Halloween is an American horror franchise that consists of films, novels, comic books, merchandise, and a video game. The franchise primarily focuses on serial killer Michael Myers who was committed to a sanitarium as a child for the murder of his sister, Judith Myers. Fifteen years later, he escapes to stalk and kill the people of the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois. Michael’s killings occur on the holiday of Halloween, on which all of the films primarily take place. The original Halloween, released in 1978, was written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, and directed by Carpenter. The film is known to have inspired a long line of slasher films.
Several sequels have since followed. Michael Myers is the antagonist in all of the films except Halloween III: Season of the Witch, the story of which has no direct connection to any other film in the series. In 2007, writer-director Rob Zombie made a remake of the 1978 film. A direct sequel to the 2007 remake was released two years later. A direct sequel to the original film that ignores all other films in the franchise was released in 2018.
Halloween II (1981)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
John Carpenter composed the music to the first three films. For Halloween, Carpenter chose to use a piano melody played in a 5/4 time rhythm instead of a symphonic soundtrack.
The score for Halloween II is a variation of John Carpenter’s compositions from the first film, particularly the main theme’s familiar piano melody played. The score was performed on a synthesizer organ rather than the piano used for Halloween.
Music remained an important element in establishing the atmosphere of Halloween III. Just as in Halloween and Halloween II, there was no symphonic score. Much of the music was composed to solicit “false startles” from the audience. The soundtrack was composed by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth, who had also worked on the score for Halloween II. The score of Halloween III differed greatly from the familiar main theme of the original and its first sequel. Carpenter replaced the familiar piano melody with a slower, electronic theme played on a synthesizer with beeping tonalities.
Halloween 4 & 5
Following Carpenter’s departure from the series, Alan Howarth would stay on board as the sole composer for the next two sequels.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
Howarth also acted as the lead composer on Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, with Paul Rabjohns providing additional music when the initial edit of the film was substantially re-filmed.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
While Halloween H20 credits John Ottman as its sole composer, in reality most of the soundtrack was provided by Scream composer Marco Beltrami, using a mixture of music from that film and a few original cues written by Beltrami, after the producers disliked Ottman’s score.
When the original Halloween was released in 1978, a novelisation of the film followed just a year later. Written by Curtis Richards, the book follows the events of the film, but expands on the festival of Samhain and Michael’s time at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium.
Halloween II (1981)
Jack Martin would write Halloween II, which was released alongside its film counterpart. Martin included an additional victim of Michael’s in this novel.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Halloween IV, released in October 1988 and written by Nicholas Grabowsky, also followed the events of the film in which it was adapted from.