurrected for 12 of the series’ 13 films, slashing his way through Haddonfield, Illinois decade after decade. Carpenter’s pulsing synthesizer and ominous piano notes are instantly recognizable, a soundtrack for the holiday and a warning for anyone who hears it: Beware of the Boogeyman.
Not every “Halloween” film is great (or even good), but over the years the franchise has continued to grow and mutate as audiences and studio execs demanded the iconic killer come back from impossible odds. To be sure, there was always a touch of the supernatural to Carpenter’s original film; Michael was never really quite human. But as the mythos of Michael Myers expanded, it pulled in strange psychic links, ancient Druid curses, and pit new family members against the mysterious force of The Shape.
In “Halloween” (2018) and its immediate sequel “Halloween Kills,” moviegoers watched helplessly as Jamie Lee Curtis’ resurrected Laurie, now firmly in her third timeline, tried and — spoiler alert — failed to save her daughter Karen (a perfectly cast Judy Greer) while battling alongside her granddaughter Allyson (an increasingly impressive Andi Matichak).
Perhaps it’s because horror fans knew there was another “Halloween” in the works that the middle film in director David Gordon Green’s largely triumphant trilogy underwhelmed critics. “Halloween Ends” sports the opposite problem, attacking audiences with an overwhelming story that’s part franchise revisitation, part meditation on grief, and decidedly bonkers through and through.
“Once ‘Halloween Ends’ sets out to end, or at least re-contextualize, this horrifying legacy, it does not stop,” writes IndieWire’s Kate Erbland in her review. “Longtime franchise fans and newcomers alike will thrill to uncover the inventive, revolting kills that Green and company unspool during the film’s final act, along with a series of clever twists that bring truly fresh blood to this somehow still-chugging franchise. Even more impactful are the choices that Green makes around the film’s mid-point, as he takes the idea that Michael Myers long ago transcended his own name and became something else entirely.”
“Halloween Ends” is now in theaters and streaming on Peacock (with premium). Rounding out Seven Days of Scream Queens, IndieWire celebrates Jamie Lee Curtis with a look back at the “Halloween” franchise’s highs and lows to this point. From worst to best, here are all 13 “Halloween” movies, including “Halloween Ends,” ranked.
With contributions from IndieWire’s 2018 “Halloween” ranking by Jamie Righetti.