Now boasting a whopping 11 films, with two more in the works, the Halloween franchise is more than just great slashers and suspense. It’s also got a rich history and overarching storyline that leaves fans eagerly awaiting each new installment.
Here is the full Halloween franchise history and timeline, free from spoilers.
This is where it all began. John Carpenter both directed this film, and wrote its famous soundtrack.
In this movie, an escaped asylum inmate named Michael Myers decides to go on a killing spree, targeting unwitting babysitters and other teenagers in his fictional hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois.
Halloween II (1981)
This movie picks up within minutes of where the first one leaves off.
The main character from the first film, Laurie, has gone to the hospital to treat her injuries after her miraculous survival, but she is not out of the woods yet.
A shocking twist brings her back into Michael Meyer’s crosshairs, and she must once again try to make it out with her life.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
The first film in the series not to feature Michael Myers, this film instead follows an unrelated doctor as he investigates a patient’s mysterious death.
After the deceased patient’s daughter teams up with him, they uncover a massive plot that they must work together to stop.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
The fourth installment in the series is notable for bringing back the eponymous Michael Myers. It ignores the events of Halloween III, and picks up ten years after the events of Halloween II.
Michael Myers has been in a coma. After some surprising news in his hospital room, a medical miracle happens: he awakens.
Displeased with his previous killing, he sets out to find his next victims.
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Once again mimicking the style of Halloween and Halloween II, Halloween 5 picks up moments after Halloween 4 ends.
Michael Myers, having survived seemingly impossible odds, tries to find his niece. Can the police finally put an end to his merciless killing streak?
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Six years after the events of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, Jamie is kidnapped by a stranger with mysterious ties to her uncle.
Her son seems to be the real target, but why? What drives Michael Myers to kill and relentlessly pursue his own blood relatives?
And how can anyone hope to escape such a determined man?
This is not one of the more substantial Halloween movies, and deviates pretty drastically from the standard plots and themes of the franchise, but is still an enjoyable watch for diehard fans.
Halloween H2O: 20 Years Later (1998)
This movie is something of a reboot for the franchise, essentially ignoring the third through sixth films.
H2O picks up 20 years after Halloween II. It reveals that Laurie faked her own death to escape the wrath of Michael Myers, who has been missing for the past two decades.
When her son’s friends start dying mysteriously, Laurie fears that Michael Myers has come back for his revenge.
Can she finally face her fears and put an end to the madness?
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Three years later, this movie explains that the person taken down in H2O wasn’t Michael after all, but someone else.
Although Michael has seemingly survived many improbable scenarios that rightfully should have killed him, this is the first movie that depicts him as a supernatural entity, one who physically cannot be killed.
While the other humans might not understand his powers fully, there is not much hope for stopping a man who cannot die.
This film lacks a subtitle, since it isn’t another installment in the series. Instead, it is a complete remake of the original Halloween.
Director Rob Zombie hoped to breathe new life into a long-running franchise with a fresh take on the original events.
It has some significant departures from the original, and focuses more on the psyche of Michael Myers, something mostly hand-waved in previous movies.
He often doesn’t speak at all, but in this movie, Myers has entire conversations with people about his mental state and what drives him to kill.
Halloween II (2009)
The sequel to Rob Zombie’s reboot, this movie takes place a year later, and confirms once again that Michael Myers has the power to resurrect himself from even the most thorough annihilation.
Laurie must once again face the man who will stop at nothing, even his own death, to kill her. Is she up to the task?
This movie discards almost all of the previous films in the franchise.
Picking up immediately after the events of the 1978 Halloween, this is the first one where Michael Myers is not actually related to the main character, Laurie Strode.
After spending 40 years in a sanitarium after the events of 1978, Myers escapes back to Haddonfield, to wreak havoc once more.
The Future of Halloween
The creators of the franchise have announced that two more Halloween movies are scheduled for release in 2021 and 2022: Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends, respectively.
Fans don’t yet know much about these new installments beyond the titles, but word is that Halloween Kills will pick up where the 2018 Halloween left off. Additionally, Halloween Ends will be a direct sequel to Halloween Kills.
One thing is for sure: the long-running Halloween franchise, and the phantasmal Michael Myers with his deformed William Shatner mask, always makes October more fun.