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The 'Halloween' Movie Franchise

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Premise: Michael Myers has family problems. The problem is: they're alive, and he wants them dead. He kills his older sister when he's a child and tries to kill his younger sister, his niece and her child when he's older. Tracking Michael on his killing spree is Dr. Loomis, the psychiatrist who treated the murderer for most of his life and who will tell anyone who listens just how evil Michael is. This trendsetting slasher series begun by director John Carpenter opened the door for practically every slasher since.

Warning: potential spoilers ahead!

Halloween (1978)

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Michael Myers is evil. While other six-year-olds are out trick-or-treating and playing in traffic on Halloween night, Michael is busy killing his teenaged sister with a butcher knife. He's locked away in a mental facility for 15 years but escapes during a transfer on the night before -- you guessed it -- Halloween. He returns to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, and takes a liking to local teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) -- and by "liking," I mean he would "like" to kill her. After killing a few of her friends while Laurie is babysitting two kids on Halloween night, Michael almost gets to her, but Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) arrives just in time to shoot Michael...dead?
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Halloween II (1981)

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The sequel picks up right where Halloween left off: Dr. Loomis has saved Laurie by shooting Michael, who falls seemingly to his death. But wait, his body has disappeared! Laurie is taken to a nearby hospital for her minor injuries, and Michael follows her there to begin the cat-and-mouse game anew. He kills several workers in the strangely deserted hospital (Haddonfield apparently being a very healthy city) before Dr. Loomis again saves the day by blowing himself and Michael up in an operating room. In the process, it's learned that Laurie is actually Michael's younger sister and was adopted by the Strodes after Michael was sent away to the loony bin. Enjoy those psychotic bloodlines, Laurie!
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Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

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What happens when a series that's intended to have only two parts is stretched out to three? Halloween III is what happens. This film is a complete aberration as far as the franchise goes; it's a standalone story that has nothing to do with the Michael Myers plotline. It's a more fantastic tale than the other Halloween films, almost Twilight Zone-ish in nature, about an evil novelty gift maker who's hatched a plot to kill children with Halloween masks set to trigger during one of his company's commercials. Did I mention that all of his henchmen are androids? Where's Michael Myers when you need him?
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Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

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Speak of the devil! It turns out that neither Michael nor Dr. Loomis died in the explosion at the end of Halloween II. Michael has been in a coma but awakens upon hearing that Laurie has died and left a daughter. If he can't kill his sister, Michael figures, his niece is the next best thing. So, he heads back to Haddonfield and tracks down little Jamie (Danielle Harris). Oh, by the way, it's Halloween again. The cops actually do something this time around, shooting Michael and blowing him up to boot. However, Jamie taps into her crazy genes and stabs her foster mother in much the same way that Michael killed his sister as a child. I smell a sequel!
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Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

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Surprising no one, Michael manages to survive the explosion at the end of the previous movie. He's hurt badly, though, and is nursed back to health by a hermit who finds his injured body. After exactly a year, Michael's internal clock kicks in, and he suddenly rises, thanks the hermit by killing him (gotta shake the rust off, I guess) and heads back to find his niece. Jamie, mute since attacking her foster mother, seems to have developed a psychic bond with Michael and uses it to lure him to his capture at the hands of Dr. Loomis. However, as the killer stews in a jail cell, a mysterious stranger dressed in black arrives, kills all of the policemen and breaks him out. Why, Zorro, why???
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Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

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For six years, the man in black keeps Michael and his niece captive. The man impregnates Jamie, now 15, and she gives birth on the day before -- yup -- Halloween. Jamie escapes with her baby, but Michael tracks her down and finally kills her. She manages to hide her baby, though, and Tommy Doyle -- whom Laurie Strode babysat in the fist Halloween -- finds it. He and Dr. Loomis protect the baby while unraveling the mystery of the man in black, who turns out to be the head of the mental hospital where Michael spent his childhood. Dr. Wynn -- get this -- operates a cult beneath the hospital that has cursed Michael with the desire to kill his family. Not that old plot again! By the end, Loomis, Wynn and Michael are all presumed dead.
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Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

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Forsaking the whole "man in black" plot and quite possibly Parts 4 through 6 altogether, Halloween H20 finds Laurie Strode very much alive and living under a new name. She runs a boarding school that her teenaged son John (Josh Hartnett, sporting a perpetual bed head) attends, but on the 20th anniversary of "that night," she begins to get anxious, and with good reason. Say what you will about Michael Myers, but he's very punctual. He tracks her down, doing away with a few rowdy students in the process, before she finally gets the better of him by chopping off his head with an axe.
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Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

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Somehow, Michael -- or is it Criss Angel? -- placed his jumpsuit and mask on an ambulance driver at the end of H20, and that is who Laurie decapitated. Hmm. Anyway, she's spent the last few years in a mental hospital, but Michael catches up to her and finally kills her 24 years after his first attempt. Seemingly forgetting that he has a nephew he could be murdering, Michael heads back to his childhood home to chill. However, he finds that an Internet reality show has set up shop in his now-abandoned house and is filming as six college students spend Halloween night there. Ever the gracious host, Michael sets about killing them one by one. He's eventually vanquished in a rather unceremonious sendoff for a horror icon.
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Halloween (2007)

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Director Rob Zombie "re-imagines" the original Halloween story, this time devoting half of the movie to Michael's childhood. His vision shows Michael killing not only his sister but also her boyfriend and Michael's stepfather. Michael's mother later commits suicide after he's sent to a mental institution and begins to regress into a mute, catatonic state. In this version, we find out that Laurie is Michael's younger sister -- something that wasn't originally revealed until Halloween II. When Michael breaks out of the institution and returns to Haddonfield, things play out more of less the same as the original movie, except that Zombie adds his own brand of gritty sleaze to the proceedings.

Halloween II (2009)

'Halloween II' poster.
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Rob Zombie returns to delve deeper into Michael Myers, exploring not his past but rather his very mind. A year after the previous movie, Laurie is struggling to recover mentally, and Michael is presumed dead, although his body was lost. It turns out, of course, that he's alive and has been roaming the Earth, Kung Fu-like, until visions of his dead mother tell him to return to Haddonfield to kill his sis. He returns, butchering people left and right, just as Dr. Loomis also returns to town to promote his book about the previous year's murders. Loomis, always vying for attention, goes in to negotiate with Michael after police surround the shack in which he's holding Laurie. Both men end up dead, and Laurie pretty much snaps.
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