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The Entire Halloween Story Finally Explained

John Carpenter only had $300,000 to work with when he made "Halloween" in 1978. The production relied heavily on cost-saving tricks, including costume designers who hit up the local department store for cheap clothing and used an old William Shatner mask to craft the villain's persona. In other words, expectations were low, and the film's producers hoped for little more than to break even. In the end, "Halloween" would become a great success for Carpenter, and he'd be credited with popularizing the modern slasher.

The film gave birth to a huge horror franchise, one that now consists of multiple sequels, reboots, and remakes. But the story itself, the one that started with an escaped killer stalking a teenage babysitter on Halloween night, has had so many twists and turns over the years that trying to sort out more than four decades of Michael Myers can be a little confusing, especially the more variations on Michael's mask appear.

No worries, though — we've laid out the whole "Halloween" timeline in detail. From that first night of terror in Haddonfield to Michael's bloody return 40 years later, here's the entire "Halloween" story finally explained. And yes, "Season of the Witch" is covered here too.

1978: A monster is born on Halloween night

Technically, "Halloween" begins its story on Halloween night in Haddonfield, Illinois, in 1963. A teenage Judith Myers should be babysitting her 6-year-old brother, Michael. What Judith is actually doing is her boyfriend. She isn't paying attention to Michael at all, and he's decided he's going to spend his evening engaging in sororicide. After slaughtering his sister, he's institutionalized at Smith's Grove Sanitarium, where his psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) has become convinced that Michael is "pure evil" and should never be allowed back into the world.

Unfortunately for Loomis (and the residents of Haddonfield), Michael escapes in 1978 and heads back to his hometown, looking to pick up right where he left off in 1963, but not without first making a quick pitstop at the local cemetery to grab his sister's tombstone. When he gets home, he finds high schooler Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) hanging around, so of course he decides to make her and her friends his next targets.

For the rest of the night, Michael stalks and kills Laurie's friends, one by one. He even sets up a nice memorial scene with his sister's old tombstone at one point. But Laurie is stronger than Michael gives her credit for, and she manages to fend him off long enough to allow Loomis to arrive on the scene and shoot him six times, knocking him off a balcony and onto the ground below. Does he die? Please, we've got a whole bunch of movies left to go.

1978: Family ties in Halloween II

"Halloween II" picks up right where "Halloween" leaves off (even if Laurie's hair says otherwise). Laurie has been taken to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, presumably to be treated for shock but also for a hand injury that somehow requires her to remain bedridden. Michael survived his fall from the balcony, and he follows Laurie to the hospital because he's not one to let his victims get away. It's also discovered that Laurie is — surprise! — Michael's younger sister, and Michael is — even bigger surprise! — possibly being kept alive because of a Samhain curse.

Michael wanders through the hospital in search of Laurie, killing anyone and everyone that gets in his path, while Loomis starts his inevitable descent into madness, trying to convince anyone within earshot of Michael's evil immortality. He's ordered back to Smith's Grove, but he returns to Haddonfield in time to face Michael once more — a confrontation that ends with Michael stabbing him in the stomach and Loomis setting up the hospital to explode. Laurie gets out in time, but Michael and Loomis are trapped inside when the building goes up in flames.

1982: Killer Halloween masks and an ancient Celtic ritual

Michael Myers takes a backseat for a few years after the hospital explosion that should've killed him but definitely didn't, so maybe he was just busy regenerating in 1982. Regardless, "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" takes place in Northern California a few days prior to the holiday. A man clutching a jack-o'-lantern mask is mysteriously murdered by a group of other, well-dressed men. Dan Challis (Tom Atkins) was the doctor in charge of mask man's care, so he takes it upon himself to try and solve his murder.

He traces the crime all the way back to Silver Shamrock Novelties and a man named Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy), who's somehow managed to steal a piece of Stonehenge, which he plans to use as part of a sacrifice involving children and his trio of Halloween masks. The goal here is to reclaim the Samhain holiday for witches, but Dan thwarts Cochran's plan, for the most part. There are robots, killer bugs, and the possibility of a whole lot of child death (it ends with one serious cliffhanger), but no Michael Myers.   

