The lasting impact of John Carpenter’s Halloween franchise wasn’t just seen in the 1980s, but well into the 1990s and until the late 2000s, when the horror genre started to shift away from the slasher subgenre to the more supernatural flicks. But still, several decades of profound influence on horror filmmakers is a lasting legacy for John Carpenter, whose movie certainly influenced a lot of other franchises, like Scream.
Without a doubt, Carpenter’s Halloween franchise is much better than the Scream franchise, both in terms of narrative quality, overall structure, and historical importance. Scream is considered to be the slasher franchise of the 1990s, but Halloween‘s impact on the genre is much longer and deeper, which is why it is a better work than Scream.
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 saga of American movies of the slasher genre. It focuses on the psychopathic medical murderer Michael Myers, who after spending fifteen years in a psychiatric hospital for killing his older sister, escapes and repeats his crimes.
This series created or reinvented the slasher genre, based on how you look at it. It consists of eleven films, with the eleventh film produced by the director of the original, John Carpenter, which will be a direct sequel to the first film (1978), and is set 40 years later.
Scream: An Overview
Scream is an American horror franchise created by Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven. Originally conceived as a trilogy, the saga is made up of five films: Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), Scream 4 (2011), and Scream (2022).
She mixes slasher, metafiction, black comedy, and whodunit with a satire of horror movie clichés and its impact on modern media and culture. The saga is brought to the screen by Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courteney Cox and is at the origin of the emblematic figure of “Ghostface” voiced by Roger L. Jackson.
Halloween vs Scream: 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
Whether a franchise has many movies or not is not necessarily a measure of quality, but it goes to show that it might be popular. Some of the greatest franchises have had around ten or even more movies, which is why we have decided to take that into consideration as well. 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 Scream franchise:
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Producer(s)|
|Scream||December 20, 1996||Wes Craven||Kevin Williamson||Cathy Konrad|
|Scream 2||December 12, 1997||Wes Craven||Kevin Williamson||Cathy Konrad|
|Scream 3||February 4, 2000||Wes Craven||Ehren Kruger||Cathy Konrad|
|Scream 4||April 15, 2011||Wes Craven||Kevin Williamson||Iya Labunka|
|Scream||January 14, 2022||Matt Bettinelli-Olpin|
As you can see, Halloween has 12 movies so far with a 13th on the way, while Scream has only four, with a fifth on the way. These points go to Halloween.
The ratings are, probably, the best way to assess a franchise’s quality, which is why we have decided to compare the ratings of the movies 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 Scream movies have been rated:
|Scream (1996)||79% (73 reviews)||65 (25 reviews)||N/A|
|Scream 2||82% (77 reviews)||63 (22 reviews)||B+|
|Scream 3||39% (122 reviews)||56 (32 reviews)||B|
|Scream 4||60% (183 reviews)||52 (32 reviews)||B−|
The average ratings for the Scream franchise are significantly better, showing that the franchise has kept a consistent level of quality throughout its run. On the other hand, no movie from this franchise has achieved the numbers of the first Halloween movie.
The box office isn’t necessarily a guarantee of a film’s quality, but it can be an indicator as to the film’s popularity and it is certainly great to use in comparison. 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, Scream:
|Scream (1996)||December 20, 1996||$14 million||$103,046,663||$70,000,000||$173,046,663|
|Scream 2||December 12, 1997||$24 million||$101,363,301||$71,000,000||$172,363,301|
|Scream 3||February 4, 2000||$40 million||$89,143,175||$72,691,101||$161,834,276|
|Scream 4||April 15, 2011||$40 million||$38,180,928||$58,957,758||$97,138,686|
If you compare the numbers, the Halloween franchise has earned roughly $55,834,696 per movie, while the Scream franchise has earned $152,139,608 per movie. Sure, some of Halloween‘s numbers have to be adjusted for inflation, and Halloween Kills is certainly going to earn even more, but as it stands now, the Scream movies are the winners in this category.
The cultural impact of the Halloween franchise on the horror genre is truly enormous. John Carpenter was a visionary filmmaker and he actually set the tone for all future horror franchises. Sure, not all of the Halloween movies have been great, but overall, the franchise was actually one of the best in the history of the genre.
On the other hand, Scream was an enormous hit during the 1990s. The fans loved it and it is actually the most important horror series of the 1990s and early 2000s, practically defining the whole period in terms of (slasher) horror.
Its biggest flaw was that it did nothing to reinvent the slasher genre after several decades of enormous popularity and that all of the movies followed the same pattern.
This is why this point goes to Halloween.
With the numbers in, we can finally conclude that Halloween is the better franchise of the two. It wins when the number of movies is concerned, as well its cultural impact; as for the ratings, we have considered the high rating of the first Halloween movie as a reason for giving the win to Carpenter’s franchise.