(Pocket-lint) - Halloween is the perfect time to watch one of the scariest guys to ever wear a jumpsuit: Michael Myers. His reign of terror started decades ago and now spans 11 Halloween films. But they don't all follow a neat order. 

The franchise was rebooted a couple times - in 1998 and 2018 - plus there's a Rob Zombie remake of the original film. That makes it hard to cobble together a chronological guide, but it's not impossible, given most of the films have him stalking poor Laurie Strode. So, we’ve made an order that follows the king of slasher flicks from his early days at 45 Lampkin Lane to today.

Halloween movies: Best viewing orders
Chronological movie order (spoilers)Chronological movie order (spoiler-free)
John Carpenter movie order (spoiler-free)Theatrical release order (spoiler-free)

Every Halloween movie in chronological order

We’ve included a spoiler-free version of this guide at the bottom, along with a theatrical release date and reboot orders.

NOTE: THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW.

Halloween (1978)

Halloween (1978)

The first Halloween film kicks off Halloween night, of course, in 1963. We see a six-year-old Michael Myers murder his older sister with a kitchen knife at 45 Lampkin Lane. Fifteen years pass and Myers breaks out from an institution where he’s been held, and his psychiatrist, Samuel Loomis (Donald Pleasance), is forced to chase him. Myers returns to his old home town of Haddonfield, Illinois to prey on some unsuspecting babysitters led by Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode. John Carpenter directed this film and wrote it with Debra Hill.

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Halloween II (1981)

Halloween II (1981)

Picking up right at the end of the original film, we see Laurie transported to a hospital after supposedly defeating Michael Myers. But he gets up and walks away from a series of stabbings and gunshot wounds that would otherwise kill most people. Although Dr Loomis initially thinks Michael has been indiscriminately targeting babysitters, he soon learns the killer is after Laurie for a specific reason.

Rick Rosenthal directed this film, but John Carpenter returned to write and produce it with Debra Hill.

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Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers(1988)

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Yes, we skipped Halloween III. More on that later. Halloween IV, directed by Dwight Little, picks up 10 years after the events of the first two films, with Michael Myers awakening from a coma and heading out to find and kill Laurie’s daughter, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris). For those wondering, Laurie “died” in an off-screen car accident before the events in Halloween 4.

Also, John Carpenter didn't write or produce this film. He did Halloween III but doesn't come back to the franchise until 2018's Halloween.

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Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

The end of Halloween 4 saw Michael Myers shot repeatedly and thrown down a mineshaft. This fifth film sees his body wash up in a creek, where a man who lives alone in the woods finds him. He spends a year taking care of Michael’s comatose body before he awakes on Halloween night. Michael immediately kills the man and heads out to find Jamie (Danielle Harris), who is in therapy from her last run-in with him. 

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Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Set six years later, The Curse of Michael Myers opens with Jamie, now played by JC Brandy, as a prisoner of a cult that broke Michael free at the end of Halloween 5. She has been forced to carry a child and dies during an escape attempt. She manages to hide her infant, though, who is then found by Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd), the young boy that Laurie Strode babysat in the first Halloween film.

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Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

H20 opens with Michael Myers vandalising the home of his recently deceased former psychiatrist. He discovers that Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) faked her death and has been living as the principle of a private boarding school that her own son John (Josh Hartnett) attends.

Michael Myers, naturally, arrives just in time for a Halloween family reunion. 

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Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

This installment sees two things we never thought we’d see: Michael Myers finally gets to kill Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), and he gets to karate-fight Busta Rhymes. The film opens with Laurie institutionalised following the events of H20 three years earlier, and Michael comes to pay her a visit. After that, he heads to his old abandoned home to find the contestants of a reality show who want to spend a night with him. 

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Halloween (2018)

Halloween (2018) 

The highest-grossing film in the franchise is also the most recent. It's another reboot, but it serves as a direct sequel to the original Halloween, meaning it treats all the other movies as if they didn’t happen. Since it was so successful, it has two more sequels in the works.

