It could be stipulated that the history of modern slasher horror began in 1978, with John Carpenter’s Halloween. The movie introduced several relevant narratives and structural elements that would be applied to a lot of other future series, including Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, probably the most famous franchises aside from Halloween. In this article, we are going to compare Carpenteris’ Halloween with Friday the 13th to determine which horror franchise is the better one.
Halloween is certainly the better of the two franchises. Friday the 13th might have offered us fewer weird sequels than Halloween, but Carpenter’s unique vision is simply better and more important for the history of the horror genre than that of Voorhees’ franchise, especially in light of the fact that Halloween inspired all the future franchises.
The rest of this article is going to be divided into three sections. The first two sections are going to bring you an overview of the two series, respectively, so you know all the necessary information. Finally, we’re going to bring you a detailed analysis of the two shows to determine which one is the better of the two iterations.
Halloween: An overview
Halloween is a hit horror movie saga focusing on the insane and ruthless killer Michael Myers. The first film of the saga, Halloween, premiered in 1978 and was directed by John Carpenter; it is now considered to be one of the most important films of the horror genre, as well as the progenitor of the slasher subgenre.
The mask that Michael Myers wears to cover the features of his face was created inspired by the face of Captain Kirk from Star Trek.
Friday the 13th: An overview
Friday the 13th is a series of American horror films consisting of twelve films of the slasher subgenre, a television show, numerous novels, and other comics, video games as well as several derivative products. The franchise mainly focuses on the fictional character of Jason Voorhees.
The character was imagined by the screenwriter behind the original film, Victor Miller. Jason was first a drowned child at Crystal Lake Camp at the age of eleven, a fault which was blamed on the negligence of copulating watchers. He reemerged as a serial killer avenging his mother.
Halloween vs Friday the 13th: Which horror franchise is better?
Now that we’ve given you all the necessary information, we can also give our final verdict. For us, the decision wasn’t all that difficult, as one show has several clear advantages when compared to the other.
Number of films
Why are we even taking this into account here? Well, when we observe the history of franchises, successful and great franchises have usually had a lot of titles, which doesn’t necessarily have to be an indicator of quality, but it goes to show how popular the movies are. That is also why we are taking this into account. So, let us see how many movies there are in the Halloween franchise:
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Producer(s)|
|Halloween||October 25, 1978||John Carpenter||John Carpenter and Debra Hill||Debra Hill|
|Halloween II||October 30, 1981||Rick Rosenthal||John Carpenter and Debra Hill||Debra Hill and John Carpenter|
|Halloween III: Season of the Witch||October 22, 1982||Tommy Lee Wallace||Tommy Lee Wallace||Debra Hill and John Carpenter|
|Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers||October 21, 1988||Dwight H. Little||Dhani Lipsius, Larry Rattner & Benjamin Ruffner, and Alan B. McElroy||Paul Freeman|
|Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers||October 13, 1989||Dominique Othenin-Girard||Michael Jacobs & Dominique Othenin-Girard and Shem Bitterman||Ramsey Thomas|
|Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers||September 29, 1995||Joe Chappelle||Daniel Farrands||Paul Freeman|
|Halloween H20: 20 Years Later||August 5, 1998||Steve Miner||Robert Zappia and Matt Greenberg||Paul Freeman|
|Halloween: Resurrection||July 12, 2002||Rick Rosenthal||Larry Brand and Sean Hood||Paul Freeman|
|Halloween||August 31, 2007||Rob Zombie||Rob Zombie||Malek Akkad, Andy Gould, and Rob Zombie|
|Halloween II||August 28, 2009||Rob Zombie||Rob Zombie||Malek Akkad, Andy Gould, and Rob Zombie|
|Halloween||October 19, 2018||David Gordon Green||Jeff Fradley, Danny McBride & David Gordon Green||Malek Akkad, Jason Blum & Bill Block|
|Halloween Kills||October 15, 2021||David Gordon Green||Scott Teems, Danny McBride & David Gordon Green||Malek Akkad, Jason Blum & Bill Block|
