Jamie Lee Curtis is better known as Laurie Strode in the Halloween movies – but here’s a ranking of all his horror movie appearances, from worst to best. Curtis certainly didn’t stay confined to the horror genre, becoming a mainstream star and appearing in hits like A fish called Wanda, My daughterand true lies. She’s still going strong, having played a memorable role in director Rian Johnson’s star-studded murder mystery Knives out. The thing about Curtis is that unlike a lot of big stars who started out in horror, she was never ashamed to come back to the genre here and there.
Although Curtis has criticized devotees of the hardcore genre for not personally liking horror movies — she doesn’t like being scared — that stance is ridiculous. She’s never disrespected horror and seems to thoroughly enjoy the fact that she owes her career to John Carpenter’s original. Halloween. She has since returned to Halloween franchise five times, most recently topping the Blumhouse Halloween trilogy directed by David Gordon Green.
Even when he’s not fighting Michael Myers in Haddonfield, Illinois, Curtis has starred in a handful of other horror projects. Below is a rundown of each one, from slashers to sci-fi/horror to serial killer thrillers, ranked from worst to best. Taken together, these films exemplify Curtis’ various contributions to horror, large and small.
12. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Halloween: Resurrection is in some ways a better overall film than other less well-regarded Curtis films, but the way it treats Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode is unforgivable. Curtis appears in what amounts to a long cameo, before being killed by Michael. Resurrection had no reason to exist other than money, as Michael’s return ruined Laurie’s perfect and triumphant ending of Halloween H20.
11. Viruses (1999)
Although it is by no means irremediably bad, Virus was a critical and commercial bomb when it was released, and is far from a good movie. Based on a Dark Horse comic series, Virus stars Curtis as Kelly Foster, navigator of the rescue ship Sea Star. The Sea Star attempts to save a Russian ship, only to find that an alien intelligence has taken control of the ship. Famously, Curtis herself considers Virus be a horrible movie.
10. Prom Night (1980)
After his decisive role in HalloweenCurtis earned her Scream Queen title by starring in three different slashers in the same calendar year, 1980. The worst of them is prom night, which for some reason has a fan following and spawned a five-movie franchise. Unfortunately, while some of the sequels are fun, the first prom night is simply boring to many viewers for much of its runtime – even the kill scenes.
9. Mother’s Boys (1993)
mother’s boys is more of a psychological thriller than pure horror, but it’s close enough to the genre that many consider it to be on Jamie Lee Curtis’ list of horror movies. Curtis stars as Jude Madigan, a woman who abandons her family, only to suddenly return years later in search of forgiveness. She can’t find it, but Jude isn’t exactly sane and goes to great lengths to bring his children back into his life. Mother’s Boys is considered by many not to be a particularly good film, but less boring than prom night.
8. Terror Train (1980)
train of terror was another in Curtis’ 1980 slasher triple header, and luckily it’s significantly better than prom night. He transports the usual slasher tropes on a moving train to a New Year’s costume party, allowing the killer to continually change his disguise. train of terror isn’t a top slasher, but Curtis is good as usual and the late 1970s atmosphere is nice, as is a small role for magician David Copperfield.
7. Roadgames (1981)
Curtis’ most obscure horror outing, road games is an Australian production directed by Richard Franklin, who went on to helm the criminally underrated sequel Psycho 2. road games stars Stacy Keach as a trucker who finds himself on the trail of a serial killer preying on hitchhikers. Curtis plays Pamela, a hitchhiker picked up by Keach’s character who ends up helping him track down the killer. road games is a minor gem, and is a precursor to later hits like The Hitcher and tower of joy.
6. The Fog (1980)
One of legendary director John Carpenter’s many great horror efforts in the 1980s, Fog reunited Carpenter with his Halloween leading lady Curtis. As Elizabeth Solley, Curtis is a far cry from 1978’s sage Laurie Strode, easily connecting with Tom Atkins’ Nick Castle after Nick picks her up hitchhiking. Nick and Elizabeth are among those forced to try to stay alive when vengeful ghosts invade the small coastal town of Antonio Bay.
5. Halloween H20 (1998)
Halloween H20 saw Curtis make a comeback in the franchise that made her famous, after not appearing since 1981 Halloween 2. Halloween H20 marked the series’ first major comeback, with everything after Halloween 2 ignored, including the off-screen death of Laurie in a car accident and her daughter Jamie Lloyd. A huge success, Halloween H20 saw Curtis in fine form as Laurie and revived the franchise. Unfortunately, this led to the horrible Halloween: Resurrection.
4. Halloween Kills (2021)
Apart from Halloween 3 – who abandoned Michael Myers – and Rob Zombie Halloween movies, there is no more division Halloween entry than that of 2021 halloween kills. Many were put off by the unfriendly mob of Haddonfield residents led by Tommy Doyle, and their incessant “Evil dies tonight!slogan, but Michael Myers himself is truly a delight to watch, dishing out some of the most sadistic and gruesome murders in Halloween the story. It’s a little disappointing to see how much Laurie de Curtis is given to do, but halloween kills doesn’t deserve the hate he sometimes receives.
3. Halloween 2 (1981)
the original Halloween 2 has long been the best sequel in the franchise, and it’s still a close contender. It is despite this, as halloween kills, giving Curtis little to Laurie other than hanging out in a hospital. Always, Halloween 2 features great kills, a cool atmosphere, and really feels like a direct continuation of Carpenter’s original classic. The late Donald Pleasance also shines as Dr. Loomis, which makes it even more of a shame that the Blumhouse films retconned this episode.
2. Halloween (2018)
Curtis made his second major comeback at Halloween for Blumhouse’s “requelle” in 2018, and although it hurts to lose Halloween 2 canon, this change at least negated the awkward common thread of Laurie and Michael being siblings. Halloween 2018 is a very, very good movie, and it was exactly what the franchise needed after the deplorable Zombie Halloween 2. Curtis’ survivalist take on Laurie is interesting, and Michael becomes genuinely creepy again.
1. Halloween (1978)
No movie other than Halloween could possibly occupy the first place of a ranking of Jamie Lee Curtis horror movies, and that’s because John Carpenter’s original Halloween is just this icon from a movie. It was slasher before slashers were ostensibly a thing, and has arguably never been surpassed in the subgenre. Even today, more than 40 years later, Halloween 1978 holds up perfectly, from Carpenter’s signature synthesizer score, to Michael’s POV scenes of Laurie and her friends, to the opening escape scene in a dark and ominous Smith’s Grove. Curtis’ performance as horror’s quintessential “final girl” made her career, and it’s not hard to see why, given her performance in the role. Halloween 1978 is a true masterpiece, and the fact that it has competition as Carpenter’s greatest film is truly a testament to the strength of his filmography as a whole.
More: Jamie Lee Curtis’ Planned Scary Movie Cameo
- Halloween Ends (2022)Release date: October 14, 2022
Moonfall 2 & 3 were part of Roland Emmerich’s original movie master plan
About the Author