Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The 7 Best And 7 Worst Scenes In The Halloween Franchise

The "Halloween" franchise is one of the most popular and enduring horror movie series, launched by filmmakers John Carpenter and Debra Hill in 1978, bringing the slasher genre to the mainstream. Predominantly following masked serial killer Michael Myers, the long-running film series has delivered the bloody thrills, with memorably terrifying scenes — but also a number of questionable narrative directions and awkwardly executed scenes. For every tautly-paced chase sequence or gruesome kill, there are convoluted subplots or scenes so out of place that they throw off the tone and flow of the wider movie.

Here are the seven best and seven worst scenes from the "Halloween" film series, from Michael pursuing his intended victims like Laurie Strode to other tales of the murderously macabre in the standalone "Halloween III." The "Halloween" franchise has certainly earned its influential place in the horror genre, with some truly impressive scenes, but not without more than a handful of stumbles along the way.

Best: The Strode women lure Michael Myers into a trap

The 2018 "Halloween" revival film provides a soft reboot of the slasher franchise's timeline, positing that Laurie Strode hasn't battled against Michael Myers since their initial encounter in 1978. In the intervening decades, Laurie has spent the rest of her life preparing for an inevitable rematch, training herself and her daughter Karen (Judy Greer). When Michael does break out of custody during a patient transfer, Laurie and Karen lure the serial killer into a trap that they've dedicated themselves towards.

With Michael entering Laurie's home from an upstairs window, Laurie systematically seals each of the rooms before being ambushed by her nemesis in a tautly crafted sequence. Michael then turns his attention to Karen, hiding out with her daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) in the house's secret basement, with Karen tearfully pleading for help. When Michael reveals himself at the top of the stairs, the Strode women spring their trap, with Karen shooting the murderer before Laurie knocks him downstairs and bars inside his own intended crematorium.

Worst: Ben Tramer gets hit by a runaway cop car

1981's "Halloween II" is the type of sequel that tries to go bigger and more bombastic than its predecessor at any cost to live up to the hype. As Doctor Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) and Sheriff Leigh Brackett (Charles Cyphers) hunt for Michael around the neighborhood, they encounter a figure wearing a near-identical mask and outfit. As the two men close in on their target, the masked figure is suddenly struck by a speeding cop car and rammed into a nearby van, exploding on impact.

The victim of the fiery crash isn't Michael, of course, but Laurie's high school crush Ben Tramer, identified by his dental records from his charred corpse. What makes the scene ludicrous is that not only does Ben not match Michael's physicality but the cop car wasn't intended to hit him at all, accidentally striking the teen as he innocuously crossed the street. From the dangerously speeding police car to a van that combusts like it was loaded with lighter fluid, the entire sequence is one of "Halloween II's" more head-scratching moments.

Best: Michael Myers claims Annie Brackett as his first victim in decades

While the original "Halloween" opens with Michael killing his older sister Judith Myers (Sandy Johnson), the first victim he claims as an adult is Laurie's best friend Annie Brackett (Nancy Kyes). The perfectly paced sequence sets the tone for the rest of the 1978 film as Michael launches a new killing spree 15 years after murdering his sister. Occurring after stalking Laurie and her friends for the first half of the movie, Michael quickly proves just how lethal he is when he finally strikes on Halloween night.

After trying to enter her locked car without her keys, Annie goes back inside and retrieves them only to find her car unlocked and the windows fogged up when she returns. As Annie ponders what is going on, Michael suddenly rises from the backseat and begins strangling Annie before slitting her throat. A masterclass in tension and structure, Carpenter begins Michael's rampage with a deliberate pace and minimal carnage on-screen as he ratchets up the stakes for the remainder of the film.

Worst: Michael Myers willingly unmasks himself and cries

Something changed in Michael Myers on Halloween night 1963, with the young boy silently putting on a mask and stabbing his teenage sister to death. Since then, Michael has become a sullen, stoic individual, seemingly existing only to stalk and kill new prey upon his escape from Smith's Grove Sanitarium. However, a key scene in "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers" has the slasher display a strange sense of humanity when confronted with his niece Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris).

Having pursued Jamie for all of "Halloween 4" and "Halloween 5," Michael finally corners the young girl in an attic and prepares to move in for the kill. Distraught, Jamie refers to Michael as her uncle, making him stop dead in his tracks and quietly remove his mask, with the killer shown to be shedding a single tear. While the moment doesn't last long before Michael reignites his usual bloodlust, the scene falls flat on arrival and is made all the stranger by the reveal that Michael has a ponytail.

