Note: This Collider original feature was originally published at a prior date, but has been updated to include 2018’s Halloween.
When John Carpenter set about making a little low-budget horror film called Halloween in 1977, it was impossible for him to know that he was also creating the foundation for a horror franchise that would span the next three decades. Indeed, against a budget of just $300,000, Halloween would take audiences by storm to the tune of $70 million worldwide, making it an insanely profitable venture. As Hollywood is wont to do, the desire for a sequel came calling and never let up. The myth of Michael Myers was built, broken down, twisted, ruined (a couple of times), and rebuilt again over the next 30 years. Carpenter would only remain tenuously involved in the first two sequels, but his legacy lived on as subsequent filmmakers tried to capture what made Halloween so special in the first place.
Indeed, Halloween was immeasurably influential to the slasher genre as a whole. Coming on the heels of another low-budget horror pic, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween’s success would give birth to other long-running franchises like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. They would continue on parallel tracks, each with sequels that varied wildly in quality, but Halloween remained that “Godfather” of the slasher franchise—the one that started it all.
So it feels prudent to take a look back at the Halloween franchise in full, ranking each entry from worst to best. I’ll be honest, some of the Halloween sequels are quite poor, but there’s certainly merit to be found in the pure breadth of the franchise and its willingness to reinvent itself over and over again.