How do you watch the Halloween movies in order? When it comes to horror movie marathons, you just can’t beat John Carpenter’s Halloween franchise. Telling the story of Michael Myers, the films are delightfully eerie and have spawned a massive cult following. But with 12 movies in total and four distinct timelines, the chilling flicks aren’t the easiest to make sense of.
So, what is the best way to view this iconic murder spree, and how do you watch all the Halloween movies in order? Focusing primarily on the serial killer Michael Myers stalking the quiet suburban town of Haddonfield, the Halloween movies have collectively grossed over $640 million at the worldwide box office. It all began with one of the best horror movies ever made, Carpenter’s 1978 flick, where Michael terrorises Laurie Strode.
However, over the last few decades, the Halloween franchise has had two reboots and a remake – in short, it’s a bit of a mess, especially if you don’t know which movie to start with or which film goes with which timeline. In this guide, we’ll go through all the Halloween movies and describe every timeline in the series. So here’s how you can watch all the Halloween movies in order. Warning: minor spoilers ahead!
Original Halloween movies timeline
If you are a fan of classic slashers, the original Halloween timeline will probably be right up your street, although be warned, there are some eyebrow-raising features on this list – as well as some just downright bad Michael Myers masks.
But hey, a couple of mistakes isn’t a deal-breaker. Here is the original timeline for Halloween, before all the reboots, remakes, and alterations were released years later.
How to watch the original Halloween movies in order:
- Halloween II
- Halloween III
- Halloween 4
- Halloween 5
- Halloween 6
It all begins one Halloween night in 1963 when a young Michael Myers murders his sister. He has gone down as an infamous figure in Haddonfield; however, in 1978, a now-adult Myers returns to the town for more murderous antics.
He begins to hunt the high schooler, Laurie Strode; however, the teen manages to escape the masked killer with the help of Dr Loomis. In all the reboots and remakes, Halloween has been a constant beacon. It is an incredible thriller movie and fully introduces us to one of the most iconic and eerie killers to ever hit the big screen.
Halloween II (1981)
The sequel to the 1978 film, Halloween II takes place on the same day as its predecessor. It is still Halloween night, and we see Laurie being rushed off to hospital after her ordeal with the rubber-faced murderer. However, Michael Myers still isn’t done with his killing spree just yet. Here we get some crazy fun kills and one of the better Halloween sequels in the franchise.
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However, there is a divisive reveal in this sequel, where Laurie and Michael turn out to be related. We also see Michael Myers presumably die in this film, killed by Dr Loomis. But, as every long-time horror fan knows, Michael and death don’t really go together.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
OK, so let’s talk about the elephant in the franchise, Season of the Witch, also known as the Halloween movie that isn’t really a Halloween movie at all. We say that because, despite its namesake, it doesn’t feature our favourite masked killer.
That’s right, a Halloween movie with no Michael Myers. Instead, Halloween 3 is about a company that sells Halloween masks that happen to melt faces off – very evil, yes, but not the best business plan. It’s a pretty gnarly idea but a bit left-field when you’re after a good old slasher.
The good news is this timeline still works if you give this film a skip, so feel free to pass up on Season of the Witch (Editor: Do not skip it).
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
After the negative reception of Halloween 3, the sensible decision to bring Michael back – in one of the series worst masks – was made. Although we saw him perish in Halloween 2, Halloween 4 clarifies that both Loomis and Myers managed to survive the explosion that was thought to have killed them.
The events of Halloween 4 take place in 1998, where Michael awakens from a coma and learns that although Laurie died in a car crash, she left behind a victim, I mean kid, called Jamie. Loomis and Michael face off again, and at the end of the movie, it turns out that Jamie may have inherited some of Michael Myers’ bloodlust.
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Halloween 5 follows on straight after the events of Halloween 4, where we see the characters dealing with the consequences of Jamie’s stabbing tendencies. Here the franchise begins to fully swing into the supernatural realm, as Jamie and Michael’s weird psychic bond fully comes into its own.
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Despite Jamie warning everyone that the killer is still alive, Michael’s return to Haddonfield faces little pushback, and he begins his killing spree once again. The film ends with a mysterious man kidnapping Jamie and freeing Michael from Dr Loomis, who had also returned to stop the killer-setting up the premise for the next movie in the timeline.
Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
If you are like us here at The Digital Fix, who are firmly in the camp that Michael Myers should remain mortal instead of supernatural – you may want to avert your eyes now. The mysterious man from the end of the last movie turns out to be a leader of a pagan cult who had Jamie impregnated – yikes. Jamie escapes with her baby; however, she is soon hunted by Michael. Our boy Loomis heads to Haddonfield once again.
Halloween six also has two very different endings. If you watch the director’s cut, we see Michael getting beaten up, and if you watch the producer’s cut, the film ends with a curse transferring to Loomis. So it is really up to you which one you pick as you end this timeline watch.
The H20 Halloween movies timeline
The Halloween Franchise was pretty much a diluted mess at this point, full of mythology and strange supernatural story threads that just didn’t tie together.
The series needed a shot in the arm, and therefore the first reboot to the series back in the ’90s answered the call of slasher fans. Here we get a more focused timeline between Laurie and Michael – that is, until a game show ruins everything.
How to watch the H20 Halloween reboot movies in order:
- Halloween II
- Halloween H2O
- Halloween Resurrection
And we are back at it again, with Carpenter’s original leading the way. I mean, why not start your timeline with one of the best horrors in history, am I right?
Halloween sets up the premise for Michael and Laurie once again and also introduces the backstory of Michael. Before you go into this timeline which is arguably a lot more focused on Laurie and Michael as characters, you are going to need this context.
