Halloween Ends: Ranking All Michael Myers Death Scenes at the End

Halloween Ends again this weekend with the final film of Jamie Lee Curtis battling Michael Myers. But where does that movie rank with all the other times they killed off Michael for good?

Michael Myers deaths scenes in Halloween ranked
Photo: Artwork by Chloe Lewis

This article contains Halloween Ends spoilers.

Michael Myers is dead. Again. As the title of Halloween Ends all but guaranteed, the third film in David Gordon Green’s trilogy of sequels to the 1978 original brings the curtain down for good and all on the story of Michael Myers and his war with the babysitter who would not die, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).

Granted, Michael Myers has died before, including more than once at the hands of Curtis’ indomitable Laurie Strode—as well as other variations of these characters when they were played by different actors! And yet, Halloween as a movie franchise never seems to end. One might be even so cynical as to assume that Halloween Ends will likewise not be the last word we have with the Shape in a William Shatner mask.

Even so, it marks the almost certain conclusion of Curtis’ participation in the Halloween franchise, as well as the series’ current transmutation under the watch of Green and co-screenwriter Danny McBride. And as a conclusion to the three previous films it acknowledges as being canon… it’s at least more satisfying than half of the other times they “ended” Halloween with the death of Uncle Mikey. In that vein, we decided to stack up all the times Halloween has sent Michael Myers (briefly) to that big asylum in the sky. Enjoy.

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Busta Rhymes in Halloween Resurrection

8. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Cause of Death: Killer Burns from Busta Rhymes

Okay, so technically this entry is questionable since there is a post-story tag of Michael Myers’ charred corpse inexplicably rising from the dead in a morgue. But we counter that pitiful sequel bait with this: Halloween: Resurrection’s ending was so bad that it killed the original franchise dead in its tracks. It takes a denouement like this to cause Dimension Films to tell Rob Zombie, “Sure, do whatever the hell you want with it,” five years later. So, yeah, this was definitely some kind of ending for the franchise.

In a sequence that feels about 20 years too early for the type of meme-culture it could inspire, rapper and “actor” Busta Rhymes (the quotation marks are mandatory) defeats Michael Myers with a sparking electrical wire to the nuts, and a handful of franchise-destroying one-liners. “Trick ‘r treat… motherfucker” is the one that went on to achieve internet gif immortality, but we’re also quite partial to Rhymes watching the once unstoppable Shape be undone by falling into some loose wiring and shout, “Hey Mikey, Happy fuckin’ Halloween!” He also later tells the then-dead Myers body, “Looking a little crispy over there, Mikey, like some chicken fried motherfucker. May you never, ever rest in peace.”

This franchise sure didn’t after that death scene!

Michael Myers dies by shotgun in Halloween 4

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

Cause of Death: Shotgun Blast to Everywhere But the Face

Part of the terror of John Carpenter’s original 1978 movie is that Michael Myers is evil incarnate, yes, but he is still also a human: a body of flesh and blood that commits unspeakable horrors for no discernible reason. He can be locked up and destroyed… right? The ending of the first movie made that last bit ambiguous when Michael takes a few shots from the pistol of Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) and keeps on ticking. But Halloween 4 upped the ante when it brought Myers back after he was spit-roasted seven years earlier in Halloween II (1981).

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As a consequence, Halloween 4 is the one where Michael begins to take on a supernatural bent, although the flick still attempts to walk a fine line—and potentially end it. During the conclusion of the movie, Michael Myers is, to quote the good Dr. Loomis, “in Hell where he belongs.” And Dr. Loomis doesn’t appear wrong. By the time the credits roll, Michael’s been run over by big sister Rachel Carruthers (Ellie Cornell) and then shot to so many pieces by Sheriff Ben Meeker (Beau Starr) and the entire Haddonfield police force that you might’ve thought he was holding a cellphone instead of a butcher’s knife.

The finality of this shoot ‘em up is due to producers again trying to be creative and suggest “the curse of Michael Myers” can be passed on from Michael to his niece, sweet little Jamie Lloyd Carruthers (Danielle Harris), who ends the movie by slaughtering her adopted mother and posing as Uncle Mikey in a clown costume. Alas, when the choice came down to completely undo this ending and bring Michael back from the dead yet again in Halloween 5, it sure made things awkward in the Carruthers household….

