Halloween: The complete timeline and how to watch the horror series in full

Your comprehensive guide to all eleven Halloween movies.

It’s October, which can only mean one thing: Halloween is coming. Not to mention Halloween movies and our annual 31 Nights of Horror.

Yep, a whopping 40+ years after John Carpenter’s original Halloween movie wrote the slasher rulebook, we’re back for one last round of trick-or-treating.

But with 12 (TWELVE) movies in the Halloween franchise and not all of them actually following on from one another, how the hell do you watch them? (Just to give you a flavor of the problem, the writers of the newest sequel informally called their version “Halloween II 3“.)

You’ll want to start at the beginning, which means starting with Halloween (1978), of course. Or Halloween (2007). Um, or Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982). Click on the links to skip to the right place in our Choose Your Own Adventure-style timeline. Here we go…

START HERE: Halloween (1978)

(Director: John Carpenter. Writers: John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Nick Castle and PJ Soles)

Back in 1963, young Michael Myers violently stabs his sister Judith to death. After 15 years in hospital, he escapes, despite the best efforts of his childhood psychiatrist Dr Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence).

Myers kills a mechanic, nicks his uniform and a creepy white mask, and, what with it being Halloween, decides to stalk high schooler Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). He gruesomely offs her friends one by one before his final* confrontation with Laurie and Loomis.

(*Not actually final.)

Halloween II (1981)

(Director: Rick Rosenthal. Writers: John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Dick Myers)

Despite being stabbed every which way and even being shot off a balcony, Michael Myers survives the events of Halloween and goes after Laurie once more, killing oodles of people in the meantime to keep busy.

Meanwhile, Loomis finds out the secret connection between Michael and Laurie, before seemingly sacrificing himself to put an end to Myers’s reign of terror.


Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

(Director: Tommy Lee Wallace. Writer: Tommy Lee Wallace. Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O’Herlihy)

The only movie in the Halloween franchise that has nothing to do with Michael Myers. After the story ended with Halloween II, the idea was to keep the name but introduce annual standalone films.

First up (and last up) was Season of the Witch. Its original script was written by Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale and suitably mixes up a quirky dose of 1980s sci-fi with Celtic witchy chills for a throw-everything-at-the-kitchen-sink-including-yes-robots approach.

Halloween III is so out-of-universe it even features a character watching a trailer for Halloween, and the lack of Michael Myers annoyed everyone so much that they canned the whole anthology idea.


Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

(Director: Dwight H. Little. Writer: Alan B McElroy. Starring: Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, George P Wilbur)

After the flop that was Halloween III, a lesson was learned. No Michael Myers, No Halloween. So Michael Myers is back and they’re even yelling about it in the title.

It turns out that Michael didn’t die at the end of Halloween II, and neither did Loomis. Jamie Lee Curtis was off doing hit comedies though, so the only main character who had supposedly actually survived is unceremoniously killed off in an off-screen car crash.

After ten years in a coma, Michael Myers returns and this time he’s on the hunt for Laurie’s previously-unmentioned daughter (and his niece) Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), who grew up with a foster family.

Michael goes on a killing spree once more, and this time the entire city rises up in an attempt to stop him. Myers is eventually killed* (*he isn’t), but there’s a twist ending that suggests his legacy is far from over.

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

(Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard. Writers: Michael Jacobs, Dominique Othenin-Girard and Shem Bitterman. Starring: Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Don Shanks)

Despite the whole being-shot-down a-mineshaft thing, it turns out that Michael Myers is still alive. He slips into another coma before waking up for, you guessed it, another killing spree, while being stalked by Loomis, who just refuses to give this one up.

After the events of the last movie, Jamie (Laurie’s daughter, Michael’s niece) is now mute as a result of all that unpleasantness but has somehow forged a psychic link with Myers. On regaining her wherewithal, she teams up with Loomis to lure Michael and put him away for good*.

(*Not actually for good.)

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

(Director: Joe Chappelle. Writer: Daniel Farrands. Starring: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Marianne Hagan, Devin Gardner, J.C. Brandy, George P Wilbur)

For the last* movie in the series (*not the last movie) Danielle Harris left as Jamie, being recast by JC Brandy. Donald Pleasence does return though as Dr Sam Loomis for the last time, in one of his final films.

Meanwhile Paul Rudd (yes, that Paul Rudd), stars as Tommy Doyle, who first appeared in Halloween, then popped up in Halloween II (and a tiny bit of Halloween 4). Tommy was one of the kids Laurie Strode babysat. Now in his mid-20s, he takes Jamie’s baby into his care after her grisly demise and tries to protect the Strode brood from Michael Myers’s evil machinations.

Oh, and Michael’s six-film reign of terror? It turns out it’s all because of the mysterious “Curse of Thorn”, and that Myers is himself a victim of a Druid cult. Okay.

