Just finished watching the Complete Collection (Limited Deluxe Edition) of all the Halloween films to date, and all the special features and commentaries. I have to say this is one the best box set experiences I’ve ever had.
While I’ve of course seen all of the movies many times over and over through the years via VHS and DVD, I’ve never seen all the movies in such high detail and clarity of sound through my HD TV with surround sound as I have just now through Blu-ray.
So, while having just viewed all the films and it’s fresh in my mind, I wanted to breakdown just what I thought of them, from worst to best.
(8th Film Released in Series — 2002)
This is the only film in the entire franchise that I absolutely hate. Only as a completest did I sit through this cringe-worthy film. From the reality TV spin, to the stupidest looking Myers mask in any of the films, to the whole rapper being inserted into the film to appeal to black audiences cliche, this film was doomed.
Now, I have nothing against black actors in horror films of course, I have no issue with Sean Patrick Thomas in his role because he’s actually an actor who had to audition for a role. I just find it annoying when the studios purposefully place rappers in these films to appeal to younger and black audiences regardless of what’s best for the film or the merit of the actor.
In one of the interviews, I believe it was producer Malek Akkad, even admitted, and regrettably so, it was merely an attempt at being hip and reaching a demographic for profit. When films sacrifice creativity, dignity, story, etc. in way of appealing to demographics, I find it insulting, obnoxious, and annoying.
Sorry, but Busta Rhymes doing some Kung Fu on Michael Myers must be the lowest point in the entire franchise and the biggest and most disrespectful “fuck you” to legions of fans.
(5th Film Released in Series — 1989)
Even though this film is all the way up here at #9, I actually quite enjoyed it for the most part, but it’s got to go somewhere in my list. The most notably awful part of this movie for me, is the whole “comedic relief” bit with the two cops and the clownish honks and bonks sound effects. It’s so bizarre and out of place.
For years, I’ve wanted to know what the hell that was all about. I could only assume that it was an attempt at comic relief. In the commentary of the film, they didn’t even address it. However, in new interviews that did go over it a bit, it still doesn’t seem definitively answered, but basically between director Dominique Othenin-Girard and score performer Alan Howarth, it was just a really bad decision that possibly because of the rushed shoot, no one caught and said “Uh guys, this is pretty stupid, we should probably cut that.”
The other weird parts of the film, the hobo living by the river, the reveal of the mark of Thorn, the man in black, I actually liked.
(7th Film Released in Series — 1998)
While this film was clearly trying to get on the coattails of Scream‘s success, it had some good moments.
Distracting, however, was Michael’s look. There were lots of complications with the mask. Over the years I’ve always been a bit confused having conflicted feelings, wondering why he looks cool sometimes throughout the film, and goofy others.
Come to find out all these years later, is that the mask really is constantly changing throughout because the main mask prepared for the film was this really cheesy looking, completely clean and featureless mask that the crew nicknamed the “Casper” mask.
Someone finally noticed how stupid the thing looked and had a new mask made where they went back and re-shot a lot of the close-ups. One particular scene where the kid gets it with the corkscrew in the kitchen we see a closeup of Michael, and his mask looks so bizarre. I always just let it go as some weird lighting issue or something, but come to find out, this was a real issue too.
They weren’t able to redo the shot with the new mask, so later they went back and with CGI, digitally added details to the mask to try and make it look like the new mask! They did such a bad job on it, that they would have done better to just cut it and skip to the close-up of Michael’s eye which is a pretty cool shot.
Another quick factoid about the mask, is that in the opening scenes of the movie, Michael is actually seen wearing the mask from part 6!
Another problem with the look of Michael in this film is that despite the actor being just as tall or taller than other actors who previously played Michael, he looked short and goofy because the coveralls pant-leg’s were too long and baggy.
I thought everything else in the film was pretty good, but the look of Michael is a pretty important piece to making everything work. If that was done properly the film would be much stronger, but all the screw-ups are distracting.
7. Halloween II
(10th Film Released in Series — 2009)
Admittedly, upon first seeing the theatrical cut, I thought even though it had some interesting and creative shots, that overall, it was pretty bad. However, once I saw the unrated director’s cut, it made a lot more sense and had some interesting developments.
Watching Rob Zombie’s vision of his Halloween and Halloween II films back-to-back also gave me a better, deeper appreciation for what he was going for. I think it was quite interesting. I also don’t make the mistake of comparing his films with the originals and enjoy them separately.
(4th Film Released in Series — 1988)
Obviously, it was great to return to Michael Myers after the confusion of part 3 which is a huge part of the film’s success. Despite that fact though, overall, the sympathetic performance of Danielle Harris as Jamie Lloyd is what I think really sold the film in terms of caring about her and making the suspense greater. It was also great to see the return of Donald Pleasence.
5. Halloween II
(2nd Film Released in Series — 1981)
Nothing really too original going on here, and even though the film had more of a slasher feel, it was just great to see Michael doing his thing in his (close-to) original look. And really, that’s about all this film was meant to do, give us more of the same, which it did successfully.
(3rd Film Released in Series — 1982)
Now, we get to the black sheep of the family, one of the most bizarre sequels in cinematic history, to the point of having cult status.
Bizarre direction, as a child I remember watching the whole film simply waiting for when Michael would show, getting more and more anxious and confused that he didn’t. Considering that most fans probably experienced this upon first seeing this film, it was a disjointed experience and impossible to enjoy the movie.