Laurie Strode puts on Michael Myers mask in Halloween II (2009)

6. Halloween II (2009)

Cause of Death: A Sister’s Love

Like just about everything else in regard to Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, Michael Myers’ death scene feels perfunctory. We may be among the few who do not absolutely loathe Zombie’s admittedly quite flawed remake/reimagining of the original story in Halloween (2007), but that film showed everything Zombie had to say about his radically different vision of these characters.

Ergo, Halloween II is largely an exercise in bleeding a stone dry, with little of merit beyond a pretty tense “Nights of White Satin” chase sequence at the beginning (which turns out to be a dream). The ending at least finds a way to reinforce the ending of the 2007 movie again by emphasizing even more that “love hurts” when Tyler Mane’s looming, seven-foot-tall Michael kills his opportunistic psychiatrist (Malcolm McDowell) again, and is then killed by his little sister Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton). Again.

There are two versions of how this goes down: In the theatrical cut, Michael falls onto some gnarly farm equipment and is then butchered by little sis with his own knife; in the director’s cut, he is gunned down by the police. Michael’s ending is perfunctory either way, much like the movie. What’s important is a nice, if bleak, touch where Zombie and Taylor-Compton’s Laurie gives into her trauma demons by assessing all her big brother has taken from her… and then putting on his mask. In one version, she is subsequently also gunned down by the police, and in the other she is captured and committed to the same psychiatric ward where Michael spent most of his life. Either way, the Myers’ peculiar sense of love continues in the bloodline, with Laurie accepting her grim destiny.

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(from left) Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael Myers (aka The Shape) in Halloween Ends, co-written, produced and directed by David Gordon Green.

5. Halloween Ends (2022)

Cause of Death: A Slit Throat and an Exhausted Concept

Years from now, David Gordon Green’s Halloween sequel trilogy will be some kind of shorthand among horror aficionados about stopping when you’re already ahead. After successfully reviving Michael Myers and providing Jamie Lee Curtis with a triumphant return to the role of Laurie Strode, Green’s first 2018 movie found a pitch perfect grace note for the Halloween saga (more on that below)… and then it kept going.

The culmination of that unwise creative decision is this shaggy and unkempt movie that, eventually, attempts to redo the 2018 ending again, minus Judy Greer, and it is the poorer for it. Once more, Curtis’ Laurie Strode transitions from prey to predator and traps Michael Myers in her house—albeit by way of a far more gruesome and dangerous method: she nails his hands to her kitchen’s prep table with butcher knives. She then has a nice little monologue while slitting his throat open ear to ear, and opening his arms’ arteries while her granddaughter holds it down for good measure.

As a post-script, the entire town of Haddonfield then gets in on the action and witnesses the desecration of Michael’s remains, promising for good and all that he will not come back (at least until the next reboot). But for all the high production values, it’s still anticlimactic after the 2018 movie. And frankly, it concludes a worse movie than Halloween 4. This is only so high because Curtis always nails a monologue like it’s a Boogeyman on her cutting board.

Michael Myers and Laurie in Halloween (2007)

4. Halloween (2007)

Cause of Death: Gunshot to the Face

Zombie’s first reboot of Halloween is far more successful than its sequel, so long as you accept that the filmmaker behind The Devil’s Rejects (2005) was going to make it his own thing. And in truth, the real movie is the first hour where Zombie turns Carpenter’s unknowable personification of evil into a deeply disturbed little boy named Michael (Daeg Faerch). It’s like an exploitation riff on the biography of a seemingly real-life serial killer. We shadow Mikey’s grossly dysfunctional family and then his first kills. Afterward, one imagines that Zombie would’ve been fine spending the rest of the movie on the doomed friendship between the committed young Myers boy and his well-meaning but inadequate psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis (McDowell).

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However, this always had the commercial mandate of becoming a slasher movie, and it thus needed to end with Taylor-Compton’s Laurie being victorious. There are a few okay elements in the rote second half, including the return of Danielle Harris to the franchise, but ultimately the dregs of Halloween II are already visible. The ending is similarly by the numbers, with Laurie covered in her own blood and desperately trying to find a bullet she can use to shoot her big brother in the head before he wakes up. Right before he rises, she finds one chamber that isn’t empty and pulls the trigger; she then screams into the night.

