Throughout this article we will be going through the entire Halloween timeline and what order to watch the film in.
There will be heavy spoilers here so if you aren’t fully up to date with the latest adventures of Michael Myers then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
With that out the way I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this, now let’s get into our breakdown of the entire timeline of The Halloween Franchise.
1. Halloween 1978
Our journey begins on a cold Halloween night in 1963 when a young Michael Myers murders his sister. Flash forward a couple of years and we join Laurie Strode on Halloween 1978, where she is hunted by a now-adult Myers who has returned to the town on a killing spree.
Out of all the retcons, timeline changes and redos, one thing has remained consistent, the events of this film and even in the modern modern do-over, this still remains a constant. It’s easy to see why too, the film is a stone-cold classic and still stands as one of the best horror films ever made.
It pretty much lays the signature moves of the series with Myers being portrayed as an invincible shadow that you need to keep an eye on at all times. This film made a star of Jamie Lee Curtis and began the trend in horror films of ‘The Final Girl’ that is still an aesthetic today that many movies call back to. Though she survives the events of the evening this time around, that doesn’t mean she’s away scott-free and as we go into our next film we see how the events of the night still had a lot more in store.
2. Halloween 2
Halloween 2 made the bold move to pick up DURING the ending of Halloween… with a one-take from the perspective of THE SHAPE.
He recollects his signature weapon from the Elrod’s home before quickly making his way next-door to remind us what we’re dealing with by murdering another teenager.
Laurie is taken to the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital to recover from the night she thinks is over while Dr. Loomis and Sheriff Brackett try to find Michael. They get sidetracked after mistaking Ben Tramer for Michael, but we get this incredible moment out of it so it’s all good.
Michael makes it to the hospital where he gets to work sabotaging the cars in the parking lot and cutting the phone lines. After that he makes his way through the hospital looking for Laurie, killing everyone in his path.
Loomis heads to the Haddonfield Elementary School and discovers that Michael’s inability to die comes from the idea of Samhain, or the Celtic season that would one day become Halloween. Just as he realizes it was a diversion to get him off of Michael’s trail, Marion Chambers tells him he’s officially off the case and that he’ll be escorted back to Smith’s Grove by a U.S. Marshall.
On their way back to Smith’s Grove, Marion tells Loomis that Laurie is actually Michael’s sister so Loomis forces her to turn around and head to the hospital. Everything comes to a head there when Loomis shoots both of Michael’s eyes out before shooting a can of explosive gas that engulfs both him and Michael in flames.
As far as Halloween sequels go, this one is still held up by most fans as the best one. it’s written by John Carpenter, directed by his friend Rick Rosenthall and it carries the same aesthetic of the first movie which makes them feel like one complete story.
Personally, I hate the sister storyline and the change in Michael’s overall look is annoying but I still love nearly everything else about this movie and I watch it every year right after the original of course.
3. Halloween 3: The Season Of The Witch
Halloween 3: The Season Of The Witch is by far the weirdest film in the franchise with it pretty much possessing absolutely none of the traits that we expect from the series. There’s no Michael Myers, No Laurie Strode, and no Haddonfield. It’s a strange move and naturally, audience members were put off by the film due to it not possessing any elements of the franchise that people were interested in.
This was an attempt by the studio to turn the Halloween series into an anthology series with each following film taking place around the holiday. Season Of The Witch is pretty much a melding of the festivities of Halloween and ancient folklore mixed with technology and it centers around a company known as Silver Shamrock that have embedded microchips into their new range of masks that if worn when a special commercial plays it’ll melt the wearers head.
It’s…yeah…pretty out there and if you’re looking for stuff to skip for a more streamlined view of the series then I definitely recommend that you give this a miss.
4. Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers
When the anthology idea didn’t work out for Halloween 3, Moustapha Akkad decided that the only way to push forward was to bring back Michael Myers. The problem was, he had a pretty definitive death at the end of Halloween 2.
Instead of coming up with a pagan resurrection scene or anything wildly supernatural, the writers went with the idea that the explosion caused by Loomis was exaggerated and instead of killing the both of them in a literal blaze of glory, Michael went into a coma and Loomis got a burn or two on his face.
On October 30th, 1988 Michael is being transported back to Smith’s Grove when he is awakened by two paramedics chatting about how his sister Laurie died in a car crash but left behind a daughter named Jamie Lloyd.
Michael escapes and reconstructs his costume of overalls, boots and one of the worst masks the series has to offer. The commotion he cusses brings Loomis back to town and he spends the rest of the movie hunting Michael while trying to protect Jamie and her sister Rachel.
It turns into a sort of siege movie like Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 for a scene where Michael catches up with them at the new sheriff’s house where he kills the sheriff’s daughter by stabbing her with a gun. He kills everyone else in the house and knocks Rachel off the roof.
