As much as I encourage all horror fans to search out lesser known films during the Halloween season, I know most of us will be planning a Halloween marathon in the next week. Heck, I will be watching a few films in the iconic franchise myself.
For the record, these are my favorites: Halloween (1978), Halloween III: Season of the Witch, H20, Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills, Halloween Ends. I am also not adverse to watching parts IV and V on occasion.
That said, here is a handy streaming guide to help you find each of the 13 Halloween films. And remember, several of them will be featured as part of AMC FearFest, so you can also look up their schedule.
Halloween (1978) – The one and only original Michael Myers film, created by John Carpenter, will be running on any number of tv stations on October 30 and 31. However, if you want to watch it in all of its unedited, commercial-free glory, you can rent it on Amazon Prime, or watch it on Shudder.
It really is deserving of all its hype, with sympathetic characters, touches of humor, a terrifying villain and high tension, despite the lack of blood and gore present. In fact, it proves that you don’t necessarily need lots of gore to make a film scary and suspenseful.
Halloween II – Unfortunately, this sequel, set mostly in a hospital, amped up the bloodshed and didn’t really give us any new characters that we cared about. Fortunately, Jamie Leigh Curtis and Donald Pleasence returned as Laurie and Dr. Loomis, a wise decision on the part of the filmmakers.
Halloween II is available on Peacock, or can be rented on Amazon Prime.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Although it has developed a cult following over time, this sequel was not loved upon its release. Even though it was announced that Michael Myers was not going to be part of the story, viewers seemed surprised.
I encourage you to watch it (if you haven’t already) expecting it to be a standalone film, and not part of the Michael Myers story. It may not have Jamie Leigh Curtis, but it has some scary masks, a very catchy ear worm of a jingle and Tom Atkins!
You can rent this one on Prime, or stream it on Peacock.
Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers – Released 10 years after the original, the fourth film introduced little Jamie Lloyd, Laurie’s daughter. In this timeline, Laurie has died and her daughter is in foster care when Michael escapes the sanitarium to find her.
Danielle Harris deserves props for her performance as Jamie, especially since she was only 11 years old at the time. Although she (and her character) were erased from the Halloween timeline with the three most recent films, Harris was cast in both of Rob Zombie’s films, so there is that.
This film is available to rent on Amazon Prime, or can be streamed on Shudder.
Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers – A direct sequel to The Return of Michael Myers, this film was released only a year later. It was rushed into production by executive producer Moustapha Akkad, and it shows.
In this one, Jamie has been hospitalized after stabbing her foster mother, is prone to seizures, and seems to have some sort of psychic link with Uncle Michael. A confusing and half-hearted subplot involving a cult was hinted at, but mostly just caused confusion.
You can either rent The Revenge of MM on Amazon Prime, or stream it on Shudder.
The Curse of Michael Myers – Both Dr. Loomis and Jamie return for this sequel, although the latter is played by J.C. Brandy instead of Danielle Harris. The convoluted plot sees Jamie and her uncle taken from the Haddonfield PD by a strange man before jumping ahead six years.
Dr. Loomis is on the hunt again, Tommy Doyle returns, and we meet the dysfunctional Strode family members. It’s a very messy film, but if you are committed to watching all of the films in the franchise, I guess you have to watch it.
You can rent it on Amazon Prime, or stream it on AMC+.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later – I actually quite like this seventh film, which is obviously set 20 years after Michael came home the first time. Jamie disappears from the timeline, and Laurie is now alive, working as headmistress of a ritzy boarding school under an assumed name. Her teenage son John is a student at the school, and given the trauma she has undergone, we can understand why she is a bit overprotective of him.
Long story short: Michael shows up (of course) to terrorize John and his friends, Laurie and LL Cool J. Janet Leigh was also cast in this film, so that’s a nice homage.
You can rent this one on Amazon Prime.
Halloween: Resurrection – This sequel is half-hearted at best, although it did bring back Jamie Leigh Curtis as Laurie Strode. Although she was only onscreen for maybe ten-fifteen minutes, her appearance was the reason why I bought a ticket. Boy, was I mad!