|Halloween Ends||October 14, 2022||David Gordon Green||Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride & David Gordon Green||Malek Akkad, Jason Blum & Bill Block|
And now, the Friday the 13th franchise:
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Producer(s)|
|Friday the 13th||May 9, 1980||Sean S. Cunningham||Victor Miller||Sean S. Cunningham|
|Friday the 13th Part 2||April 30, 1981||Steve Miner||Ron Kurz||Steve Miner|
|Friday the 13th Part III||August 13, 1982||Steve Miner||Martin Kitrosser & Carol Watson||Frank Mancuso Jr.|
|Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter||April 13, 1984||Joseph Zito||Barney Cohen||Frank Mancuso Jr.|
|Friday the 13th: A New Beginning||March 22, 1985||Danny Steinmann||Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen & Danny Steinmann||Timothy Silver|
|Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives||August 1, 1986||Tom McLoughlin||Tom McLoughlin||Don Behrns|
|Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood||May 13, 1988||John Carl Buechler||Manuel Fidello & Daryl Haney||Iain Paterson|
|Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan||July 28, 1989||Rob Hedden||Rob Hedden||Randy Cheveldave|
|Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday||August 13, 1993||Adam Marcus||Jay Huguely & Dean Lorey||Sean S. Cunningham and Debbie Hayn-Cass|
|Jason X||April 26, 2002||James Isaac||Todd Farmer||Noel Cunningham, Sean S. Cunningham and James Isaac|
|Freddy vs. Jason||August 15, 2003||Ronny Yu||Damian Shannon & Mark Swift||Sean S. Cunningham|
|Friday the 13th||February 13, 2009||Marcus Nispel||Damian Shannon & Mark Swift||Sean S. Cunningham, Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller|
Both franchises, as we can see, have 12 titles each so far, but since Halloween Ends is coming out next year, it will become the 13th movie in the franchise, which means that Halloween will have more titles. This is why we can give this point to Halloween.
And while critics rarely kill or make a movie successful, their opinions and reviews are often an indicator of the movie’s quality. This is why we have decided to compare the ratings of the two franchises, based on the reviews from three major reviewers – Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, and CinemaScore. Here’s how the Halloween franchise was rated:
|Halloween||94% (55 reviews)||87 (21 reviews)||B+|
|Halloween II||32% (35 reviews)||40 (11 reviews)||B|
|Halloween III: Season of the Witch||30% (34 reviews)||50 (11 reviews)||B|
|Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers||37% (24 reviews)||43 (7 reviews)||B+|
|Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers||23% (22 reviews)||28 (10 reviews)||B-|
|Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers||16% (32 reviews)||10 (13 reviews)||B+|
|Halloween H20: 20 Years Later||62% (57 reviews)||52 (20 reviews)||A|
|Halloween: Resurrection||31% (60 reviews)||19 (17 reviews)||B+|
|Halloween (2007)||26% (11 reviews)||47 (18 reviews)||B-|
|Halloween II||10% (73 reviews)||15 (17 reviews)||C-|
|Halloween (2018)||79% (58 reviews)||67 (51 reviews)||A|
|Halloween Kills||39% (160 reviews)||42 (43 reviews)||B-|
And here’s how the Friday the 13th movies have been rated:
|Friday the 13th (1980)||69% (50 reviews)||35 (4 reviews)||N/A|
|Friday the 13th Part 2||38% (31 reviews)||N/A||N/A|
|Friday the 13th Part III||12% (25 reviews)||N/A||N/A|
|Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter||35% (24 reviews)||N/A||N/A|
|Friday the 13th: A New Beginning||19% (19 reviews)||N/A||N/A|
|Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives||59% (27 reviews)||N/A||B|
|Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood||34% (20 reviews)||N/A||B|
|Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan||18% (24 reviews)||N/A||C+|
|Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday||11% (17 reviews)||N/A||N/A|
|Jason X||9% (104 reviews)||25 (23 reviews)||C|
|Freddy vs. Jason||61% (157 reviews)||37 (29 reviews)||B+|
|Friday the 13th (2009)||37% (165 reviews)||34 (29 reviews)||B-|
As we can see from the available ratings, Halloween is the better franchise, although not by much. Both movies had big flops when the ratings are concerned, but Friday the 13th never had a movie as successful as the first Halloween. This category also goes to the latter.