Loomis takes Jamie to a school where Rachel eventually meets up with them after she wakes up, and some local rednecks offer to drive them to the next town over. On the way, it turns out that Michael latched onto the truck but after Rachel knocks him into a ditch, the state police show up and unload a small militia’s worth of bullets into him.
Halloween 4 ends with a POV shot of Jamie stabbing her adoptive mom which seems to imply that she will be the new Michael Myers… Even though it’s messy and the mask looks terrible, Halloween 4 was the shot in the arm the series needed. It didn’t have any trouble making its money back so a sequel was quickly thrown together for release the following year.
5. Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers
And throw it together they did. The revenge of Michael Myers, which should pretty much be the subtitle of every film, follows the characters from the prior movie as they deal with the consequences of that. Michael is found by a hermit and nursed back to health and as a thank you, he kills them, Jamie has been admitted to hospital and somehow develops a psychic link with Michael which…yeah is kinda when the series starts to jump the shark a bit.
She tries to convince people that Michael is still alive but naturally they do the ‘you’re crazy’ before realising that she’s telling the truth and everyone’s favourite emotionless, zero banter having killer comes back to town.
Michael lays siege to the cast of characters and we get an awesome return of Doctor Loomis who uses Jamie as bait to lure her uncle out. There’s even a moment where the murderous mute sheds a tear, Loomis has a stroke….of good luck and survives once more and it all ends with the mysterious Man In Black, no Will Smith, who shows up to kidnap Jamie and free Michael which segways into the next film.
6. Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers
Halloween 6 is where the series really started to go off the rails. It came out a full six years after Halloween 5, and despite being a direct follow up to it, it’s visual identity and tone are so different that it doesn’t feel connected at all.
After the events of Halloween 5, Jamie and Michael are taken by the Man in Black who randomly shows up throughout its story. It turns out he’s the leader of a pagan cult who has Jamie impregnated. Oh and while the movie never comes out and says it, but its heavily implied that the baby’s father is Michael Myers which is kind of bizarre.
She escapes with her baby and after she calls into a radio show to beg for help, she hides him at a bus stop before being killed by Michael. Thankfully a now-retired Doctor Loomis hears her so he heads out to Haddonfield to kill Michael… again.
Things get majorly complicated from there with Laurie’s relatives living in the Myers house, Tommy Doyle coming back and being played by Paul Rudd and a totally bizarre third act.
The weirdest thing about Halloween 6 is that it has two different cuts which are slightly different from each other. The theatrical cut ends with Tommy beating the shit out of Michael with a pipe and Loomis theoretically dying off-screen and the Producer’s cut ends with Tommy putting a circle of rocks around Michael which stops him dead in his tracks.
There’s a weird twist involving Dr. Wynn switching places with Michael so he can escape but this time we find out that Loomis’ scream is due to him growing a thorn tattoo and realizing he’s cursed to take care of Michael for the rest of his life.
No matter which version you watch, Halloween 6 is a complete mess and it’s a total bummer that it’s the last time we ever saw Donald Pleasence on screen. Still, it has a good sense of fall atmosphere and both versions have their fair share of quality kills.
7: Halloween: H20: 20 Years Later
Up next is Halloween H20 which completely WASHED most of the timeline making it so that the only two films that ever happened were Halloween and Halloween 2. The creators at this point got IN TOO DEEP with all the unneeded mythology and it was time to WAVE it goodbye….sorry for the bad puns, I always remember them having a weird allusion to water in the title even though it has absolutely nothing to do with it and couldn’t resist.
Anyway, what the title does mean is that this is 20 years since the first film so we had to come up with some crappy wordplay that doesn’t really work but sounds cool. Now, the film itself isn’t all that bad and whilst it definitely suffers from trying to adopt some of the tropes from the new wave of slasher horrors that were on the rise in the 90s, most notably Scream, it’s still a fun ride that’s a great time capsule of the time.
Back when this was made you couldn’t just block people on social media so we learn that Laurie, in fact, faked her death to avoid Michael and she now works as a headmistress of a boarding school and has a son named John played by Josh Hartnett.
As per the reboots in the franchise, Laurie is worried that Michael will return and not one to miss out on using his only Halloween costume for the 70th time he pops up to do some killing.
It’s what you’ve come to expect but the film takes a sharp turn at the end when Laurie kidnaps Michaels body from the Coroner’s Van, traps him and cuts his head off with an axe, killing him outright forever, he’s never coming back, nuh-uh, no way there’s no way he can now, he’s got no head, he’s got absolutely no head anymore…there’s no way right?
8. Halloween: Resurrection
Remember when I said that Halloween 6 wasn’t the worst movie in the series? That honor goes to Halloween Resurrection. Instead of setting trends for the slasher genre to follow, Halloween Resurrection was content being an over-produced mix of The Blair Witch Project and Scream.
