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All you need to know about the Halloween franchise

Feeling nostalgic about classic franchises is a common occurrence. However, most times we tend to mix up films in our mind or completely forget about some instalments when there is more than three of them. If you don’t remember what the hell the thousand Halloween movies of the franchise are about, or you’ve never watched any of them but want to look cool in front of your horror-loving friends or date, don’t fret, I’ve got you covered 😉

As per usual, I’ll try to limit myself to the basics so that all you very busy (or very lazy, no shade, I feel you) people can go watch any Halloween film with all the necessary knowledge from the past installments. Without further ado, here’s a recap of the Halloween franchise so far:

Halloween (1978).

  • Director: John Carpenter.
  • Producer: Debra Hill.
  • Screenplay by: John Carpenter and Debra Hill.
  • Cinematographer: Dean Cundey.
  • Music by: John Carpenter.
Fig. 1. Halloween (1978) initial credit’s title, the first of the Halloween franchise.
Source: Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978).

Summary:

On the Halloween night of 1963, in Haddonfield (Illinois), a 6 year old Michael Myers killed his sister when she was babysitting him so he was committed to a mental institution. Fifteen years later, he escapes his confinement and goes back to where he lived as a kid to start a babysitter killing spree. His plan fails when, after killing two of her friends and the boyfriend of one of them, he faces Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), who survives his attack basically by being lucky. Michael is repeatedly stabbed and shot but doesn’t die because, according to his shrink, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), he is “pure evil”, so he can’t be killed.

Halloween II (1981).

  • Director: Rick Rosenthal.
  • Producers: John Carpenter and Debra Hill.
  • Screenplay by: John Carpenter and Debra Hill.
  • Cinematographer: Dean Cundey.
  • Music by: John Carpenter and Alan Howarth.
Fig. 2. Halloween II (1981) initial credit’s title. Source: Halloween II (Rick Rosenthal, 1981).

Summary:

Laurie is taken to the hospital after her near-death encounter with Michael Myers. The killer is presumed dead after a car smashes a man wearing a mask like his against a van, making the supposed Michael Myers burn alive; they later discover that the victim is a kid from the town. The real Michael Myers has gone to the hospital where Laurie, who we learn is actually his little sister, is recovering. He starts killing everyone in the hospital and chases Laurie with the same intention. She runs and hides until she gets help from Dr. Loomis, who sacrifices himself to help Laurie escape and kill Michael Myers in a great explosion at the hospital.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982).

  • Director: Tommy Lee Wallace.
  • Producers: John Carpenter and Debra Hill.
  • Screenplay by: Tommy Lee Wallace.
  • Cinematographer: Dean Cundey.
  • Music by: John Carpenter and Alan Howarth.
Fig. 3. Halloween III: Season of the Witch initial credit’s title, the first movie changing the rules of the Halloween franchise. Source: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (Tommy Lee Wallace, 1982).

Summary:

In a universe where Michael Myers is a fictional character, a man arrives at a hospital badly injured. He is killed not much later by a man in a suit who then burns himself alive in his car.

The doctor in charge of the patient assassinated starts to investigate his death with the daughter of said patient. They discover that there are lots of suited men like the killer and that they work for a shady factory that produces Halloween masks for children. Those masks have special tags that react to an advertisement, killing the kids that watch it while wearing them. The doctor tries to stop it from airing but the movie ends before the audience can discover if he manages it or not.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988).

  • Director: Dwight H. Little.
  • Producer: Paul Freeman.
  • Screenplay by: Alan B. McElroy.
  • Cinematographer: Peter Lyons Collister.
  • Music by: Alan Howarth.
Fig. 4. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers initial credit’s title. Source: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (Dwight H. Little, 1988).

Summary:

Ten years after the events that take place during the first and second movies of the franchise, Michael Myers is getting transfered to another psychiatric hospital when he breaks free and goes on a killing spree (as one does), while looking for Jamie, his little niece, with the intention of killing her too. She manages to escape and survive him. At the end of the movie, he is apparently dead and buried when Jamie’s foster mother is attacked and killed with a pair of scissors. Jamie is her killer.

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989).

  • Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard.
  • Producer: Ramsey Thomas.
  • Screenplay by: Michael Jacobs, Dominique Othenin-Girard and Shem Bitterman.
  • Cinematographer: Robert Draper.
  • Music by: Alan Howarth.
Fig. 5. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers initial credit’s title. Source: Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (Dominique Othenin-Girard, 1989).

