18 Most Brutal Kills In The Halloween Movies, Ranked

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Although John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic Halloween didn’t invent the slasher genre (1971’s Bay of Blood and 1974’s Black Christmas came before it), it made it a commercial force. Along with Friday the 13th, Carpenter’s movie set the rules and conventions for what would soon become briefly-lived but extremely profitable sub-genre in the 1980s, with dozens of cheaply made imitations appearing almost weekly. And while Carpenter had very little further involvement in the series, the movie’s producers knew that in Michael Myers–aka the Shape—they had a classic horror villain, so the sequels, reboots, and remakes have kept on coming.

For all the twists and plot inventions that filmmakers have been throwing at us over the years–from sibling surprises and unwanted backstories to psychic connections and strange cults–the Halloween movies remain popular for one simple reason. We like to see Michael kill people. Few of the directors that followed in Carpenter’s wake have his cinematic craft, and the tension and scares of that first film were quickly replaced by violence and gore. But with his expressionless mask, incredible strength, and wide variety of killing tools, Michael remained a perfect bad guy throughout, and even the weaker movies are enlivened by some juicy kills.

Forty years later, Michael returns to the screen for an tenth time, in David Gordon Green’s Halloween, which is a direct sequel to the first film. Early reviews suggest that it has some of the nastiest deaths to date, and hopes are high that this movie honors the great legacy of Carpenter’s original; it’s notable that this is the first film for decades that he’s had any creative involvement in. So while we countdown to Halloween, here’s The Shape’s most brutal kills in the series so far.

18. Halloween Resurrection – Laurie’s Last Stand

The worst movie in the entire series, the woeful Halloween: Resurrection offers very little in the way of satisfying kills. In fact, the only death of any note is that of Laurie Strode. Jamie Lee Curtis returned for a short appearance at the start of the film, and engages Michael in a fight to the death on a hospital rooftop. Both Laurie and her brother end up hanging from the roof; Michael stabs her in the back several times and she plummets to the ground.

17. Halloween (1978) – Bye Bye Bob

Poor Bob. All Lynda’s likeable boyfriend wants is a post-sex beer on Halloween, but unfortunately Michael is waiting for him in the kitchen. Myers strangles Bob, lifting him clear off the ground, before plunging a knife into him, pinning him to the fridge. Michael’s quizzical turn of the head, as he looks at his victim, is a great touch too.

16. Halloween: H20 – No More Marion

1998’s superb reboot, Halloween: H20, is actually much more restrained than any of the later movies, relying more on old-fashioned tension than gore. There’s a great death in the scary opening sequence however, when Marion Chambers–Michael’s nurse from the original–is attacked while cops investigate the house next door. “In here, goddamn it!” she screams out of the window, just before Michael cuts her throat.

15. Halloween II – Nasty Needle

While the first Halloween is a model of subtlety and restraint, 1981’s first sequel was definitely not. With the slasher movie craze in full swing, director Rick Rosenthal and producer Carpenter seriously upped the brutality. Much of the movie takes place in a hospital, where Michael has tracked Laurie. In one scene he grabs a nurse called Janet and in excruciating close-up, inserts a hypodermic needle into her temple.

14. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers – Gardening Time

Halloween 5 sees Michael continue to hunt his niece Jamie, with whom he seems to have developed a weird telepathic connection. One of the earliest kills is a juicy moment when he targets a flashy, mullet-sporting guy named Mike and plunges a gardening claw deep into his forehead.

13. Halloween (1978) – Annie Strangled

It takes a full 55 minutes before the adult Michael starts killing the teenagers of Haddonfield in the original Halloween, as Carpenter wrings every drop of tension out of the movie (and the audience). When Michael does finally strike, it’s sudden and shocking. Annie, sitting in her car, is grabbed from the backseat and brutally strangled. Michael seals the deal with his knife and she slumps against the car’s horn.

12. Halloween II – Scalpel Lift

Another of Halloween II‘s hospital-based nurse kills. This one happens towards the end of the movie and is particularly eerie because it happens almost silently and is witnessed by a catatonic Laurie, who just stands here, looking on blankly. Nurse Franco approaches Laurie, but Michael steps out from beyond and stabs her with a scalpel, lifting her clean off the ground and letting her hang there before she falls to the ground.

11. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers – Thumb Head

After the non-Myers movie Halloween III: Season of the Witch failed at the box office, the idea of an ongoing horror anthology series was abandoned, and normal service resumed. The Return of Michael Myers is a surprisingly decent sequel, which gets to the point early on. The seemingly-dead Michael wakes up in an ambulance and kills one of the unlucky paramedics by jamming his thumb right through his forehead. Ow!