It starts with retconning the awesome ending of H2O and finally putting Laurie Strode to rest on screen (by doing a laughable body swap). After that, the plot jumps ahead three years and introduces us to two TV producers played by Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks.
They hire a group of archetypal college kids to star in a Halloween night Twitch broadcast in the Myers house. Of course, Michael shows up and starts murdering the contestants and it just gets more ridiculous from there.
Halloween Resurrection ends with Busta Rhymes beating Michael to death and leaving him to burn once again. At this point, the series was starting to feel really tired so it went into hiding for a few years before coming back again thanks to Rob Zombie.
The Halloween remake has Rob Zombie’s style all over it from the very first scene, with Michael getting pretty much a fully fleshed out back story that showcases what things were like before he decided to become a mass murderer.
Though the plot is pretty similar to the 1978 original, it expands on the lore by showing Michael’s childhood is full of bullies, an abusive stepdad and a haircut that would make Curt Cobain jealous. This pretty much shows EVERYTHING, his school life, relationship with others and pretty much all of the treatment that he goes through in the asylum. Those that like the mystery of Michael will probably find a bit too much information but audience members that want to know more will lap this up.
There’s a real, for lack of a better word, dirtiness to the film and even dignified characters like Dr. Loomis have a certain edge to them. He gets a far more expanded role and is played brilliantly by Malcolm Mcdowell who examines the true heart of the character.
Rather than painting Michael out as the Boogeyman, this movie tries to understand what made him the way that he is and it’s a real psychological study of what makes someone commit evil acts. He kills animals, stalks people and lashes out at those that have wronged him in order to get revenge and as far as characterisation goes, this is the deepest look into the character’s mind that we’ve ever had.
However, the film is still beholden to the tropes that made the series what it is and there’s ultimately a lot of rehashing of the iconography of the first film. The score from the first film is reused and In the end this boils down to a battle between Laurie and Michael on Halloween night. A couple of teens die, people run and fall over, you know the gist by now but the style of the film really elevates this film.
If you’re looking for an entry point to the franchise, this might be worth picking over the original but in terms of those who love that first film, I don’t think this will measure up for you.
10. Halloween 2
Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 is definitely an interesting movie. The problem is it isn’t really a Halloween movie.
A year after the events of the first movie, Laurie is living with the Brackets and she’s a completely different person. She’s in therapy and she’s gone from the good girl we saw in Halloween to a trashy goth who works in a record store.
Dr. Loomis is also completely different in this movie. He uses the killing spree from the first movie as a jumping-off point for his career and he writes another book all about Michael.
Michael decides to be a homeless person but since Rob Zombie NEEDS his wife to be a major character in every movie, her ghost essentially becomes the Mrs. Voorhees to Michael’s Jason and he heads back to Haddonfield to finish what he started.
There are some good kills in this movie, but since Michael has a motivation he’s not really the absence of character he’s supposed to be. On top of that, by the end of the movie half his mask is missing so it’s hard to see him as The Shape from that point forward.
I like that it explores the trauma that the events of the first movie inflict upon Laurie and the Director’s Cut definitely fills in a lot of the frustrating gaps but overall it’s a disappointing entry in the series that we probably have to thank for the excellent reboot sequel that came out last year.
Halloween 2018 was a big shot in the arm for the franchise and whilst I don’t think that it necessarily knocks it out of the park, it at least puts the building blocks in place that allow for some course-correcting in the franchise.
This film completely wipes all of the events that happened prior outside of the first film and states that Michael was later captured after the events of the 1978 original and placed in an insane asylum where he was studied.
Laurie Strode, aware that he will one day get out has spent 40 years preparing for his return and has had several failed marriages and fallouts with her child and grandchild because of her obsession with the killer. However, It turns out to be warranted when Michael returns and Halloween brilliantly retreads several similar circumstances that we saw play out in the first film but with the roles flipped.
This movie has one of the best one-shot takes in it that I’ve ever seen and there’s a real return to form here with film delivering one of the best arcs in the entire series. Halloween is a great movie and if we had to reboot the entire universe just to get this then it certainly feels worth it.
12. Halloween Kills
Halloween Kills is the upcoming direct sequel to Halloween 2018. We don’t know a whole lot about it just yet, but thanks to some pictures that have been released from the set, we know it’ll at least start at the end of Halloween 2018 with Laurie being taken to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital which is a pretty major nod to Halloween 2.
Based on the ending of Halloween 2018, it’ll be interesting to see HOW Michael Myers managed to survive, but this time going on a murder spree is going to be even tougher for him since Tommy Doyle, Sherriff Bracket, Lindsey Wallace and Marion Crane are all coming back as adults.
It’s safe to say he’ll make it out of this one too since a direct sequel called Halloween Ends has also been announced to release in 2021.
And that’s everything you need to know about the Halloween timeline. Make sure you let us know below which ones are your favourites and drop a comment if you’re excited for the future films.