1988: The saga of Laurie Strode's daughter

A decade has passed since the last time we saw Michael Myers. As it turns out, he's been in a coma since the hospital explosion, but he's awakened just in time to hunt his niece, Jamie (Danielle Harris), on Halloween. Jamie, as it happens, is the 7-year-old daughter of Laurie and some guy, who both died in a car accident. She's currently living with a family known as the Carruthers, but her true lineage isn't a secret, so she's bullied pretty heavily by her peers.

"Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers" is a pretty straightforward slasher flick, in that the bulk of the film is made up of Michael Myers killing a bunch of poorly developed characters in the most ridiculous ways imaginable — like digging his thumb into an ambulance driver's forehead or throwing an electrician onto a transformer that controls the power for the entire town. But eventually, Loomis returns (because he's somehow managed to survive that hospital explosion, as well), and he helps Jamie defeat her uncle with the help of a town lynch mob. 

Sadly, it seems as though psychopathy runs in the family, and even after Michael falls through a mine shaft, Jamie is left traumatized to the point that she tries to kill her foster mother with a pair of scissors.

1989: The telepathic family link

The weird connection between Jamie and her uncle is further explored in "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers," which picks up immediately after "The Return of Michael Myers." Michael, wounded from the attempt on his life in the previous film, comes across a man living in a cave before he passes out for an entire year, only to wake up on Halloween Eve 1989 in the care of the cave-dwelling man. Michael immediately kills him and sets course for his niece, who's been living as a mute at the Haddonfield Children's Clinic since the last Michael incident.

Now, though, it's clear that Jamie and Michael are connected on a deeper level than just blood. The two are psychically paired somehow, so everything Michael does from here on out, Jamie sees. After his killing spree, Jamie tries to connect with him emotionally, but Michael Myers isn't interested in anything other than murder. Loomis tries to swoop in to the rescue, but he's taken out — by a stroke of all things. There's no hero here, just a random set of circumstances that lead to Michael's arrest. In the end, though, a strange "Man in Black" who's been following Michael for the entire film comes to the police station to retrieve him. So, what's up with the dude in black? Well, horror fans would have to wait six years to find out the answer to that one.

1995: Cults and the Curse of Thorn

As it happens, that Man in Black who showed up in "The Revenge of Michael Myers" is the leader of a Druid cult that has some sort of connection to Michael on account of a mark the killer has on the inside of his wrist. Turns out, it's indicative of the "curse of Thorn," which is what's responsible for both Michael's immortality and his insatiable desire to kill his living family members. 

Six years after the events of the previous film, "Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers" finds that Jamie (now played by J.C. Brandy) has delivered a baby in the captivity of the cult. If you're doing the math, yes, Jamie is a 14-year-old mother, who, on top of having just had a baby that the cult takes great interest in, must also try and outrun her uncle and escape the cult's clutches. She doesn't, and Michael impales her on some farm equipment. 

The rest of the film shifts focus to Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd in his big screen debut), the young boy that Laurie Strode used to babysit. He's obsessed with the curse of Thorn, and he winds up actually being one of its carriers. But he wants to be a good guy, which he does when he helps Loomis take Michael down.

1998: The first Halloween reset

Two decades after the original "Halloween," Laurie Strode made her return to the franchise with "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later." The beauty of this film is that it gets back to basics, effectively wiping out everything that's happened post-"Halloween II." Michael Myers is still family, but Laurie is alive, having faked her death, and she's working as the headmistress of her son — not daughter — John's (Josh Hartnett) private boarding school in Summer Glen, California. 

Michael reappears 20 years after that hospital explosion and manages to track Laurie down via an old file that one of Loomis' colleagues had on hand. In spite of her overprotective nature, Laurie can't protect John and his friends from Michael's wrath, and on Halloween night, the masked killer stalks and murders pretty much everyone at the school before Laurie can subdue him with a barrage of bullets.

She doesn't stop there, though. She also hijacks the coroner's van with Michael's body, sends the slasher through the windshield, pins him to a fence, and then takes an ax to his head. All these years later, Laurie has finally gotten her revenge ... except for one tiny detail.

