Your Ultimate Guide To The Halloween Movie Franchise

Your Ultimate Guide To The Halloween Movie Franchise

Few film franchises are as long-running and well-loved as the Halloween franchise. First bursting onto the scene in 1978, the terrifying Michael Myers has been haunting our nightmares for a grand total of 13 movies now.

However, it looks like it all might be coming to an end for Michael and his long-standing victim, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), with the latest instalment of the franchise, Halloween Ends. If you’re planning to catch Halloween Ends at the cinema, you’re going to need to make sure you’re up to date on the rest of the franchise. Luckily for you we’ve wrapped up everything you need to know heading into Halloween Ends. So let’s get started.

Just a note: things get a little complicated in the Halloween timeline. We’ve written this guide to help you watch the films in the best canonical order possible — with a few different paths to take. You can also watch the films in release order!

The original Halloween timeline

Halloween (1978)

The film that started it all. John Carpenter’s terrifying classic introduces Michael Myers, a maniacal killer who murdered his sister, escaped from a mental hospital and set his sights on young student Laurie Strode. A must-watch for all horror fans.

Halloween II (1981)

Written by John Carpenter, this is a direct sequel to the first film. Michael Myers follows Laurie Strode to the hospital where she is recovering, and as the film progresses we find out more about the spooky connection between Michael and Laurie.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Michael returns after a brief absence in the third film (explained in further detail below), while Jamie Lee Curtis sits this one out. This time, Michael sets out to kill his (mild spoilers ahead!) niece Jamie, the daughter of Laurie Strode. He’s once again pursued by his psychiatrist, Dr Sam Loomis.

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

Michael is back again, still trying to murder his niece Jamie after being unsuccessful last time. Jamie is unfortunately institutionalised after the trauma of Michael pursuing her.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

After some pretty bad reviews for the last two films, the franchise went pretty off the rails with this one as we delve further into the source of Michael Myers’ apparent immortality. He’s now targeting Laurie Strode’s uncle and his family, hoping to kill every last one of his relatives (he hasn’t been super successful with this so far).

The wildcard

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

This is the first film in the franchise to not include Michael Myers, a strange choice given the success of the first two movies. The idea was to turn the franchise into an anthology, not unlike American Horror Story, with this film delving into witchcraft as a stand-alone story. This was a short-lived idea.

The second Halloween timeline

Note: start with Halloween (1978) and Halloween II (1981).

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

The second timeline renders everything except the first two movies non-canon, so keep that in mind if you choose to follow this one.

This film marks the 20th anniversary of the first Halloween movie and sees Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode, living under a new name and trying to escape her past. Of course, Michael finds her once again.

Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

In a very early 2000s move, Michael’s childhood home in Haddonfield is now being used for a live internet horror show. Michael continues his murderous rampage. Unfortunately, this film was panned by critics.

The current Halloween timeline

Note: start with Halloween (1978)

Halloween (2018)

Now, the current film timeline — the one which features Halloween Ends — skips absolutely everything except the first Halloween movie. This means you really don’t have all that much to catch up on if you’re just planning to watch Halloween Ends at the movies. Easy!

Halloween (2018) follows a much older Laurie Strode, who is paranoid and obsessed with survival (understandable), leading to the estrangement of her daughter and granddaughter. The women band together though when Michael makes his inevitable return.

Halloween Kills (2021)

This film picks up where the last one ended, with Laurie and her family — with the help of the people of Haddonfield — continuing to fend off Michael. Laurie spends much of her time in this film in the hospital, but a mob led by Tommy Doyle (the small boy she babysat all those years ago) take the lead in hunting down Michael.

Halloween Ends (2022)

We don’t know too much about what happens in the latest addition to the franchise, but we do know this film will pick up four years after Halloween Kills, when Laurie is trying to finish her memoirs and living with her granddaughter. Supposedly, this film will be the final showdown between Michael and Laurie.

If you’re looking for more

If you’re looking for even more spooks, you can check out Rob Zombie’s remakes of the original first and second films in the franchise. Halloween (2007) and Halloween (2009) add a little more context/original content and are not just typical ‘remakes’, but don’t really fit neatly into any of our timelines.

Halloween Ends is in cinemas now. You can read our interview with writer and director David Gordon Green here.