The Shape of things to come.
"I met him 15 years ago, I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this...six year old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and...the blackest eyes; the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply…evil."
— Dr. Samuel Loomis, Halloween (1978).
In 1978, John Carpenter
and producer Debra Hill made Halloween
, a low-budget independent horror film. The success of this film popularized the Slasher Movie
genre and inspired other similar franchises such as Friday the 13th
- and it also turned the film into the first of a major horror film franchise.
The series starts off with the original two films:
- Halloween (1978) — At the age of 6, Michael Myers stabbed his older sister Judith to death on Halloween; this led to his incarceration at a mental hospital. Fifteen years later, Michael escapes from the hospital on the night before Halloween and returns to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois to stalk teenager Laurie Strode and her friends. Only Sam Loomis, Michael's former psychiatrist, stands any chance of stopping Michael.
- Halloween II (1981) — On the same night as the original film, Laurie gets taken to a hospital to recover from Michael Myers' attack, but the serial killer follows her there. The film soon reveals the reason Michael stalks Laurie: he wants to kill his long-lost sister, who doesn't know about the familial relationship between them.
Carpenter followed those films with:
- Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) — A toymaker uses rocks from Stonehenge to create masks that cause children's heads to explode into writhing piles of snakes and bugs if they watch certain Halloween commercials. This plan also involves robots and lasers. Carpenter originally envisioned the Halloween franchise as a Genre Anthology series, which makes Halloween III the only film of the franchise that doesn't feature Michael. The film's poor reception killed the anthology idea, though.
From there, the films go off into a couple of different continuities. First, we have the three direct sequels:
- Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) — Michael Myers awakens from a ten-year coma just before Halloween to return to Haddonfield and kill Laurie Strode's young daughter, Jamie, who lives with a foster family.
- Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) — After the events of the previous film, Jamie lands in a mental hospital to help her recover. Michael uses his psychic link to Jamie to lure his young niece to him by stalking her friend Tina.
- Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) — Years after the previous film, a group called The Cult of Thorn try to kidnap an adult Jamie's newborn baby, Steven, as part of a plan involving Michael (who keeps trying to kill his niece).
The alternate continuity comes next:
- Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998) — This film ignores the events of the previous three films. Twenty years after the first two films, Laurie Strode — who faked her death to escape Michael — runs a boarding school under the assumed name of Keri Tate. After years of searching for her, Michael finally manages to track her down to finish the job he started twenty years ago.
- Halloween: Resurrection (2002) — Michael finally kills Laurie, then returns to Haddonfield to find an Internet reality show has set up shop in his old house. The contestants and crew get more than they bargained for when Michael decides to kill the trespassers.
, the franchise laid dormant until Rob Zombie brought it back and rebooted the story
- Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007) — This film, directed by Rob Zombie, reimagines the original film while adding a more extensive look at Michael's childhood in the first half of the film. (The second half follows the events of the original film, albeit at a quicker pace and with bloodier violence).
- Rob Zombie's Halloween II (2009) — On the night of the previous film, the body of Michael Myers — who had been shot point-blank in the face — disappears en route to the morgue. One year later, Laurie Strode continues to struggle with nightmares about Michael, Dr. Loomis attempts to spin his experiences with Michael into fame and fortune, and the still-alive Michael returns to finish what he started...
The Halloween franchise provides examples of the following tropes: