We have had a lot of fun covering Halloween, Halloween II, and Halloween III: The Season of the Witch. So now let’s cover the rest of the series, the remaining sequels of the Halloween franchise. The Rob Zombie films will require their own entries as they have PLENTY worthy of being talked about.
So without further ado let’s dive in.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Looking back at the series I would have preferred that the series continued with the anthology format that Halloween III tried to establish. I hate Halloween 4 because it brought Michael Myers back but I also really like this movie because it is very entertaining! The hatred mostly stems from some of the sequels that followed this movie. Halloween III perhaps isn’t the most excellent movie ever made but it was largely creative, and it would have been interesting to have a series where directors got to come in and flex their horror muscles with new ideas.
Still, despite this Halloween 4 isn’t that bad at all! It isn’t great, but when this movie works, it is very entertaining. Although the film being entertaining Halloween 4 does have a lack of scares. Sure this movie is entertaining to watch, but this does lack the suspense of Halloween and even the big moments of Halloween II.
The ending did take this movie up a notch and was a bold idea. The first time I watched it I was beyond shocked and surprised that Halloween 4 went with the direction of the ending that it did. Still, the conclusion is cheapened by the next film (but more on that later). Despite some of the other issues with the movie (the false scares, and Michael’s terrible mask) this is an entertaining film but not a great one. Plus Donald Pleasence crushes it as Dr. Loomis and Danielle Harris is a wonderful new protagonist. For both, the love and hate I have of this it is almost as if I begrudgingly like this movie. The heart was in the right place, and that is enough to get it by.
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
This is where the series really begins to take a turn for the worst. While this is far from the worst entry in the series, this does show just how active the series fought against change.
Halloween II attempted to end the story of Michael Myers. Halloween III tried to bring the series into a new format, but audiences rejected it. Halloween 4 brought Michael Myers back but cleverly attempted to take a familiar story but then end it on a huge cliffhanger that promised a sequel of new possibilities.
Halloween 5 does just about everything the opposite that it should. Instead of building off the unexpected ending of 4, Halloween 5 plays it safe by bringing Michael Myers back again. The shocking end of 4 is wholly undone on re-watch because the sequel really doesn’t care about it. The series tried to move away from Michael Myers once before and with the success of Halloween 4, Myers wasn’t going anywhere.
This time the writers give him and his niece a physic link and it goes absolutely nowhere. It tries desperately to play up some mystery to set up the 6th movie that comes off like a weak attempt to one-up the ending of 4 (which ironically the cliffhanger ending of 5 was done without the full knowledge of where to go next). Halloween 5 has a moment or two where the movie is entertaining. It has a similar feel to Halloween 4, so there are moments where the film can be fun, in particularly the final showdown in the Myers house (which has a touching but sad moment between uncle and niece).
I think this really began to show a franchise on the verge of collapsing and oh boy does the 6th one do precisely that.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
This is the movie I have been eluding too throughout this entire article. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. I would argue that this is the series second lowest point.
The Curse of Michael Myers tries to bring an end to the entire Michael Myers story and wrap up what is referred too by fans as “the thorn trilogy” (Halloween 4-6). This goes as far as having minor characters from the first Halloween repurposed for the next storyline that was invented for this entry. Here it is revealed that Myers is being controlled by a cult and he has to wipe out his entire family bloodline, and that’s why he kills.
Wow, there is a lot of problems with this movie. Taking Michael Myers and turning him into a tool of a death cult is one of the worst decisions that could have been made. First off, this angle makes no sense because Myers seems to take a lot of time trying to kill other people rather than trying to kill his own family members (not to mention the producer’s cut further complicates things when it heavily implies that Michael rapes his niece, Jamie). Second, that really ruins the simplicity of the original movie. This is the problem, this movie is directly tied in the first movie, so unless you willfully ignore, it detracts from the first movie. This movie single handly takes such a simple premise with the original Halloween and manage to twist it into an unrecognizable form. Third of all the writing around is needlessly complicated and also convoluted. Of course, that could be a by-product of all the reshoots as well. Not to mention this is the last we see of Donald Pleasence’s Sam Loomis and it isn’t a good send-off (although to be fair nobody knew that Pleasance would pass away right after making the movie).
Which brings me to one of my final comments, the legendary Producer’s Cut has kept this movie afloat in horror fan’s eyes. For a while, this was only a bootleg, passed around on the internet. Now it is available on Blu-Ray, and while it is a little better, it doesn’t save this film. Most of my problems still stand, the movie just is a bit more coherent.
Don’t attack Rob Zombie for a quote on quote, “making Michael Myers not scary anymore” because The Curse of Michael Myers got there first.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later represents a somewhat return to form for the series. This movie isn’t great by any means but it vastly superior to both The Curse of Michael Myers and Halloween 5. H20 brings things back to basics and pretty much ignores the events of the last few films (although it also doesn’t go out its way to discredit them either).
The movie itself is entertaining but once you watch it once it doesn’t offer much to come back too. I don’t have strong feelings about this film. I like having Jamie Lee Curtis again in the series, and I like that this tried to give Laure Strode a sense of catharsis but all in all there isn’t much to this movie. H20 is mildly entertaining but lacks any of the suspense and scares of the first Halloween and doesn’t succeed at being as enjoyable as Halloween II-4. I wish a stronger director had directed this movie because the direction is a bit bland and there isn’t anything interesting going on with the camera at all.
Still, not a bad effort. This movie definitely benefits heavily from having to follow Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (and to a lesser extent Halloween 5). Given the early buzz around David Gordon Green’s Halloween sequel (which is attempting something similar), this might not be looked at as favorably in the future. But I will hold judgment until it has been released.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
This is the series at it’s lowest point. Halloween: Resurrection is lack of ideas, imagination and the series on its dying breath. Bringing Halloween II‘s, Rick Rosenthal doesn’t help matters either.
Once again it doesn’t commit to the ending of the previous movie and brings back Michael Myers. H20 was supposed to provide some emotional catharsis for Laure and also Halloween fans. This is beyond frustrating to watch a series so adamant about rejecting a new direction. Then again when the series does commit to a crazy new concept, it ends up as a big fat turkey (I’m looking at you Curse of Michael Myers). Worst of all they give an utterly offensive end for Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laure Strode.
The one thing I can say about The Curse of Michael Myers is at least it felt like they tried to come up with this grand mythology. It failed, but at least there was an effort. Halloween Resurrection doesn’t feel like there is any effort behind the camera or even in front. Halloween: Resurrection is a lazy cash in on the reality show craze and an attempt to mix in Blair Witch style footage with a Halloween movie. This doesn’t work, it feels like a desperate attempt to keep the series relevant in a subgenre that had been struggling to find its way.
Watching this movie bring me only one thing, sadness.
What do you think of the Halloween sequels? What’s your favorite?
Stay tuned for an article on Rob Zombie’s Halloween!