With Halloween Ends (2022) now finally out in theaters, the Halloween franchise is 13-films strong. But just how many timelines are there? And seeing as Halloween is coming up, what is the correct viewing order of the Halloween movies? Here's your comprehensive guide to all the Halloween movies, which we've listed in their correct viewing order and by timeline...
Related: Halloween Ends Review
Halloween III: The Season of the Witch (1982)
Before we visit Haddonfield where The Shape is lurking on every street corner, let's get Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) out of the way. The first and last anthology film of the Halloween franchise should be viewed as a stand-alone entry, as it doesn't take place in any Michael Myers-occupied timeline.
What's canon? Halloween III: Season of the Witch
The First Two Timelines (Including Halloween: The Thorn Trilogy)
John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) is the first movie in the Halloween franchise and has its own direct sequel in the form of Halloween II (1981), which picks up immediately where this film ends, taking place on the exact same night in 1978, similar to Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills (2021).
What's canon? Halloween (1978) and Halloween II (1981).
Halloween II (1981)
Halloween II is the direct sequel to John Carpenter's horror masterpiece. It would later be remade by director Rob Zombie with Halloween II (2009). However, while the first of many Halloween sequels, it marks the end of the first timeline as it's separated from future movies by an anthology entry.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), the first entry in Halloween: The Thorn Trilogy, marks the beginning of a new timeline, although, in order to view said timeline from the start, you'll need to return to Halloween (1978) and then watch 1981's Halloween II.
What's canon? Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995).
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers continues the Halloween: The Thorn Trilogy. A sequel to Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and a precursor to Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Halloween 5 definitely feels like a middle movie, much like Halloween Kills.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers concludes the Halloween: The Thorn Trilogy, and though many things are left completely unresolved, it also marks the end of yet another Halloween timeline, totalling five films, making it the biggest timeline in the entire franchise.
The Halloween H20 Timeline
And so begins another Halloween timeline that starts with the original 1978 film. While this timeline doesn't even have a nickname, let alone an actual name such as The Thorn Trilogy or the David Gordon Green Trilogy, we've decided to call it the "Halloween H20 timeline".
What's canon? Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998).
Halloween II (1981)
It's odd to think of Halloween II as part of the Halloween H20 timeline, largely because it's bookended by two films - Halloween (1978) and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) that feel in no way supernatural. Yet Halloween II features one of the most seemingly indestructible versions of Michael Myers.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is one of the more satisfying timeline-ending conclusions in the entire franchise, but it's far from the last time Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode will face off against Michael Myers. While many fans would argue this is not the end of one timeline, the next film says otherwise.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Halloween: Resurrection (2002) retcons H20's ending so much that many fans consider it to exist in a separate timeline, as we most definitely witness the death of Michael Myers in the 1998 sequel. In other words, Resurrection retrospectively presents an entirely alternate version of its predecessor.
What's canon? Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, and Halloween: Resurrection.
Related: Halloween Kills Ending Explained
The Rob Zombie Reboots
Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007)
Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007) speaks for itself, as it's a straight-up remake of John Carpenter's 1978 classic (albeit with a few twists and turns here and there). As such, its timeline requires no explanation, as it's the only part of this franchise that is in no way tethered to that original film.
What's canon? Rob Zombie's Halloween and Halloween II (2009).
Rob Zombie's Halloween II (2009)
Though a sequel to Rob Zombie's Halloween, Halloween II is also very much a remake of 1981's Halloween II. Although with that said, it's also a film in its own right, as it's only really the first twenty or so minutes that takes inspiration from the original sequel. Zombie's Halloween II, however, never got a follow up.
The David Gordon Green Timeline
And so we revert all the way back to Carpenter's classic one last time, as David Gordon Green's Halloween Trilogy, which starts with Halloween (2018), ignores every single sequel since that very first film, creating yet another timeline within the Halloween franchise. Is it the last one, though? We doubt it.
What's canon? Halloween (1978), Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills (2021), and Halloween Ends (2022).
Halloween (2018) wipes out every single movie since the original Halloween. While it isn't the first one to do such a thing - that honor goes to Halloween H20: 20 Years Later - it does give us a new version of Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode, at least when it comes to the decades that followed 1978.
Halloween Kills (2021)
Halloween Kills is the direct sequel to Halloween (2018), taking place on that same Halloween night in 2018. While it's the middle part of David Gordon Green's Halloween Trilogy, it's actually the fourth movie in this timeline, as the 1978 original is of course the first.
Halloween Ends (2022)
And we reach the end of yet another Halloween timeline with Halloween Ends. The conclusion to both David Gordon Green's Halloween Trilogy and all four Halloween movies in this timeline. Whether or not this timeline will be continued in the future remains to be seen, though it's highly unlikely.
Check out the official trailer for Halloween Ends below:
As per Blumhouse Pictures (via Wikipedia), here's the official synopsis for Halloween Ends, the final chapter in David Gordon Green's Halloween Trilogy:
Four years after the events of Halloween Kills, Laurie is living with her granddaughter Allyson after the death of her parents.
Laurie has decided to take all the fear and rage, she has been holding onto for the last 4 decades and write a memoir which is almost completed.
Michael Myers has once again disappeared and hasn't been seen since. This time Laurie has decided to liberate her fear and rage and embrace life with open arms.
All is quiet in Haddonfield, but when a young man, Corey Cunningham, is accused of killing a boy he was babysitting, it ignites a cascade of violence and terror that will force Laurie to finally confront the evil she couldn't control, once and for all.
Halloween Ends stars Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode), Andi Matichak (Allyson Nelson), Kyle Richards (Lindsey Wallace), Will Patton (Frank Hawkins), and James Jude Courtney (Michael Myers).
Newcomers include Rohan Campbell (Corey Cunningham) and Michael O'Leary (Dr. Mathis).
Halloween Ends is now out in theaters and is also streaming on Peacock.