Best: Michael Myers traps Jamie and her friends

After the franchise explored a different direction with 1982's "Halloween III: Season of the Witch," it went back to its slasher roots with a vengeance in 1988's "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers." With Laurie presumed dead from a car accident, Michael turned his attention to her daughter Jamie as he menaced Haddonfield on another bloody Halloween night. Even with the police on high alert after Michael's latest escape, Michael proves just as lethal as ever as he moves closer to Jamie.

After learning that Michael is on the loose and killing anyone in his path, Jamie and her friends hole up at the sheriff's house and barricade themselves inside, with a deputy to guard them. Michael still manages to sneak inside and kill the deputy, with Jamie and the others trapped inside with the masked murderer. The chase crescendos into Michael pursuing Jamie on the house's roof, leading to a harrowing race against time before the group manages to make it back to Haddonfield.

Worst: Busta Rhymes cusses out Michael Myers without consequence

2002's "Halloween: Resurrection" positioned the franchise at the advent of reality television and online streaming, with a production company attempting to stage a livestream from the decrepit Myers' home. Little did the producers and participants of this program know, the actual Michael Myers was on the loose again and decided to brutally dispatch the intruders himself. This particularly contrived premise saw Michael face off against the livestream's director, Freddie Harris, played by hip-hop artist Busta Rhymes.

The first encounter between the two men is one of the more disappointing moments of "Resurrection," with Freddie mistaking Michael for one of the actors he had hired to dress up as the slasher to scare the participants. Frustrated that he wasn't at the right location for the livestream, Freddie cussed out Michael, unaware that the actor he had hired was murdered by the man standing before him. Rather than attack Freddie, Michael shockingly leaves the scene, making Freddie the only person to talk down the serial killer without so much as lifting a finger.

Best: A test family falls prey to Silver Shamrock

"Season of the Witch" holds an oddly unique distinction with the greater "Halloween" franchise as the only film not to feature Michael Myers as its main antagonist but instead follow a completely unrelated standalone story. Rather than focusing on a single slasher, "Season of the Witch" follows the sinister machinations of Silver Shamrock, a novelty company specializing in the manufacture and sale of Halloween masks. Headed by twisted Conal Cochrane (Dan O'Herlihy), Silver Shamrock plots to restore Halloween to its pagan roots by sacrificing children wearing the company's mask.

Empowered by a stolen piece of Stonehenge, Silver Shamrock activates the black magic stored in the masks to kill whoever is wearing it and unleash lethal pestilence through a synchronized television commercial. To put this scheme to the test, a sample family is brought in, unaware of what Silver Shamrock is up to, before they are killed by the cursed mask with frightening efficiency. As far-fetched as the premise may seem, a corporate plan focused on the mass murder of children is "Halloween" at its darkest and seeing it in action is unforgettably unsettling.

Worst: Paul Rudd lays a beatdown on Michael Myers

Of all the characters to provide Michael with a crushing physical challenge, few would've thought teenager Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd) could come out as a worthy nemesis. As incredulous as it may seem, Tommy pulls off the impossible by triumphing over the slasher, beating him senseless with a lead pipe in 1995's "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers." After escaping from Michael as a child in the original "Halloween," Tommy confronts the serial killer again when he is drawn into a plot by a cult to clone Michael's pure evil.

This unhappy reunion culminated in a showdown with Michael in the cult's laboratory, after the masked murdered killed the shadowy Cult of Thorn's scientists. Tommy injects Michael with a corrosive compound before wailing on him repeatedly with a pipe until the slasher is incapacitated enough for Tommy and his friends to escape. While the corrosive makes the climax less outrageous, the idea that someone who survived being shot multiple times and set aflame could be neutralized by simpler means is patently pathetic.

Best: Michael Myers resumes the hunt for Laurie in a hospital

While on the prowl, Michael is death incarnate, relentlessly stalking his prey as he cuts a bloody path across Haddonfield on Halloween night. Though there are plenty of great chase sequences throughout the "Halloween" franchise, one that rises above the rest has Michael pursuing Laurie at the end of "Halloween II." With Laurie unconscious for much of the film, the chase is a long time coming and stands as the highlight of the 1981 sequel.

Prior to the chase, Michael had cut the power and phone lines to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital where Laurie was being held, murdering most of the staff before returning his focus to the surviving teen. What follows is a gripping chase, from the hospital's darkened halls, to its basement and into its parking lot as Laurie scrambles to evade the slasher. Moving as methodically as ever, Michael's understated chase is a masterclass in tension and capitalizes on the unsettlingly empty hospital as his new hunting ground.