While this one lacks the total confirmation that Laurie would inherit Michael’s madness, which Halloween II underlines in blood red neon, it at least concludes a more satisfying movie. Although if you’ve ever seen the original work print ending where Dr. Loomis doesn’t die and instead tries to reason with Michael until the cops open fire—leading the shrink to realize that he failed this boy all over again—then you’ve seen the best ending to Zombie’s version of the characters.

Michael Myers on fire in Halloween II

3. Halloween II (1981)

Cause of Death: Fire and Blood

The first time the Michael Myers story was intended to end still remains one of the better attempts at killing the character off. Back in ’81, Carpenter and co-writer Debra Hill still had the crazy idea that stories needed eventual conclusions. And hey, if they killed Michael Myers in Halloween II, then maybe they could tell different kinds of spooky tales set around the holiday going forward?! Right. So about that…

Audiences rejected the Myers-less Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) with both hands. Still, Halloween II worked as a satisfactory enough ending, with Jamie Lee Curtis’ O.G. Laurie Strode shooting Michael Myers in both eyes, only to realize her big brother still would keep on swinging even while blind! Luckily, Pleasence’s Dr. Loomis proves to be ever the martyr, turning some nearby gas on and distracting Michael long enough for Laurie to escape. He then lights a match.

The last we see of this Michael Myers, he’s covered head-to-toe in flames and still taking steps toward Laurie before succumbing to the fire. Meanwhile Dr. Loomis never even makes it out of the inferno. Don’t worry though. They get better.

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Michael Myers beheaded in Halloween H20

2. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Cause of Death: An Ax and Jamie Lee Curtis’ Mean Homerun Swing

Halloween H20 was rebooting franchises before it was cool! Back in 1998, it was a pretty novel idea to make a sequel that nuked most of the series entries that preceded it, but H20 went there 20 years after the original movie (hence the title) by only acknowledging the original movie and its 1981 follow-up as being in continuity. It also was Curtis’ first attempt at a homecoming to Halloween where she would play a traumatized but resilient Laurie Strode who is dealing with the baggage of Michael Myers decades after the fact.

The first rebooted Laurie on the outside is more put together than what would come later during Curtis’ second spin on the concept. But on the inside, her buttoned up private school headmistress is a storming sea of regrets and paranoia, and one who threatens to capsize once her long lost brother finally hunts Laure down. Fortunately, Laurie has the last laugh when she drives Michael’s “dead” body in an ambulance out into the countryside and then crashes the vehicle, pinning him beneath the wreckage and forcing him to stop playing possum. Here, at the end of things, Laurie picks up an ax and lets her big bro know once and for all that this isn’t how you get ahead in life.

Right before the decapitation, there is an amusing attempt at connection where Michael tries to touch Laurie’s finger like it’s E.T. Sorry, Mike, Laurie’s in a Sleepy Hollow kind of mood…

Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer in Halloween (2018)

1. Halloween (2018)

Cause of Death: Three Generations of Strode Women and a Whole Lot of Gas

In retrospect, Green and Curtis reached the perfect grace note for the Halloween franchise during their first joint attempt at a reboot. Like H20 before it, Halloween (2018) ignored all its predecessors, including H20, and took the concept of a wounded and haunted Laurie to an even further extreme. There is no posh elitist teaching post for this woman. Instead her own daughter was taken out of school, and away from Laurie, decades ago due to Laurie’s paranoid survivalist fixations on the return of the Boogeyman.

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Laurie is of course proven right when Carpenter’s O.G. vision of Michael Myers returns. Green’s revival ignores the popular twist in Halloween II (both of them) where Laurie is revealed to be Michael’s sister. There is no rhyme or reason to this personification of evil. Just darkness.

Maybe that’s why Laurie chooses to end it by lighting him up. The conclusion of the movie is pitch perfect, with Laurie’s now adult and alienated daughter Karen (Judy Greer) revealing she never forgot the lessons Laurie taught her. Never be the victim. It is estranged and resistant Karen who finally accepts her mother was right and leads Michael into Laurie’s death trap, and then, standing next to that matriarch and her own teenage daughter (And Matichak), watches Michael burn.
Almost. We don’t actually see the flames lick Michael’s body, because even though this was the most satisfying death the character would ever have, Green and Blumhouse Productions couldn’t resist the allure of ever more needless sequels. Even so, in our head canon, Halloween ended the night the bars shut around the Shape, and his favorite prey from 40 years past at last says, “Goodbye, Michael.”