2001: Michael Myers stars in an internet reality show

As it turns out, the man Laurie decapitated in "Halloween H20" wasn't actually Michael. Instead, it was a paramedic with a crushed larynx that Michael had tricked her into thinking was him. Three years later, in "Halloween: Resurrection," Laurie is nearly comatose (or so the hospital staff assumes), biding her time at Grace Andersen Sanitarium and waiting for a final final showdown with her older brother. She gets it, but things don't go as planned. Having accidentally killed an innocent man has really gotten to her, so instead of taking her shot, Laurie winds up with a knife in her back before she plummets off the roof.

This is where things sort of go off the rails. From Grace Andersen, we head to the old Myers house, where a group of college kids have agreed to star in a sort of investigative web series headed up by Nora (Tyra Banks) and Freddie (Busta Rhymes). Michael follows the group into the house and proceeds to kill each hopeful internet star, all in front of a live audience who assumes for a good part of the night that everything happening has been set up by Nora and Freddie. When the Myers house is accidentally set ablaze, Michael is trapped inside and "dies." But we all know how that actually plays out.

2007: The whole thing is rebooted from the ground-up

Five years later, filmmaker and musician Rob Zombie remade John Carpenter's original "Halloween" as his own, complete with the Zombie charm. In this reimagining, Dr. Loomis is played by Malcolm McDowell, Laurie Strode is played by Scout Taylor-Compton, and Michael Myers is played by Tyler Mane of "X-Men" fame. But the re-castings aren't the only serious change. With 2007's "Halloween," the story focuses more on Michael himself than it does Laurie. 

In many ways, this picture acts as a prequel and a remake, taking its time to embellish Michael's upbringing and childhood leading up to his eventual killing spree in Haddonfield. Like previous incarnations, Laurie is once again Michael's younger sister — originally named Angel Myers — and Michael spends much of the film slashing his way through folks to get her to remember that. But she doesn't, and the movie ends with Laurie locked in mortal combat with her long-lost older brother. 

In the final moments, Michael sends the two of them over the balcony of their old house, and once Laurie wakes, she shoots her brother. While this one is sort of an odd addition to the "Halloween" saga — especially with the absence of the series' biggest stars — it's not a bad reimagining when you boil it all down.

2009: The slasher roles are reversed

Unlike other classic slasher remakes such as the 2009 "Friday the 13th" or the 2010 "A Nightmare on Elm Street," Rob Zombie's "Halloween" did well enough to warrant a sequel. So, in 2009, the second film known as "Halloween II" was released and it (mostly) picked up a year after the events of the first. Unsurprisingly, Michael survived his near-fatal encounter with his sister and has been drifting for months. But now that Halloween has come again, he returns to Haddonfield with a vengeance.

Now living with the sheriff and his family, Laurie works through her trauma, but when Dr. Loomis' new book about the Haddonfield murders is released, she discovers her true identity as Angel Myers. This revelation shatters Laurie, but what makes it worse is what happens when Michael arrives and kills her friends. After abducting Laurie, Michael and his sister both see the same deranged visions of their dead mother, who calls to them. Soon after, Loomis is killed by Michael, and Laurie turns on her brother and kills him herself.

Taking Michael's mask as her own, "Halloween II" ends with Scout Taylor-Compton's Laurie Strode locked up in a psych ward, still reeling from the visions of her dead mother. It's not the most uplifting ending to this "Halloween" duology, but maybe not the worst one possible, either. Either way, Michael and Laurie aren't totally down for the count, their final adventures together await.

2018: Halloween returns to form, with some significant changes

After all that, what more could Laurie Strode go through? Well, 2018's "Halloween" has a few ideas. Ignoring the Rob Zombie reboots and every other sequel since the original, the 2018 film takes place 40 years after Michael's first attack on Haddonfield. Here, Laurie — with Jamie Lee Curtis returning to the role — and Michael aren't siblings, and both are very much alive. Although Laurie's daughter, now named Karen (Judy Greer), is convinced her mother is clinically insane.