Summary:

Michael Myers has yet again avoided death and searches for his niece to finish his mission. Killer and target have developed a bond since the end of the previous movie and Jamie is now capable of feeling and seeing what he is doing so she tries to save her stepsister and her friends, but she fails. After the massacre, Dr. Loomis tries to use their bond to rid Michael from his rage but, when that doesn’t work, he uses Jamie as bait. The police arrest Michael but a mysterious person wearing boots with silver shoe toes blows up the police station and gets him out before he can be transferred to a maximum security prison.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995).

  • Director: Joe Chappelle.
  • Producer: Paul Freeman.
  • Screenplay by: Daniel Farrands.
  • Cinematographer: Billy Dickson.
  • Music by: Alan Howarth.
Fig. 6. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers initial credit’s title, here is where the Halloween franchise starts going insane. Source: Halloween: The Course of Michael Myers (Joe Chappelle, 1995).

Summary:

Buckle up buttercup, tricky developments ahead!

After the police station blew up, Jamie was kidnapped by a cult whose leader is the man with the silver toed shoes. She is 15 now and gives birth during a cult ritual, then she escapes and hides her baby but is attacked by Michael and later killed by the cult leader.

Tommy, the little kid that Laurie babysat in the first movie (I know, what a leap huh?), has grown up and investigated a lot about Michael Myers. He finds Jamie’s baby and contacts Dr. Loomis.

Bear with me.

During his investigations, he found out that Michael’s powers are the result of a celtic ritual that binds him to an ancient rune, Thorn, and that he kills when Thorn’s constellation is aligned as part of a ritual. Said ritual consists of one person being binded to Thorn and made to kill their descendance when it is aligned until there is none of them left, ensuring the prosperity of the rest of the families in the village. That’s why Michael goes after his family, also considering as family the people who live in his house despite not being blood related.

Michael kills everyone living in his house except for a girl and her little kid, who hears the voice of the cult leader in his head telling him to kill. The cult kidnaps them and the baby to create a new binding between Thorn and the kid since Michael only has to kill the baby, who we discover is also his, to finish his mission.

It turns out that the cult leader is the head of the psychiatric hospital. Tommy saves the girl and the two kids and they escape in his car. Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis goes back to put an end to the cult but finds Michael is missing again and the cult leader passes the torch of his safe keeping onto him.

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998).

  • Director: Steve Miner.
  • Producer: Paul Freeman.
  • Screenplay by: Robert Zappia and Matt Greenberg.
  • Cinematographer: Daryn Okada.
  • Music by: John Ottman.
Fig. 7. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later initial credit’s title. Source: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (Steve Miner, 1998).

Summary:

Laurie has rebuilt her life after Michael’s attempt to end it. Now, twenty years later, he is back to kill her and her son. She saves his son and his girlfriend after his friends get slaughtered and, when the couple get to safety, she confronts Michael to find closure once and for all. After a long fight and chase, she chops his head off to make sure he stays dead.

Halloween: Resurrection (2002).

  • Director: Rick Rosenthal.
  • Producer: Paul Freeman.
  • Screenplay by: Larry Brand and Sean Hood.
  • Cinematographer: David Geddes.
  • Music by: Danny Lux.
Fig. 8. Halloween: Resurrection initial credit’s title. Source: Halloween: Resurrection (Rick Rosenthal, 2002).

Summary:

Laurie is locked up in a psychiatric hospital after beheading the wrong man. Michael goes after her and, in an attempt to kill him, she falls off the roof of the hospital.

Meanwhile, in Michael’s hometown, six university students are chosen to be part of an internet show based in Michael Myers’ house that consists of them being in the house and investigating for a whole night while broadcasting everything live. Most of it is fake but then the real Michael Myers appears and starts killing everyone. A student and the show host are the only survivors of the masacre thanks to the help of a spectator of the show and the host’s fighting skills.

Halloween (2007).

  • Director: Rob Zombie.
  • Producers: Malek Akkad, Andy Gould and Rob Zombie.
  • Screenplay by: Rob Zombie.
  • Cinematographer: Phil Parmet.
  • Music by: Tyler Bates.
Fig. 9. Halloween (2007) initial credit’s title, arguably the worst instalment of the Halloween franchise. Source: Halloween (Rob Zombie, 2007).

Summary:

This one is a remake of the original movie. Essentially, it goes like this:

Michael Myers kills his family when he is little because they are bad people and he snaps. Fifteen years later he escapes the mental institute he was committed to and goes after his little sister, Laurie. He tries communicating with her but she is very scared after seeing that Michael has killed some of her friends so she tries to escape him. She ends up shooting him in the head in the garden of their childhood home.

Halloween II (2009)

  • Director: Rob Zombie.
  • Producers: Malek Akkad, Andy Gould and Rob Zombie.
  • Screenplay by: Rob Zombie.
  • Cinematographer: Brandon Trost.
  • Music by: Tyler Bates.
Fig. 10. Halloween II (2009) initial credit’s title, definitely the worst instalment of the Halloween franchise. Source: Halloween II (Rob Zombie, 2009).

