We love our final girls.
We love Nancy, Sidney, Laurie, Ripley, Kirsty, newcomers like Grace from Ready or Not, and the list goes on and on. Horror, for the most part, is from a girl’s point of view. At the end, our lead female protagonist has to face what is after her. And she tends to come out on top.
But on rare occasions do we get a male protagonist and what we have, looking at the overall list, they are pretty badass. So today let’s look at a top 10 final guys list!
10. Todd – The Burning (1981): He becomes the convenient final guy against Cropsy. And we’re just left with him but he does count and he does get recognition. Also to go unassumed against Cropsy is a big enough deal.
9. Charley – Fright Night (1985): Why I rank Charley low on the list is despite him going up against vampires and trying to save his girlfriend, his character doesn’t come off as a final guy. I think we as an audience care more about him than Todd for example from The Burning and perhaps that hinders him? I will also say against Jerry as our villain, his character seems the most fitting to be the final guy. Not Peter, Amy or Evil Ed, it’s Charley to go up against him in the end.
8. Casey – The Faculty (1998): You’d think it would be Josh Hartnett’s character in this film but no, it’s Casey (Elijah Wood) who has the big showdown with the big bad (Laura Harris) but not in human form. Casey becomes very important throughout the film, initially he is a bit of a nerd, has a camera and does photography but he almost goes from secondary to then main to then final guy. Quite impressive track record!
7. Alex – Final Destination (2000): Death definitely had it out for him. But was Death prepared for Alex to have a dream about him and his friends’ deaths and become so paranoid that he diverted from the original plan? I love Devon Sawa’s portrayal as the young teen who was trying so hard to cheat death, save his friends and how psychologically everything was fucked up.
6. Jesse – A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985): The only male protagonist to lead against Freddy in the entire ANOES franchise and this film alone is already a black sheep. Jesse is very sensitive, a bit of an outsider, a perfect target for Freddy to use to come into the real world. I think Jesse and this film has been treated unfairly and in recent times, has become more acceptable and more of a cult following.
5. Tommy Jarvis – Friday the 13th (1984, The Final Chapter): Tommy Jarvis is perhaps one of the very small characters that reoccur in Friday the 13th. Obviously Jason is our big number one but Tommy has a very huge impact on the franchise for 3 films. We see Tommy grow up, very similarly to #4 and #2 on the list, and how stronger, more manic, paranoid but aggressive he is to stopping Jason no matter what.
4. Andy – Child’s Play (1988): Little Andy! Played by Alex Vincent as a child and later returning as an older Andy, this character is just so precious but smart. We want to shield and take care of Andy when he’s just a little goober, unexpectedly getting handed hell in a basket and having it affect his life forever. He just wanted a Good Guy doll and instead he got a serial killer trapped in a doll.
3. Chris – Get Out (2017): This was a breakthrough, let’s be honest. We don’t get black male protagonists/final guys often OR at all and the history of black characters in horror in general went from mockery to the token black character and now we are the protagonists. Chris, portrayed by Daniel Kalyuuya, is an example of a true survivor. He was put into a position no one asked for and yet he managed to survive all of the psychological games. He overall is a great character for modern horror.
2. Mike – Phantasm (1979): Even though Phantasm has 3 protagonists against The Tall Man, Mike is the one that we heavily focus on. And he is fixated on The Tall Man and vice versa, especially in the later films. He’s the one that seems to be in the most constant danger, too. But I love the character of Mike and his growth (physically and as a character).
1. Ash Williams – The Evil Dead (1981): When you think of the final guy, I can guarantee most people will suggest him. We also gotta remember that the Ash we know and love did not start out like that. The first film, he’s very… non confrontational, a bit timid, but by the end, we see those qualities of aggression, anger, humor, survival instincts come out through the entire franchise.
So these are my favorite final guys that I could think of. I also thought of Michael from The Lost Boys, maybe even Jim from The Hitcher, perhaps they are honorable mentions. Does Marty from The Cabin in the Woods count as well? Even though he damned the entire world?
Who would you add to the list? Who did I forget? I’m sure I forgot a lot, this was very impromptu-ish. Leave a comment below!