Halloween II (1981)
Yep, this movie where we learn that Michael and Laurie are related is in this timeline too. Although the sister-brother plot reveal still personally bugs me to no end, there are worse films to be included in a timeline, so you can forgive the family connection between the murderer and his victim for the time being.
Also, it should be noted that again, despite the film’s ending, Michael is, in fact, still alive.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
H20 effectively washed away the majority of the sequels. It is set 20 years after the fateful Halloween night seen in the first film and the ’80 sequel, with Laurie strode front and centre once again. Thankfully, in this timeline, she didn’t perish in a random car crash like Halloween 4 suggested.
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Instead, Laurie faked her death to avoid Michael and began working as a headmistress at a boarding school. But Michael, being Michael, just can’t leave Laurie alone. The killer soon comes back, and spoiler alert- we see Laurie finally get rid of him after she chops off his head with an axe, killing him for good… or does she (no, no, she doesn’t).
Halloween Resurrection (2002)
Here is a contentious entry to the timeline because it makes the huge mistake of retconning H2O’s cool ending by killing Laurie Strode instead of Myers in the last movie’s final shot. Resurrection is also considered one of the worst Halloween movies in the entire franchise; that’s due to its weird style and even weirder script.
Set three years after H2O, the film revolves around a game show where contestants must spend a night in the Myers house. Michael shows up and starts to lay waste to the contestants. However, the day is saved after the show’s host, Busta Rhymes, roundhouses kicks him in the rubber face, beating him to a pulp – yes, it is just as ridiculous as it sounds.
Remake Halloween movies timeline
In 2007, Rob Zombie took a crack at remaking the original story. His two movies are stand-alone entries, completely separate from the rest of the franchise.
So, needless to say, the remake Halloween timeline is the shortest on our list, as well as the most isolated. But still, it is Rob Zombie, meaning it’s probably going to be good fun and is worth a watch if you have time.
How to watch the Halloween remake movies in order:
- Halloween (2007)
- Halloween II (2009)
Here is the only Halloween timeline that doesn’t start with Carpenter’s 1978 film. Instead, we get Rob Zombie’s version of events, as well as a detailed backstory to Michael’s childhood.
The overall plot is very similar to Carpenter’s original movie, but it decides to do a deeper character study of Michael, who at this point has been a silent and no-nonsense killer who seems to stab people because he is just evil, period.
If you are a fan of Michael’s mystery and blunt killer ways, this timeline isn’t for you, as it works to strip the character of Michael and lay all his secrets bare. On the other hand, if you’re a fan of character-based features, you will love this take on Halloween that works to expand the view on the famed killer.
Halloween II (2009)
OK, Zombie basically goes a bit off the rails and changes everything in Halloween II. Laurie and Dr Loomis are completely different characters with jarring personalities, and the director casts his wife in the role of Deborah Myers, who is haunting Michael.
Deborah’s ghost works as motivation for Michael’s killing, much like how Pamela Voorhees is for the Friday the 13th killer, Jason.
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The only problem is Michael isn’t Jason. His lack of reason for killing and ambiguous mortality is what makes him so exciting as a character.
Many mistakes were made in this film, but we have to thank it because it paved the way for Blumhouse and David Gordon Green to reboot the franchise nine years later.
The new Halloween movies timeline
Let’s be honest, after supernatural elements and the strange family connections between Laurie and Michael, Halloween needed a fresh start. David Gordon Green set out to reboot the series while also scrapping all of the past mistakes the series had made.
This timeline includes Carpenters’ original. However, the rest of the sequels are set 30 years in the future and brings the slasher into the modern-day. Here is the current canon timeline, so if you are a stickler for staying up to date with the most relevant gory films, this is the watch order for you.
How to watch the new Halloween movies in order:
- Halloween (2018)
- Halloween Kills
- Halloween Ends
Like most of the Halloween timelines on our list, it all starts with the 1978 film. You just can’t beat or remake a classic (sorry, Rob Zombie). Here we see Laurie and Michael face off again, with Laurie ultimately escaping the killer’s clutches…at least for now.
What makes this timeline different from past entries in our guide is what happens to Laurie and the serial killer years later after the events of Carpenter’s beloved flick.
One of the most financially successful slashers of all time, Halloween 2018 retcons all the sequels in the Halloween franchise and does a great job at laying the groundwork to correct the course of this slasher story. It reveals that Michael was captured on the night of 1978 and placed in an insane asylum.
Laurie, on the other hand, has a bad case of PTSD, which has caused conflict with her daughter and granddaughter. Bloody violence kicks off on Halloween night once Michael escapes, and Laurie and her family must work through their trauma to face “the boogeyman” who has haunted their family for the past 30 years.
Halloween Kills (2021)
Halloween Kills takes place on the same night as Halloween (2018). Despite Laurie and her family’s best efforts, Michael is alive and is back to killing anyone in his way. With Laurie rushed to hospital and Michael on the loose, the community of Haddonfield come together and decide to kill Michael once and for all.
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However, as we said before, death and Michael don’t really get along very well, do they? Halloween Kills ends with the killer still on the loose and the community in a state of pure paranoia, as at this point, Michael seems pretty much unkillable.
Halloween Ends (2022)
Halloween Ends will finish David Gordon Green’s timeline and is scheduled to release on October 14, 2022. So far, we don’t know much about its plot. However, we do know that there will be a time jump between the events of Halloween Kills and the story of Halloween Ends.
In an interview with Uproxx, Green hinted that the movie will be set in the present-day and will deal with the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and Michael’s killing spree. However, only time will tell how the latest Halloween timeline will end.