How to watch Halloween movie series in order – the horror franchise timeline

It's the perfect time to get caught up with one of cinema's most famous monsters.

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The Halloween film series features Michael Myers or 'The Shape'

For decades, John Carpenter’s Halloween has terrified movie fans with its creepy tale of an innocent young babysitter who is stalked by an unhinged serial killer.

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That relatively simple premise has spawned a major franchise comprised of 11 films so far and with two more in the pipeline for release in the near future.

Several of the Halloween films are available to stream on STARZPLAY, a premium channel of Amazon Prime Video; you can sign up for Amazon Prime and get a 30-day free trial, while STARZPLAY comes with a 7-day free trial too.

However, as is often the case with a long-running franchise, remakes and reboots have confused the once simple timeline of the Halloween cinematic universe.

So where should you start? We’ve got four Halloween timeline options for you. Here’s your essential guide to the Halloween movies in order as the spookiest night of the year draws closer.

Halloween movie order: The Original Timeline

Jamie Lee Curtis stars in Halloween II (2) (1981)
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The first path you have the option of going down charts the original Halloween timeline, starting off strong with John Carpenter’s acclaimed original film, but eventually burning out as the storyline grew increasingly silly.

1. Halloween (1978)

This first instalment introduces Jamie Lee Curtis in her first major role, portraying teenage babysitter Laurie Strode, who becomes the target of a deranged serial killer named Michael Myers.

Watch on NOW TV (Available until 22nd October 2020)

2. Halloween II (1981)

The story continues in this direct follow-up written by John Carpenter himself, which reveals hidden secrets about the true link between Myers and Strode, bringing their story to a (temporary) end.

Watch on STARZPLAY (via Amazon Prime Video)

3. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

After a brief absence for an unrelated third entry (more on that below), Michael Myers returned in this fourth instalment in the Halloween film series.

Donald Pleasance reprises his role as Dr Sam Loomis, who must face off against former patient Michael Myers when he returns to Haddonfield with murderous intentions.

Notably, Jamie Lee Curtis did not return for this instalment and is not again seen until 1998’s Halloween H20, which picks up the story in a separate continuity.

Watch on STARZPLAY (via Amazon Prime Video)

4. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

Pleasance returns for this fifth entry alongside Danielle Harris as Michael Myers’ unfortunate niece, as another seasonal clash unfolds with predictably deadly consequences.

Watch on STARZPLAY (via Amazon Prime Video)

5. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

After two much-maligned entries, the Halloween franchise went off the deep end with this ill-judged sequel, which delved into Michael Myers past as the victim of a scheming cult.

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Intermission | Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

The third instalment in the Halloween film series doesn’t neatly fit into any of the franchise’s timelines, as a standalone sci-fi tale exploring witchcraft.

The idea was to turn Halloween into an anthology series, the likes of which have since been popularised by American Horror Story, telling a different spooky story in each entry.

Unfortunately, audiences didn’t take to the idea, demanding that Michael Myers be reinstated as franchise baddie, which he eventually was six years later.

Watch on STARZPLAY (via Amazon Prime Video)

Halloween movie order: The Second Timeline

Jamie Lee Curtis stars in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
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The Halloween franchise enjoyed a brief resurgence in the 1990s, owing to a soft reboot that rendered everything except the first two films non-canon.

1. Halloween (1978)

This first instalment introduces Jamie Lee Curtis in her first major role, portraying teenage babysitter Laurie Strode, who becomes the target of a deranged serial killer named Michael Myers.

Watch on NOW TV (Available until 22nd October 2020)

2. Halloween II (1981)

The story continues in this direct follow-up written by John Carpenter himself, which reveals hidden secrets about the true link between Myers and Strode, bringing their story to a (temporary) end.

Watch on STARZPLAY (via Amazon Prime Video)

3. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

To mark the 20th anniversary of the first film, Jamie Lee Curtis returned as Laurie Strode for this belated sequel, which only acknowledges the continuity of the first two films.

We’re reintroduced to Strode living under a different name and trying to escape her traumatic past, but Myers eventually catches up to her once again.

The film stands out as one of the brighter spots in the Halloween film series, earning critical and commercial success, but with that came temptation to make yet another sequel.

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4. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

And here’s where it all went wrong (again). Halloween: Resurrection sees Michael Myers return to his hometown of Haddonfield, where he has one last confrontation with Laurie Strode, as well as a cast of new faces.

The film was critically panned and a financial disappointment, resulting in yet another reboot from genre director Rob Zombie (see bottom of this page).

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Halloween movie order: The Current Timeline

Jamie Lee Curtis stars in Halloween (2018)
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The most recent iteration of Halloween is also selective with what it regards canon; in this instance, only the first film actually happened, but Laurie Strode has not been able to move on in the 40 years that followed.

1. Halloween (1978)

This first instalment introduces Jamie Lee Curtis in her first major role, portraying teenage babysitter Laurie Strode, who becomes the target of a deranged serial killer named Michael Myers.

Watch on NOW TV (Available until 22nd October 2020)

2. Halloween (2018)

A direct follow-up to John Carpenter’s original film, 2018’s Halloween returns to find Laurie Strode a paranoid loner, obsessed with the eventual return of her attacker: Michael Myers.

Her fixation on survival has led to the estrangement of her daughter and granddaughter, but the Strode women will find themselves allied once more when their worst fears come true.

This instalment in the Halloween film series was a mammoth hit, with two sequels confirmed to be on the way: Halloween Kills in 2021, and Halloween Ends in 2022.

Watch on Netflix

The Rob Zombie Series

Following the failure of Halloween: Resurrection, the franchise was passed to genre director Rob Zombie to reinvent with full creative control.

The result is a two-film franchise set in a self-contained continuity, that generally failed to impress critics or audiences; that said, as is often the case with niche horror fare, both have a small cult fanbase.

1. Halloween (2007)

Loosely adapting the plot of John Carpenter’s 1978 classic, this remake sees babysitter Laurie Strode (here played by Scout Taylor-Compton) stalked by a deranged killer on the night of Halloween.

2. Halloween II (2009)

Rob Zombie returned to continue his spin on the Halloween mythos, with Myers continuing his hunt for Laurie Strode, while his former psychiatrist capitalises on his newfound infamy.

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Watch movies in order

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Sign up for Amazon Prime here and get a 30-day free trial, while STARZPLAY comes with a 7-day free trial. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide to see what’s on.