Jamie Lee Curtis once again returns as Laurie Strode. She is still traumatised from the Halloween night 40 years earlier when Michael Myers came home. She is living a reclusive life in a heavily fortified house. She keeps in touch with her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), but rarely sees her daughter, who was taken away from her as a child. Luckily, Myers breaks out of an asylum to host some family therapy.

David Gordon Green directed this Halloween film. The upcoming sequels are called Halloween Kills (which was recently delayed to October 2021) and Halloween Ends (coming October 2022). Green is slated to direct both of them.

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Halloween (2007)

Halloween (2007)

We’re closing out our watch guide with the two Rob Zombie remakes. The first film, also just called Halloween, confusingly, follows the same course of events as the original film, but it's set decades later and focuses on different aspects, such as the lead-up to Michael Myers' first murders as a child in 1990. We also see his years of therapy with Dr Loomis (Malcolm McDowell).

The story still ends in the same place, with Michael escaping and heading back to Haddonfield to find Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton). 

We’re putting this film toward the end because it's a separate timeline. It's still good to watch, as it fleshes out Michael's background, but that’s not something everyone wanted, including John Carpenter himself. It doesn’t help that, by the end of Rob Zombie's second Halloween film, Myers' background and motivations are muddied by a lot of the same characteristics as his slasher-movie brethren Jason Vorhees.

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Halloween 2 (2009)

Halloween II (2009)

Set a year after the first Rob Zombie-helmed Halloween, Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) is still dealing with the trauma from the previous Halloween. Michael Myers, meanwhile, has been living on the run as a hitchhiker, until he begins to have visions of his mother calling for him to return home and find Laurie. Halloween II tries to flesh out the connection between Michael and Laurie.

This Zombie film is a reimagining of the Halloween franchise, but it isn’t a great movie. It manages to be darker than the original films, however. 

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Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1985)

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

The final movie in our guide is technically the third-released film from the Halloween franchise.

Released in 1982, Season of the Witch is a failed attempt at creating a Halloween anthology series. That means it has nothing to connect it to anything else in the Halloween Universe. There's not even a Michael Myers. Instead, Halloween III revolves around a devious plot by a company that makes Halloween masks and is planning to murder every child wearing one of its masks using Stonehenge-powered computer chips.

James Carpenter, the original Halloween director, produced this film with Debra Hill.

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The complete Halloween timeline at a glance

Every Halloween film in chronological order

OK, so here is the at-a-glance version of the guide above, only free of spoilers:

  • Halloween (1978)
  • Halloween II (1981)
  • Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
  • Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
  • Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
  • Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998)
  • Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
  • Halloween (2018)
  • Halloween (2007)
  • Halloween 2 (2009)
  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1985)

Theatrical release order

Here is every Halloween movie in the order they released in theatres:

  • Halloween (1978)
  • Halloween II (1981)
  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1985)
  • Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
  • Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
  • Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
  • Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998)
  • Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
  • Halloween (2007)
  • Halloween 2 (2009)
  • Halloween (2018)

John Carpenter order

John Carpenter wrote and directed the first Halloween film and went on to participate in three more films in the franchise. Here are his films:

  • Halloween (1978)
  • Halloween II (1981)
  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1985)
  • Halloween (2018)

Original Halloween films order 

Here are all the original Halloween films before the franchise started to get rebooted:

  • Halloween (1978)
  • Halloween II (1981)
  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1985)
  • Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
  • Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
  • Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Halloween H20 reboot order

The franchise was rebooted with H20, which didn't count Halloween III through VI. Here's this reboot order:

  • Halloween (1978)
  • Halloween II (1981)
  • Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998)
  • Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Second Halloween reboot order

The franchise was rebooted again in 2018, where it only includes the original Halloween. Here are the two films in that order:

  • Halloween (1978)
  • Halloween (2018)

Did you like this?

Then maybe you'll like our other movie order viewing guides:

We also have these rumour round-ups on upcoming movies:

Writing by Maggie Tillman.
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