If 2022 is the year of the Multiverse thanks to movies like the Doctor Strange sequel and the magical Everything Everywhere All At Once, then surely Halloween has been teasing the concept of parallel universes since Halloween III first rocked up to the club without a single; solitary Michael Myers in sight. While most horror franchises only usually deviate from their orginal timeline when the obligatory need for a remake comes around, the Halloween series has been busying itself for the last 40 years creating enough randomly diverging universes to warrant a call from the Time Variance Authority. Time and time again, producers have been frantically slapping the reset button whenever Michael’s stabby shenanigans get too convoluted and as a result we’ve gotten no less than five different timelines to choose from that all go in subtly different directions.
But in anticipation of Halloween Ends, the end of this most recent, legacy series, I endeavored to figure out which timeline was the best and in order to best work it out in the simplest and quickest way possible, I decided to take all the individual ratings this site has bestowed each movie and work out the percentage in order to pick out which version of Halloween is king.
So if you feel like staging a Halloween Kills style mob in order to debate the results – don’t blame me… blame the maths.
5) Rob Zombie Timeline – Halloween (2007), Halloween II (2009)
No real surprise here, as Rob Zombie’s remake series doesn’t get a whole lot of love from Halloween fans mostly because the director chose to cram both films with a plethora of deeply unpleasant people who are all so brutally obnoxious, they seem to be begging for Tyler Mane’s gargantuan – but very human – Michael to tear them limb from limb. Also, Zombie’s scripts focuses heavily on probing the lost years where young Myers languished in a mental hospital and while this and the second movies obsession with Michael’s madness being transferable to sister Laurie Strode is fairly interesting to start with, the leeching of every bit of supernatural elements from Myers leaves him as just a big-ass lug who’s too stubbon to die. You can see why Rob Zombie wanted to try something different to what came before and a tip of the hat has to go to him trying to flesh everything out, but ultimately the big problem is that the remakes strive to fill in a backstory that simply isn’t necessary. Michael is so terrifying precisely because we know nothing about him and all the stunningly brutal deaths in the world (and believe me, some are downright vicious) aren’t enough to rectify this understandable mistake.
4) Jaime Lloyd Timeline – Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), Halloween IV: The Return Of Michael Myers (1988), Halloween V: The Revenge Of Michael Myers (1989), Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995)
Really? The classic timeline ranking so low? Well, yes – and it’s fairly obvious where the blame lies too… Oh sure, the timeline starts out insanely strong with the original Halloween (as four out of 5 of our timelines do) and keeps a decent, steady pace with the spiteful Halloween II and the divertingly pulpy Halloween IV: The Return Of Michael Myers, but after that, the series quality drops quicker than a Haddonfield teen with a knife in their chest.
To the uninitiated, the Jaime Lloyd timeline refers to Laurie Strode’s daughter, born off-screen to an unknown husband (a safe bet is that it’s not her crush Ben Tramer – because he’s fucking dead…) and then shuffled off to foster parents after Laurie bites it in a car crash that’s also taken place off-screen, long before the movie has even started. Played chiefly by Danielle Harris in parts IV & V and then by J.C. Brandy before being rudely annihilated in part VI, the character bravely fights off her stealthy uncle numerous times and even develops a telepathic link with him for reasons best known to the fifth installment’s writers, but while this timeline features not one, but two icon Halloween heroines, it simply can’t raise itself any higher due to the last to entries repeatedly shoving its own face into the toilet. If studio tampering reduced the sixth movie to being borderline incoherent, the fifth one matches it by containing some insanely half baked cliffhangers and some of the most excruciatingly annoying victims in slasher movie history until the whole timeline peters out into a big, load of nothing than not even an early, twitchy Paul Rudd performance can fix.
3) Laurie Strode Timeline – Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), Halloween H20 (1998) Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Again, another surprise. This timeline chiefly concerns Laurie Strode herself and once the first two Halloween movies are dispensed with we bounce forward twenty years to cover ground that not a lot of slashers bother to acknowledge – what happens to the survivors long term.
Thus we reconnect with Strode living under a false name while employed as the headmistress of a swanky school and it’s fairly evident that due to her single parent status and her full blown alcoholism that she’s barely hanging on by a thread every time October 31st rolls around like a severed head. Halloween, Halloween II and Halloween H20 make quite the nifty little trilogy and if the timeline were only to include these three movies, I genuinely think we’d have a winner – but then swaggering in late like a drunk, shitty, middle-aged uncle at his niece’s 21st birthday party comes Halloween: Resurrection and practically ruins everything.
Not only does this shambling mess of a flick utterly fuck up H20’s genuinely shocking ending, but it also manages to shittily kill off Strode before the main credits have even started which nullifieseverything the character has achieved up until now. From there, things somehow get worse as we have to endure awful characters, a crappy plot and endless trash talking from Busta Rhymes who matches Michael’s invulnerability with some sloppy kung-fu in the fiery climax which dumps all of the hard work that’s gone before slap bang into the shitter.
2) Anthology Timeline – Halloween (1978), Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (1983)
Undoubtedly the upset of them all, the once maligned anthology timeline manages to pip all the others to narrowly score second place to prove that the Myers-less Halloween III deserves those calls for a long overdue reappraisal. For the six people who don’t know by now, after John Carpenter and co. decided that after Mikey went the way of a sausage left on a barbecue for too long, there simply was no more story to tell and that the Halloween franchise would thus take on an annual anthology format. With that being said, fans at the time revolted about the no-show of their favourite slasher – but in actuality, Season Of The Witch is actually quite a fun and freakish conspiracy horror that’s as utterly bonkers as it is flawed. Robot henchmen, Samhaim worshipers and a plot to murder every child in America may not sound like a worthy follow up to one of the greatest slashers ever made, but at least it’s something new with a typically iconic performance by Tom fuckin’ Atkins to boot.
By the way, for some odd reason, no one seem to include Halloween II in the Anthology Timeline which sort of makes sense because the point of an anthology is that every installment is supposed to be different. Oh well, I guess it sucks to be you, Halloween II…
1) Blumhouse Timeline – Halloween (1978), Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills (2021)
It’s both a surprise and inevitable that the newest timeline has come out on top mostly because it is isn’t even finished yet.
Still, once again the quality is bolstered by Carpenter’s original, but matters are infinitely helped by the fact that the 2018 legacy sequel ranks along with Halloween H20 as arguably Halloween’s best sequel as it brings some grit and stakes to the neverending adventures to Haddonfield’s unfriendly neighbourhood shape. However, while David Gordon Green pulls out the stops for his first (or is that second) installment, his epic, but overblown Halloween Kills was something of a mixed bag. Upping the violence to an insane degree, recreating impressive flashbacks to the original night he came home and an impressively grim tone sits uneasily with some cringey attempts to have the town folk try to psyche themselves up by screaming “Evil dies tonight!” every five minutes while Laurie Strode spends the whole film chilling in a suprisingly riot prone hospital. Still, there’s still time for this modern ballard of Michael and Laurie to pull itself out of this potential nose dive with the final installment due out later this year.
Nevertheless, regardless of how Halloween Ends turns out and any negative opinions that exist about Halloween Kills, there’s no denying that the 40+ year spanning Blumhouse Timeline already stands as one of the most epic slasher series that’s ever existed in film.
Sorry Haddonfield; evil never dies.
Halloween Ends is out October 14th