Michael has been locked up for decades, but after a pair of investigative reporters try to interview him, he decides it's been long enough and sets out for a final face-off with the babysitter who got away. Meanwhile, Laurie has spent her life doomsday prepping for the day she'd meet Michael again, which means she's been hoarding a lot of ammo — and pushed away her daughter. Laurie's granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), wants a relationship with her, but Karen is reluctant to let it happen.

Everything changes when Michael returns, and Laurie, Karen, and Allyson team up to take him down. The entire thing is somewhere between a sequel and an homage to the original. Even Michael's psychiatrist, Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), feels a lot like the original Loomis in many ways ... except for the part where he's actually the one responsible for Michael's escape. Eventually, the Strode women defeat Michael, but the story isn't over.

2018: The longest Halloween continues

Although "Halloween Kills" was released in 2021, the movie takes place on the very same All Hallows' Eve as the 2018 revival. As it turns out, locking Michael in the basement of a burning house only works if the fire department doesn't arrive. After their unfortunately successful rescue attempt, the killer quickly escapes to kill everyone in his path. Having sustained plenty of injuries themselves, the Strode women end up in the hospital as the entire town of Haddonfield — now recognizing that Michael is loose — goes nuts.

The town soon becomes as unhinged as Michael himself, blaming members of the community for the various killings and turning to violence against one another. All of it comes to a head when Michael returns to his childhood home and the townsfolk of Haddonfield arrive to take him out themselves. After beating up the killer, Michael seems to feed off their rage and turns on them. As expected, it's a slaughter, and soon Michael comes out on top.

Returning once more to his old house, Michael enters his childhood room and kills Karen, who was there hoping to find some closure to all of this. Turns out, closure is a lot to ask for, and as soon as she's murdered, the killer disappears into the night. But even this isn't the end.

2022: The story comes to an end

Director David Gordon Green's "Halloween" revival trilogy ends with the obviously titled "Halloween Ends." Four years after "Kills," 2022's "Ends" sees Laurie and Allyson living together and moving on with their lives after Michael killed Karen and skipped town. The transition has clearly been tough, but they've persevered after all their shared trauma. Life seems relatively normal ... until Allyson starts dating a loner and accidental child-killer Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), who, after a brief (and almost supernatural) encounter with Michael in the sewers, becomes a killer himself.

Understandably, Laurie sees the spirit of Michael within Corey, but Allyson is deceived. It isn't long before Corey starts thriving on the killing, and even fights Michael for his trademark white mask. After nearly taking out Corey herself, Laurie is attacked in her home by Michael — but not before he kills his protege and reclaims his mantle. Having been convinced by family friend Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton) that Corey is just like Michael, Allyson arrives to help take the monster out once and for all.

With the help of the townsfolk of Haddonfield, Laurie and Allyson throw Michael's corpse into an industrial shredder, and the curse over the town is finally broken. As his body is ripped apart, it looks like this is the final end of Michael Myers, and the "Halloween" franchise has come to a seemingly definite close.

What's next for the Halloween saga?

After three "Halloween," movies, two films titled "Halloween II," and a seemingly final installment called "Halloween Ends," it's unclear where the story of Michael Myers, Laurie Strode, or the town of Haddonfield could go next. With Michael ripped to shreds in the last installment, it seems like his return would be impossible ... shy of a full reboot, that is. Either way, it looks as if 2022's "Halloween Ends" is likely the end of the franchise, at least for now.

"They can go off and make however many 'Halloween' movies they want to make now and create a whole new narrative," Curtis told The New York Times in 2022. "But our four movies [referring to the original 1978 film and the 2018 trilogy] can be played as a perfect quad." It seems as if Curtis is done, and director David Gordon Green is, too. After "Ends," it seems as if Blumhouse has officially wiped their hands from the "Halloween" franchise, but that doesn't mean Michael Myers won't be back one day.

That day may come sooner than we think. In October 2023, Miramax landed the television rights to the "Halloween" franchise. "We couldn't be more excited to bring 'Halloween' to television," Miramax executive Marc Helwig told Deadline. 

It seems like maybe the franchise, and possibly Michael Myers, isn't too dead after all.