After the opening sequence, the film jumps ahead a year, with a group of college students winning a competition to appear in Dangertainment, an internet reality show. The students are tasked with spending the night in the Myers house, and a lot of fake scares are set up for them by the show’s producers. But, I’ll bet you can guess who shows up unexpectedly.
Halloween: Resurrection is available to rent on Amazon Prime.
In 2007, Rob Zombie stepped into the Halloween franchise
Halloween (2007) – Welcome to the Rob Zombie version of Halloween! For this remake/origin story mashup, Zombie followed John Carpenter’s advice to make the film his own, and we were treated to a tweaked version of the original story, with amped up blood and violence.
We are given a peek into the early life of ten-year-old Michael Myers, as he murders a bully and his sister and her boyfriend, sparing only his baby sister “Boo” (Laurie). Young Michael is sent to a sanitarium, where his mother visits him regularly before her suicide. Years later, he escapes and goes after Laurie and her friends.
Halloween II (2009) – Rob Zombie’s sequel is even more violent than its predecessor, and picks up immediately after. Laurie, Annie and Dr. Loomis are transported to the hospital and Michael escapes the ambulance he is being transported in.
A year later, Laurie is living with the Brackets, Michael has become a psychotic drifter and Dr. Loomis has written a book about his experiences. Michael, guided by the ghost of his dead mother, returns to find his little sister Laurie, and the bloodshed begins.
Both of Rob Zombie’s films can be rented on Amazon Prime, or you can stream Halloween II on Peacock.
Halloween (2018) – Our queen Jamie Leigh Curtis returned for this sequel, set 40 years after the events of the original. Laurie is still in Haddonfield, bearing the scars of her trauma in the form of paranoia and heavy drinking.
In this version of the Halloween-verse, we are asked to ignore every other film in the franchise, other than the first one. It is written as a direct sequel to the 1978 film.
Say what you will about Laurie, she is prepared, with plenty of weapons and an amply fortified house. Her relationship with her daughter Karen is strained, but she is close with her granddaughter Allyson. Laurie’s extreme paranoia pays off in the end, because, yes, you guessed it – Michael Myers escapes from the psychiatric hospital during a bus transfer, and heads right back to Haddonfield.
You can watch the first film in the new trilogy as a rental on Amazon Prime.
Halloween Kills – David Gordon Green’s sequel picks up immediately following the events in his first film. As a result, most of Laurie’s scenes are set in the hospital, where she has been taken to be treated for the wounds she suffered. Also, obviously, Michael isn’t really dead.
What I liked most about this film was the way it leaned heavily into nostalgia. It even featured newly filmed scenes set in 1978, and they were very well done. A lot of the original characters came back, including Tommy and Lindsay, mere children in the first one.
The intense slaughter scene was a bit of a stretch as far as plausibility was concerned, but it’s still a pretty good sequel with a gut punch ending.
This one is available to stream on HBO Max.
Halloween Ends – Jamie Leigh Curtis returned for what she says will be her last film in the franchise, and thankfully, we see a lot more of her in this one. The tone is very serious, but since it deals with trauma and its after effects, that fits. Laurie is finally trying to move on from her obsession with Michael, and seems to be succeeding.
The most gut-wrenching storyline, however, belongs to Corey Cunningham, who is responsible for the accidental death of a little boy he is babysitting. Three years later, Corey is still dealing with the fallout from all of that, and is bullied and made fun of. When he meets Allyson (now living with her grandmother), sparks fly, and the two begin a nice little romance.
An encounter with Michael Myers changes Corey fundamentally, and Laurie, who at first approved of him, begins to distrust him. Things get pretty violent in this one, and as promised, Michael and Laurie end up battling to the death.
The final Halloween film (so far) can currently be streamed on Peacock or seen in theatres.
Do you watch ALL of the Halloween films in October? Tell us which are your favorites in the comments section.