If a movie earns a lot, that usually means that it is at least somewhat good. It doesn’t necessarily have to be like that, but it can be an indicator of the film’s quality, and that is why we are considering the box office success of these movies. Now, let us see how well these two franchises have done on the box office, starting with Halloween:
|Halloween (1978)||October 25, 1978||$325,000||$47,000,000||$23,000,000||$70,000,000|
|Halloween II (1981)||October 30, 1981||$2.5 million||$25,533,818||N/R||$25,533,818|
|Halloween III: Season of the Witch||October 22, 1982||$2.5 million||$14,400,000||N/R||$14,400,000|
|Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers||October 21, 1988||$5 million||$17,768,757||N/R||$17,768,757|
|Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers||October 13, 1989||$5 million||$11,642,254||N/R||$11,642,254|
|Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers||September 29, 1995||$5 million||$15,116,634||N/R||$15,116,634|
|Halloween H20: 20 Years Later||August 5, 1998||$17 million||$55,041,738||$20,000,000||$75,041,738|
|Halloween: Resurrection||July 12, 2002||$13 million||$30,354,442||$7,310,413||$37,664,855|
|Halloween (2007)||August 31, 2007||$15 million||$58,272,029||$21,977,438||$80,249,467|
|Halloween II (2009)||August 28, 2009||$15 million||$33,392,973||$6,028,494||$39,421,467|
|Halloween (2018)||October 19, 2018||$10 million||$159,342,015||$96,135,353||$255,477,368|
|Halloween Kills||October 15, 2021||$20 million||$50,350,000||$5,540,000||$55,890,000|
And now, Friday the 13th:
|Title||Release date |
|Friday the 13th (1980)||May 9, 1980||$550K||$39.76 million||$20 million||$59.75 million|
|Friday the 13th Part 2||April 30, 1981||$1.25 million||$21.72 million||N/R||$21.72 million|
|Friday the 13th Part III||August 13, 1982|
May 13, 1983 (re-release)
|$2.5 million||$36.69 million||N/R||$36.69 million|
|Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter||April 13, 1984||$2.6 million||$32.98 million||N/R||$32.98 million|
|Friday the 13th: A New Beginning||March 22, 1985||$2.2 million||$21.93 million||N/R||$21.93 million|
|Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives||August 1, 1986||$3 million||$19.47 million||N/R||$19.47 million|
|Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood||May 13, 1988||$2.8 million||$19.17 million||N/R||$19.17 million|
|Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan||July 28, 1989||$5 million||$14.34 million||N/R||$14.34 million|
|Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday||August 13, 1993||$3 million||$15.94 million||N/R||$15.94 million|
|Jason X||April 26, 2002||$14 million||$13.12 million||$3.83 million||$16.96 million|
|Freddy vs. Jason||August 15, 2003||$30 million||$82.62 million||$34.00 million||$116.6 million|
|Friday the 13th (2009)||February 13, 2009||$19 million||$65 million||$27.66 million||$92.67 million|
|Total||$80.9 million||$383.3 million||$83.78 million||$468.24 million|
The average numbers are as follows: the Halloween franchise has earned roughly $55,834,696 per movie, while Friday the 13th franchise has earned $ 39,020,000 per film. Some of these numbers have to be adjusted for inflation of course, but this won’t really affect the final outcome. Halloween wins in this category as well.
Comparing the cultural impact of these two franchises is a bit unfair, as Jason doesn’t even come close to Michael Myers. Sure, people know about Jason, but that’s about as much as they know (and, perhaps, even should know) about the franchise.
On the other hand, Halloween has been a cultural phenomenon since 1978 and the franchise is much more than Michael Myers. It also influenced a lot of future franchises and cemented Carpenter’s legacy as a visionary filmmaker.
This is why Halloween is the clear winner here.
The numbers are in and Halloween triumphs in all four categories. This is also obvious if you’ve seen the franchises – the Halloween movies are just better than Friday the 13th, which has had a lot of strange and different iterations over the years. Plus, the latter never even comes near the former in terms of cultural impact, and we cannot forget that Halloween inspired Friday the 13th. This is why Halloween is the clear winner here.