Beset by constant on-set script changes and hefty reshoots after troubled test screenings (including a completely re-shot ending), the film has a reputation for being a bit of a bloody mess in every way. The screenplay pretty much went through a corn thresher, and so did the rushes.

Like the Cult of Thorn itself, the film does still have its devoted acolytes, and their lobbying saw the eventual release of the so-called ‘Producer’s Cut’, which restores that original creepy ending and some other bits and bobs.

END OF THIS TIMELINE (Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween 4, Halloween 5, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers)

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

(Director: Steve Miner. Writers: Robert Zappia and Matt Greenberg. Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Durand, Michelle Williams, Josh Hartnett)

Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode, 20 years later. But didn’t she get killed off before Halloween 4? Okay, it turns out that Halloween 45 and 6 didn’t happen. Surprise! This timeline pretends that they just never existed.

H20 is instead a direct sequel to Halloween II, and although it sort-of acknowledges Laurie’s car crash “death” from Halloween 4, it turns out she faked it and is now living as headteacher Keri Tate.

Meanwhile, the late Sam Loomis’s assistant Marion Chambers is killed by… you guessed it, a returning Michael Myers. He’s on another of those darn killing sprees, before he and Laurie Strode come mask-to-face for the first time in two decades, and Myers is finally killed*.

(*He isn’t.)

Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

(Director: Rick Rosenthal. Writers: Larry Brand and Sean Hood. Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kakilich, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tyra Banks, Brad Loree)

H20 revived the franchise and gave it the perfect ending, but a victim of its own success, it spawned another direct sequel. Jamie Lee Curtis was cajoled back to play Laurie Strode one last time, with the character being killed off for good* this time early on (*she isn’t).

It turns out that Laurie didn’t actually kill Michael last time around, but instead a hapless medic with whom he’d swapped clothes. Doh! Faking a catatonic state, she eventually has a final confrontation with Michael, with Myers getting the better of her as she hesitates.

A year on, a bunch of college students enter reality TV show Dangertainment… they have to spend a night in Michael Myers’s old home for the sake of web-based telly lolz, and you can guess how well that ends up.

END OF THIS TIMELINE (Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween H20, Halloween: Resurrection)


Halloween (2007)

(Director: Rob Zombie. Writer: Rob Zombie. Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Scout Taylor-Compton, Sheri Moon Zombie, Danielle Harris, Brad Dourif, Tyler Mane)

Despite plans for a straightforward Halloween 8 (or should that be Halloween 5 II?) following on from Resurrection, things took a leftward turn.

The very first Halloween was instead remade/rebooted by heavy metal thrasher Rob Zombie with Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode and A Clockwork Orange‘s Malcolm McDowell as Dr Sam Loomis.

Rob Zombie’s Halloween more or less follows the template of the original movie, though it fleshes things out a bit (in more ways than one) by having much more focus on Myers’s original murderous antics as a child.

Although the film takes place in a completely different universe to the Carpenter original and all its sequels, Danielle Harris returns, but this time playing Laurie’s pal Annie rather than her daughter Jamie.

Halloween II (2009)

(Director: Rob Zombie. Writer: Rob Zombie. Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Scout Taylor-Compton, Sheri Moon Zombie, Danielle Harris, Brad Dourif, Tyler Mane)

With Zombie’s Halloween being a massive commercial (if not critical) success, a sequel was inevitable.

Set two years on from its predecessor, we find out that Laurie is battling psychological problems, Dr Loomis is writing books about all this palaver, and Michael is somehow still alive.

As per, Laurie and Michael end up on a collision course, and as usual, despite Laurie’s seeming victory there’s a twist in the tale.

END OF THIS TIMELINE (Halloween (2007), Halloween II (2009)) AND END OF INTERLUDE

Halloween (2018)

(Director: David Gordon Green. Writers: Jeff Fradley, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green. Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Virginia Gardner, Nick Castle)

Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode, 40 years later. But didn’t she die in Halloween: Resurrection?

Okay, it turns out that Halloween: Resurrection didn’t happen. And nor did Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. Or Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Or Halloween 45 or 6. Or the Rob Zombie remakes. Or even Halloween II. Surprise!

After plans for a sequel to Halloween II (2009) (called Halloween 3D) and/or Halloween II (1981) (called Halloween Returns) fell through, the new Halloween, aka Halloween (2018), picks up exactly where Halloween (1978) left off, sort of.

“We’re kind of ignoring all the films past the first one,” said writer Danny McBride. “It picks up after the first one, but it’s sort of an alternate reality. It’s as if the first Halloween ended in a slightly different way.”


Anyway, John Carpenter’s back as a composer, executive producer, and creative consultant in the Blumhouse production, and Nick Castle is back as The Shape/Mike Myers for the first time since the original movie, too.

Halloween: (2021) is released on October 13, 2021


So, what do you think of this list? Did you make it all the way through? Please let us know in the comments and if you will, head over to our Scary Movies at the Fort Facebook page for more information and to see what we are watching during this year’s #31NightsofHorror