10. Halloween (1978) – Prank Call

Lynda’s demise is given a blackly funny twist, by having Michael wear a sheet and Bob’s glasses to trick her into thinking he’s her now-dead boyfriend. With Bob–I mean Michael–just standing there in the doorway, Lynda gets on the phone with Laurie. Unfortunately, the phone cord provides a handy murder weapon, and Myers strangles her mid-conversation.

9. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers – Shotgun Impalement

Michael loves pretending to be other people to trick his victims–he does it in the original movie (when he dresses as Bob) and in Halloween II (when he nearly gets frisky with nurse Janet), and again the fourth movie. This time he kills the cop who is guarding Kelly, and sits down in his chair. When Kelly comes offering him some coffee he rises, wielding the dead cop’s shotgun. But his being Michael Myers, he doesn’t do anything as old-fashioned as actually shoot her, but instead impales her on the barrel.

8. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers – Forking Spitz

It’s a slasher tradition that masked killers love to target horny teenagers, and Halloween 5 ticks that box in gruesome style. The unlucky couple in this case are Sam and Spitz who head to a barn in their Halloween gear for a literal roll in the hay. Unfortunately, Michael is already there and impales Spitz with a pitchfork while he’s getting down to business.

7. Halloween (2007) – Judith Dies

Rob Zombie had already made a name for himself for such gritty, violent shockers as The Devil’s Rejects and House of 1000 Corpses when he took on the Halloween remake, so it was no surprise that the brutality level is high. While the murder of Judith Myers in Carpenter’s original is fleeting, in Zombie’s version it’s excruciating, as a bloody Judith staggers then crawls down the hallway, young Michael walking purposely behind her.

6. Halloween 6: The Curse Of Michael Myers – Jamie Gets Threshed

Jamie Lloyd was a recurring character across parts 4, 5, and 6; she’s daughter of Laurie Strode who becomes a target of her psychotic uncle Michael. Sadly, she doesn’t make it past the twenty-minute mark in her third movie. Michael has discovered that Jamie has had her own child, and corners her in a barn, where he picks his niece up and impales her gorily on a corn thresher. “You can’t have the baby Michael,” she tells him, before he before he turns the machine and lets the spinning knives tear her apart.

5. Halloween 6: The Curse Of Michael Myers – Face Vs Bars

Halloween 6 is not a good film–it was reshot and reedited, and what was released in 1995 is considered by many fans to be one of the worst movies in the series (a subsequent director’s cut improved things somewhat). Nevertheless, it does contain some ludicrous moments of over-the-top gore. Towards the end of the movie, Michael catches up with one of the doctors working for the movie’s Halloween cult, and slams his face repeatedly through some metal bars. While the original scene is fairly tame, the director’s cut delivers the full gory goods, and you see doc’s entire head fall to the floor in three bloody chunks.

4. Halloween 2 – Misty Meets Mirror

Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 showed just how far the brutality of a Michael Myers killing spree could be pushed. One of the most shocking scenes–because it combines nudity and extreme violence, always a controversial combination–comes when a dancer called Misty runs into Michael. He’s already killed her boss, hanging his mutilated body from a string of fairy lights. He then grabs Misty, and repeatedly smashes her into one of the stripclub’s mirrored walls, before dropping her lifeless body to the floor.

3. Halloween 6: The Curse Of Michael Myers – Heading Off

This has to be the silliest death in the entire series, and it was added after reshoots. Nevertheless, it’s hugely satisfying. Laurie’s uncle John is introduced as an alcoholic, abusive scumbag, making him one of Michael’s few victims that is utterly deserving of his demise. And he gets a good one–attacked in his flooded basement, Michael lifts John off the ground and impales him on a fuse box. As the volts surge through his body, John’s face starts to blister before his entire head erupts. Sure, it’s dumb, but you gotta have an exploding head in there somewhere, right?

2. Halloween 2 – Stab Frenzy

For all their flaws, Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies are masterclasses in how to deliver shocking brutality. One of the most agonisingly prolonged kills in the franchise comes near the beginning of Halloween 2, as Michael searches for Laurie in Haddonfield hospital. A poor nurse called Daniels (an early role for Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures star Octavia Spencer) gets in his way. aving been stabbed once, she attempts to crawl away, but Michael quickly catches up to her. It’s the savagery of this scene that shocks, combined with the close-ups on Spencer’s face as she is knifed over and over and over by Michael.

1. Halloween II – Karen Gets Boiled

As infamous for the creepy build-up as for the brutal payoff, this is another of the notorious Halloween II kills that went far beyond the levels of the original. Nurse Karen is taking a break from her hospital duties and running a hot bath when Michael enters the room behind her. Her lays a hand on her bare shoulder, but believing it to be her Paramedic lover Bud, she starts to stroke and then–ugh–nibble on his hand. As she turns, she sees it’s in fact Michael, who proceeds to submerge her in the boiling water repeatedly until her face blisters in gruesome style.