Worst: Tommy Doyle becomes a rabble rouser

2021's "Halloween Kills" picks up right where the 2018 revival film left off, as Haddonfield is shocked to discover that Michael is on the loose once again and has already claimed a number of victims. As the police search for the mass murderer, several citizens decide to take matters into their own hands, led by Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), who is still haunted by that infamous Halloween night in 1978. Tommy taking charge of an angry mob is presaged during his introductory scene in "Halloween Kills," as he reminds his fellow patrons at a local dive bar why exactly this town should fear Halloween night.

The angry mob angle to "Halloween Kills" is central to the story, as a frustrated Haddonfield eschews the authorities, but one of the more awkwardly executed aspects of the film. Though Tommy, perhaps, was never intended to be particularly articulate, his opening speech is unfocused and overlong, throwing off the movie's momentum. Coupled with Tommy's repeated, ham-fisted catchphrase, "evil dies tonight," the tedious scene unfortunately sets up the uneven tone of "Halloween Kills."

Best: Michael Myers terrorizes Haddonfield with lethal efficiency

Though the 2018 "Halloween" revival posited that Michael had been locked away since 1978, retconning the franchise's sequels and reboots in the interim, the slasher hadn't lost a step. After escaping during a patient transfer from Smith's Grove, Michael regained his signature mask and mechanic uniform and returned to Haddonfield just in time for Halloween night. Upon arriving at his hometown, Michael wasted no time in proving how lethal he remained, in one of the most chilling and impressively filmed sequences in the franchise.

In two extended takes, Michael casually strolls into two separate homes in Haddonfield, moving between the Halloween revelers, and murders each of the houses' respective occupants. The scene is a portrait of just how spontaneous, calculated, and efficient Michael is with his killing, moving at a deliberate pace. With its haunting lighting and engaging cinematography, the sequence showcases "Halloween" at its finest as Michael officially renews his murderous rampage.

Worst: Laurie has strange visions of her mother

After rebooting the "Halloween" franchise in 2007, filmmaker Rob Zombie doubled down on the lurid, graphic direction he took the Michael Myers saga with the 2009 direct sequel "Halloween II." Zombie put the focus on the rebooted iteration of Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), with the teen traumatized by her first encounter with Michael and shocked by the revelation of her true parentage. As Laurie begins to spiral downward while Michael returns to Haddonfield one year after the events of the preceding film, Laurie begins to exhibit signs that evil runs in the family.

Throughout "Halloween II," Michael begins having visions of his young self and late mother Deborah (Sheri Moon Zombie) appearing to him with a white horse. As the film progresses, Laurie begins to experience these visions as well, with the strange sequences completely taking the audience out of the movie rather than offer a fuller psychological glimpse into the siblings. Awkwardly incorporated into the film, pretentiously staged, and intrusive to the story's natural flow, these visions encompass everything wrong with "Halloween II."

Best: Laurie discovers her friends massacred by Michael

The first half of the original "Halloween" is a masterclass in building tension as Michael quietly stalks Laurie and her friends throughout Haddonfield on Halloween, waiting until nightfall before he inevitably strikes. While Laurie is preoccupied by babysitting two young children, Michael systematically butchers three of her friends in houses on Lampkin Lane. When Laurie goes to investigate what happened to her friends, she stumbles in a nightmarish display arranged by Michael as "Halloween" kicks into high gear.

Laurie discovers her best friend Annie dead and splayed out on a bed with the tombstone of Michael's older sister Judith displayed above her. Horrified, Laurie finds the rest of her friends similarly positioned around the room and adjoining closet before moving back into the hallway to recollect herself. And as Laurie sobs from her traumatic discovery, Michael quietly appears in the shadows, ready to claim the high schooler as his next victim, with the iconic scene elevating the film into a horror classic.

Worst: Busta Rhymes breaks out martial arts against Michael

There are a lot of questionable moments in the "Halloween" franchise but the most egregious of them all is making Michael little more than a punching bag for Busta Rhymes in "Halloween: Resurrection." Playing livestream director Freddie, Busta gets two fights against Michael, displaying an unintentionally hilarious level of martial arts as he knocks the slasher around his childhood home. The more laughable of the two takes place in the movie's climax, during a fiery showdown in the old Myers house's garage.

As Michael corners Sara Moyer (Bianca Kajlich), one of the last survivors, in a burning garage, Sara is saved by the sudden reappearance of Freddie. Arming himself with a variety of lawn tools around the garage, Freddie is able to pummel Michael until the killer is tangled up in wires, electrocuting and burning up the villain. Of all the ways that Michael has been defeated, a dubious martial artist armed with common tools marks the most embarrassing moment of the franchise.