You can’t kill Michael Myers, and you can’t kill the Halloween franchise, either. The horror series has been repeatedly rebooted and reimagined since the 1978 original, and it just keeps going. Here’s how to stream all of the Halloween movies.
Director John Carpenter kicked off the franchise and practically invented the slasher subgenre with this horror classic. Jamie Lee Curtis plays teen babysitter Laurie Strode in the sleepy suburb of Haddonfield, Illinois, which is terrorized by escaped killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. This movie establishes Michael’s eerily blank white mask, dingy jumpsuit, and silent, implacable demeanor. It’s full of iconic horror imagery, created by Carpenter with limited resources and boundless imagination.
Halloween is streaming on IndieFlix ($4.99 per month after a seven-day free trial), and Shudder ($5.99 per month after a seven-day free trial), for free with ads on the Roku Channel, and for free via many public libraries on Hoopla.
This sequel picks up immediately where the first movie left off, on the same night, as teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is being treated at the local hospital for her injuries, and psychiatrist Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) is still hunting Michael Myers. John Carpenter returns as co-writer and producer, ensuring a smooth transition from the previous movie, with Rick Rosenthal now directing. Halloween II establishes more key elements of the Michael Myers persona, including his pesky resistance to being killed.
Believing that the Michael Myers story had run its course, producer John Carpenter attempted to turn the Halloween series into an anthology, with this Michael-free film. Season of the Witch focuses on a doctor (played by Tom Atkins) investigating possibly evil Halloween masks, which he believes may possess the kids who wear them for trick or treating. It’s more mystical than bloody, and while audiences rejected the shift away from Michael Myers at the time, Season of the Witch has gone on to become a cult classic.
Not even John Carpenter could kill Michael Myers, who returns here after taking the third movie off. With both Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis gone, Michael now targets his young niece Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), along with various other residents of Haddonfield. Donald Pleasence’s Dr. Loomis is still on his trail, a decade after the events of the first two movies. Harris becomes the series’ emotional anchor, while the filmmakers start adding even more back story and mythology to Michael’s character.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is streaming on Shudder ($5.99 per month after a seven-day free trial) and available for digital purchase ($9.99) and rental ($3.99) from iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and other digital outlets.
Danielle Harris returns as Jamie Lloyd, once again stalked by her uncle Michael Myers, in the fifth Halloween film. Following directly from the events of the fourth movie, Halloween 5 deepens and complicates the sometimes confusing Myers mythology, as Michael is once again revived and set free. The movie is held together by Harris as Jamie and Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis, still doing everything they can to stop Michael’s latest killing spree in Haddonfield.
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers is streaming on Shudder ($5.99 per month after a seven-day free trial) and available for digital purchase ($9.99) and rental ($3.99) from iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and other digital outlets.
Featuring the final appearance of Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis, the sixth Halloween movie wraps up the increasingly convoluted storyline that kicked off in Halloween 4. Jamie Lloyd is dispatched early on, and Danielle Harris doesn’t appear. But Paul Rudd shows up in one of his earliest roles as the grown-up version of one of the kids Laurie was babysitting in the original movie. Signs of the troubled production can be seen in the disjointed final result, which was poorly received by fans and critics.
Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode for this movie that serves as a direct sequel to Halloween II, ignoring the events of the previous three movies. After faking her death, Laurie has been living in hiding under an assumed name for 20 years, raising a teenage son played by Josh Hartnett. But of course, Michael returns and tracks her down at the boarding school where she works. H20 is more grounded and streamlined than the previous three films, with Curtis bringing some much-needed respectability back to the series.
After the goodwill generated by the new start of Halloween H20, the next movie returns to a generic slasher template, killing off Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode in the first few minutes. Michael then shifts his focus to a reality show being filmed in the rundown Myers family house, slashing his way through the various contestants. It’s an effort to bring Michael into the internet age, but even the return of Halloween II director Rick Rosenthal can’t do much for the concept.
Filmmaker Rob Zombie takes over the franchise for a complete reboot, with a movie that serves as both an extended origin story for Michael Myers and a remake of John Carpenter’s original. Scout Taylor-Compton takes over as Laurie Strode, with Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis and former pro wrestler Tyler Mane as a massive version of Michael. Zombie combines his love for sleazy exploitation movies with familiar elements of the Halloween series for a remake that does more than just copy the original.
Rob Zombie returns to direct a sequel to his remake, with more leeway to pursue his own artistic style. The result is a surreal, haunting exploration of the psyches of both Laurie Strode and Michael Myers, as Laurie deals with the trauma of being a Final Girl in a horror movie. It’s still bloody and scary, but Zombie’s movie is also hallucinatory and experimental in ways that no other movies in the franchise have tried. Zombie builds on the plot of his previous movie while taking the series somewhere new.
After Rob Zombie left the franchise, producers decided to return to familiar characters and themes. Once again, this movie ignores most of what came before, serving instead as a direct sequel to the original Halloween. John Carpenter is on board as executive producer to guide director and co-writer David Gordon Green. Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode, who’s been living as a recluse since her encounter with Michael 40 years ago. After being locked up for all that time, Michael escapes to come after Laurie and her family.
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