Summary:

It’s a continuation to Halloween (2007). Laurie is living with the sheriff and his daughter after her adoptive family was murdered. She is having a lot of visions and nightmares that make her act out.

Meanwhile, Michael Myers is killing people all around town and also has visions about his dead mother and himself as a kid. When Laurie finds out she is Michael Myers’ younger sister, she goes to a party to cope but when she comes back she has to face Michael. He takes her to a cabin where the dead people from the visions are too. The police go to her rescue but, after they’ve shot Michael, Laurie she looks like she is going to kill Dr. Loomis so they kill her too.

Halloween (2018).

  • Director: David Gordon Green.
  • Producers: Malek Akkad, Jason Blum and Bill Block.
  • Screenplay by: Jeff Fraley, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green.
  • Cinematographer: Michael Simmonds.
  • Music by: John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel A. Davies.
Fig. 11. Halloween (2018) initial credit’s title, where the Halloween franchise gets interesting again. Source: Halloween (David Gordon Green, 2018).

Summary:

With this one, we go back to the original story from 1978.

According to this movie, Michael Myers has been held captive since 1978, when he first tried to kill Laurie. Forty years later, Laurie has a daughter (not Jamie, another daughter who we knew nothing about until now) and a granddaughter, with whom she doesn’t have a very close relationship. When Michael escapes, Laurie gets in contact with them to save their lives and set a trap for Michael. After several murders and Michael’s new shrink becoming insane and killing the sheriff, the trio of girls trap Michael and burn him down along with the house Laurie lived in.

Halloween Kills (2021).

  • Director: David Gordon Green.
  • Producers: Malek Akkad, Jason Blum and Bill Block.
  • Screenplay by: Scott Teems, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green.
  • Cinematographer: Michael Simmonds.
  • Music by: John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel A. Davies.
Fig. 12. Halloween Kills initial credit’s title.
Source: Halloween Kills (David Gordon Green, 2021).

Summary:

Following the events of Halloween (2018), Laurie is taken to the hospital after being stabbed, with her daughter and granddaughter accompanying her. Meanwhile, the firemen go to Laurie’s house to put out the fire but they encounter Michael, who gets out of the burning house and kills all of them. While Myers goes around killing people, the townsfolk, already scared because of all the Michael stories that have been circulating, start forming search groups to find him and end him. That operation gets out of hand when people panic and go after an innocent guy, who throws himself of a building to not be beaten to death by the mob.

Laurie’s granddaughter joins the search groups to avenge his father but finally it’s Laurie’s daughter who orchestrates a trap to catch the murderer. All the neighbours give him a beating but he doesn’t die (duh!), he gets up and fights until they’re all dead. At the end of the movie, Michael kills Laurie’s daughter and when she finds out, she swears revenge on Michael and leaves the hospital to kill him.

Halloween Ends (2022).

  • Director: David Gordon Green.
  • Producers: Malek Akkad, Jason Blum and Bill Block.
  • Screenplay by: Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green.
  • Cinematographer: Michael Simmonds.
  • Music by: John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel A. Davies.
Credit title for Halloween Ends (2022). Blue letters over a black background.
Fig. 12. Halloween Ends initial credit’s title.
Source: Halloween Ends (David Gordon Green, 2022).

Summary:

After the events of Halloween Kills (2021), Laurie and her granddaughter are moving on from their trauma with Michael. Nevertheless, Haddonfield is still obsessed with “the boogeyman” and people take any chance to blame Laurie for everything.

At the end of October, she meets Corey, a man who accidentally killed a child on Halloween some years before and who was also being tormented by the townsfolk. Laurie decides to introduce him to her granddaughter and they hit it off quite quickly. However, Corey goes down a dark path, killing everyone who bothers him just like Michael did. Laurie suspects him and tells her granddaughter but she doesn’t listen and makes plans to skip town with him.

Before leaving, Corey tries to kill Laurie but fails so he kills himself and makes it look like Laurie did it. Right after, Michael tries to kill Laurie and she traps him between a table and the refrigerator. She stabs him a couple of times but her granddaughter keeps stabbing him to make sure he is dead. They decide to bring all the town together and chop Michael up in front of them to end with the rumors and the leyends once and for all.

So that’s it so far!

Did you find this recap of the Halloween franchise helpful? Hopefully yes! Do you need any clarification? Honestly, I wouldn’t blame you, there are so many random moments in this franchise it’s super easy to get lost in it. Would you like a recap of any other horror franchise? Let me know your opinions in the comments below or in my contact page!

Also don’t forget to check out the rest of my blog for more reviews and cinema related articles!  😀

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