Ah Final Girls, it’s a trope that has been around since the beginning of the slasher genre yet coined by a woman Carol J. Clover in her novel, Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film circa 1992 and since then, we have used the term for the “last standing” girl (or sometimes it’s a guy) going up against the big baddie.
There are so many final girls (and boys) that are worth talking about in distinctive form BUT that would be a quite long list. For today’s post, narrowing down and ranking a top 10 was very hard. Just also be aware, we have some honorable mentions too, so let’s get started on those!
These final characters are great in their own right, there is no specific ranking but just want to give them kudos and attention because they are underrated in all their own right.
Jesse Walsh & Lisa Webber – A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
Grace le Domas – Ready or Not
Susie Bannion (2018) & Suzy (1977) – Suspiria
Sarah Bailey – The Craft
Tanya Robertson – Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers
Haley Keller – Crawl
10. Jeryline – Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight: One of the few handful of black characters in horror who have a) managed to survive and b) survive to overcome obstacles and baddies, Jeryline is quick witted, beautiful, and brave. The downside is that I wish there was a movie where she was the ultimate lead but what a great and rare example of a black final girl.
9. Dana Polk – The Cabin in the Woods: I had just recently watched this film this month in its entirety, enjoyed the film and Dana Polk (Kristen Connolly) is a little naive but is always trying to do or think about the right thing whether its saving her friends or even try to kill her brother in order to save the world and fulfill her role as the “virgin”. And that’s realistic, not everything is black and white, it’s gray.
8. Ginny Field – Friday the 13th Part 2: No offense to Adrienne King from the first Friday the 13th, but Amy Steel’s performance as Ginny I’m more keen on as a final girl. She uses her background, an aspiring child psychologist, to her advantage to trick and manipulate Jason. She’s only the second final girl in the franchise but she’d one that can stand above the rest by using her knowledge.
7. Ellen Ripley – Alien: In space, no one can hear you scream. Or the xenomorphs screams. Action star, badass, survivor. Those are the words I would describe Ripley. I do like the Ripley represented in Alien and Aliens the most. There’s a sense of consistency.
6. Kirsty Cotton – Hellraiser: A little underrated, even in the top 10. Kirsty is in the middle of something that frankly, she did not cause. Her stepmother and uncle are the cause of pretty much tearing the family apart. But even towards the end of the film, she tricks her uncle Frank, then dismisses the cenobites one by one. I also like that in some comics, Kirsty becomes a cenobite.
5. Jess Bradford – Black Christmas: Before Halloween, there was Black Christmas. Bob Clark (director) and John Carpenter (Halloween) were friends and you can see the inspiration of Black Christmas in Halloween, even down to the final girls. Jess is her own young woman with clear vision, she has goals but even when confronted with danger towards the end of the film, fought back. She also accidentally shot her boyfriend and then was left alone in the house with the killer at the end but those are gripes.
4. Nancy Thompson – A Nightmare on Elm Street: Resourceful, smart, strong, these are some words to describe Nancy. It’s the tenacity is why she ranks high on my list. Also, the traps she makes to halt Freddy and that kind of courage to even face him and then reject him is amazing.
3. Sally Hardesty – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Oh this girl, I… what can we say about Sally that isn’t said? Survivor, on the verge of a breakdown of sorts by the end but she’s the one that after everything, I hoped she found actual help because she’s a final girl I genuinely care about her wellbeing after. Not to say the others I don’t care for, I love them all but she’s the one that you just know probably needed all sorts of post Massacre help.
2. Laurie Strode – Halloween: For some she is the ultimate final girl and Jamie Lee Curtis is the ultimate “scream queen”. The first Halloween, Laurie cements herself as scream queen but there’s something about Laurie in Halloween II that I love who ups her game a bit in a film that ups the stakes. Which Laurie is a favorite of yours?
1. Sidney Prescott – Scream: I mean, no one comes close to Sidney. We have truly watched her grow into who she becomes in the sequels. The problem is that the killer(s) seem to underestimate Sidney and she surprises them and the audience all the time. I’ve always had a soft spot for Sidney and I cannot wait until we see Scream 5. They better not kill her off, she’s been through enough!
In conclusion, I love final girls (and guys) but there’s so many, it’s hard to pick and then narrow down! But who are some of your final protagonists? Let me know in the comments below!