October has officially begun, and that means this entire month will be dedicated to horror movie lists. To start things off right, I thought it just felt right to celebrate the heroic women that survive terrifying experiences in horror flicks. These women are commonly known as the “final girl.” They typically start out as damsels in distress and see their friends killed one by one in the woods/neighborhood/spaceship. For some odd reason, the killer always saves them for last, but these girls find a way to beat the odds and be the last woman standing. The following are the best examples of final girls in horror movies.
5 – Sydney Prescott (Scream)
When the first Scream was released in 1996, it was one of a kind. It was able to openly mock teen slasher flicks while actually being extremely intense. The lead character, Sydney, leads an extremely tragic life. Her mother had been murdered one year previous to the events of the first film. As teens start dying in her neighborhood, she is on the receiving end of horrific phone calls from Ghostface. <Spoiler Alert> Turns out her boyfriend is one of the original killers.<End spoiler> Even after she survives nearly being killed, she cannot escape the copycat killers that follow her to college and doesn’t stop there. She manages to survive in every movie, so it’s apparent that the Ghostface killer hasn’t learned anything over the years. Maybe he can try again if they make Scream 5. Neve Campbell needs the work.
4 – Sarah (The Descent)
Why do all of these heroines need to have tragic backstories? At the beginning of The Descent, Sarah is driving with her husband and daughter. He gets distracted and they crash but Sarah is the only survivor. A year later, Sarah’s friends invite her to get away for an extreme weekend of spelunking in unexplored caverns. That doesn’t quite work out for the best. Not only do these adventurous women encounter some of the most claustrophia-inducing tunnels, but they become meals for the albino humanoids, who pick them off one at a time. Depending on the ending you saw, Sarah ends up being the only survivor and eventually climbs above ground. Though, like all final girls, she was never quite the same after swimming in a pool of blood.
3 – Nancy Thompson (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Nancy provided Freddy with his greatest conquest. Her character appears in the best chapters of the Nightmare on Elm Street series. She manages to outlive her boyfriend played by Johnny Depp in the first movie, then helps kids to find their dream abilities in the third movie. Though she doesn’t survive the threequel, she plays herself in A New Nightmare, which is a very meta take on the character of Freddy and the role the original movies served. Much like any final girl, Freddy had several chances to take her out early in the first movie, but kept her alive, taunting her throughout the horror flick. Though, as we know, no maniacal monster should keep a virgin alive or it will result in the monster’s death. Until the maniac comes back in inevitable sequels, that is.
2 – Ellen Ripley (Alien)
No heroic list would be complete without the addition of Ellen Ripley. While she eventually became every Xenomorph’s worst nightmare, she started out in the first Alien movie as a weaker character with nothing to prove. The scary thing about Ripley’s situation is that she is stuck on a small ship surrounded by the suffocating expanse of space. She isn’t able to call the police or run to the neighbor’s house for help. Instead, she ends up being the lone survivor and fights for survival against a stalking alien. And while the Alien sequels became sci-fi action movies, the first Alien film is definitely fits in the horror genre.
1 – Laurie Strode (Halloween)
Laurie Strode lived a very traumatic life and she deserves the number one spot on this list. Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Janet Leigh, plays Laurie as an extremely vulnerable teenager who has been stalked by a masked psychopath during the day. As she babysits the neighbor’s kids, Michael Myers starts picking off her friends and seeks her out as his last victim of the night. She survives the night and is stalked once again in the sequel. Not only that, but she is told that the psycho killer who will not quit pursuing her is actually her biological brother. That’ll give you a few issues. She ends up changing her name and returns as the final girl/mom in Halloween H2O. Sadly, after surviving over 20 years of being stalked by her evil brother, she is unceremoniously killed of in the beginning of Halloween 8. Jamie Lee Curtis is not only one of the first, but also the best best scream queen and set the pace for the “final girls” to come.