Going back and watching the movie with the mindset of just watching a cool, stand-alone film that has nothing to do with the Halloween series, you end up with a really cool and freaky film on its own merit. And in many interviews you see this expressed. If only the film was released under a different title, perhaps just Season of the Witch, it would have been much more successful. But, of course with the film being titled Halloween III, this creates an inevitable and unavoidable promise to audiences of more Michael Myers mayhem, that will never be delivered.
As a child, and there not really being a mainstream internet yet or DVD, specials features, or anything really, I was left in my confusion of what the hell it was all about. In subsequent years, I had simply devised my own theory that they named it Halloween III just so they could take advantage of the name-recognition to promote another film they wanted to make.
What turns out to be the actual case, is that Halloween was always intended to be an anthology series, where there could potentially be a new stand-alone Halloween film every year released in October. Naturally, they didn’t anticipate the massive success of the Michael Myers storyline and the demand for a sequel. By releasing Halloween II continuing the Michael Myers story, they sealed their fate.
To at this point, still try and continue on with the original anthology approach was a monumentally stupid decision. To think that they could pull it off without confusing the hell out of people is beyond absurd. On the other side of that coin, thank goodness they did, because we now have one of the coolest and most disturbingly macabre films ever made, I really like it that much.
(9th Film Released in Series — 2007)
I’m prepared to be lynched, because I absolutely loved the remake. I think Zombie brought a polish and angle to the story that was very interesting and well-done. What we have here is a true fan film.
Despite the film taking a much more realistic approach (which I enjoy realism), he stayed very loyal to the feel of the original with lots of homages and nostalgic elements.
We have Danielle Harris from parts 4 and 5 fame, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult, “Mr. Sandman” by The Chordettes, and lots and lots of other special little nuances. Zombie’s films are also always littered with all kinds of horror-acting legends, both great and small.
While I might be accused of having bias because I was a big fan of Rob Zombie’s music even before he became a filmmaker, I’m not a fanboy and I’m very good at separating the artist from the art and measuring it on merit alone. And there’s certainly things he’s put out that I didn’t like very much.
While everyone’s certainly entitled to their opinions, I’ve heard very few credible and intelligent reasons why this film is bad besides the obvious fanboy loyalty nonsense about comparing the remake to the original instead of objectively watching the film as its own thing without this weird nerd emotion attached.
Protectors of John Carpenter, give it a rest, cause he doesn’t give a shit. Him and Zombie are friends and Rob actually gave him the courtesy of a phone call before it was announced that he’d be remaking the film. Carpenter gave him his blessing and said (paraphrasing) “Go for it, make it your own.” Furthermore, Carpenter has been quoted saying he loves the fact that they keep making them because he gets paid royalties every time a new one comes out.
Rob Zombie’s one of the few directors that I get excited about seeing whatever they put out next, similar to Quentin Tarantino.
(1st Film Released in Series — 1978)
The original of course is a masterpiece of minimalistic suspense that relies more on atmosphere and pacing and imagination than special effects, blood and gore, explosions, and cheap scares like cats jumping out of closets. Even if you hate this film, the feat of its monumental success based on a budget of just $320k is inarguable.
I think the reason that the magic of this film can and never will be matched is because they had no choice, but to use their creative and guerrilla filmmaking skills to get it done. Every subsequent attempt has been too forced with too much budget. By today’s standards, a budget of about 1 million would probably be the most you could give a crew, tell them to go make a film, and get even a glimmer of a hope that they might come back with something special.
(6th Film Released in Series — 1995)
Blasphemy, I know. How can I list this movie as #1 when it did awful at the box office, was a completely confusing film, and wouldn’t even be possible without the original? Sorry ghouls, just being honest with myself.
Both the theatrical release and the superior release of the Producer’s Cut, I find to be the most entertaining and fascinating films of the franchise. I really enjoy the Thorn storyline started in part 5. Besides that, I love the feel of this film overall. I think this is the best look Michael has had in the films as well.
Stylistically, I just love it and it has everything, the music (better in Producer’s Cut), suspense, the best Halloween-dressed film with the colors, leaves, decorations, it has Donald Pleasence, I think all the acting was great, especially Paul Rudd, which to this day, I consider the best performance of his career. I wish he’d do more serious roles. I enjoy Judd Apatow‘s films, but I think Paul Rudd is a far better dramatic actor than a comedic actor. I’m quite looking forward to Ant-Man where I hope to see him return to form.
Also, despite what some might assume, I’ve heard in interviews and commentaries now over and over that Paul Rudd actually was quite proud of Halloween 6. I’m not sure if they even asked him to do an interview for the new box set? He was interviewed about it previously here. The feeling seems to be that he enjoyed the film they originally made (Producer’s Cut), but that the theatrical cut, that was actually of surprise to many of the crew involved in making the film, as not everyone was aware of all the re-shoots.
There doesn’t appear to be an official website or Twitter page for Paul, but I have asked on his verified Facebook page here. For those of you who are also interested, maybe if you comment on and promote the post enough it might become popular enough to get a response from Paul or the assistant, agent, publicist, etc. that runs the page for him.
With the proper release of Halloween 6: The Producer’s Cut, I would consider this the single-best movie-viewing experience I’ve had of all the Halloween films.
While I realize some of you might be just about ready to go to war with me over this list, let’s try to remain civil. The great part about being human is that we’re all vastly complex and different from one-another (fuck that snowflake saying) and of course we have different opinions.
There’s no such thing as right or wrong in subjectivity, so instead of telling me why you think my list sucks, I’d much rather you list your own personal list from worst to best of the films in the comments below ghouls!
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