Final Girl’s in Horror :: Top 25 :: October’s Spooky Monday Movies
What is a final girl? Well, according to Carol Clover’s 1992 book Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film, argues that although slasher movies seem to delight in the sadistic torment of female victims, they are actually providing the audience a point of identification with the last woman standing, which Clover identified as the “Final Girl.” Since this is the spooky month of October around here I thought I’d give over “Movie Mondays” to celebrate the best of the “Final Girls” in horror. Each Monday in October I will present five of some of my favorite “Final Girls” of horror films – so here’s the next five.
20. Mia Allen :: Evil Dead (2013)
Though Mia (Jane Levy) spends the majority of the 2013’s film Evil Dead, and is not the “clear point of identification” to the audience, she still saves the day in the end. Her weapon of choice is a chainsaw which she uses to “chainsaw” through her evil double. Clover (see book reference in the introduction above) referred to the female use of weaponry as “phallic appropriation,” explaining that it allows the final girls to take on masculinity to penetrate the monster and find a release for their sexual tension, though to me the use of a chainsaw to defeat her demon self (or her demons, if you want to read this through the lens of addiction and self-recovery – Mia did come to the cabin to get off drugs) is pretty ass-kicking awesome, regardless of gender.
19. Laurie Strode :: Halloween (1978)
Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is a three-movie Final Girl, escaping Michael Myers in Halloween, Halloween 2 and Halloween: H2O. Laurie is a “babysitter” (oh my, the terrorized babysitter) on Halloween who keeps seeing a strange, masked man who seems to be stalking her all day, and on into the night. Laurie defends herself by stabbing him with a knitting needle, a metal hanger, and his own knife, but nothing kills him; she is actually saved by Dr. Sam Loomis at the end of the first film.
18. Jess Bradford :: Black Christmas (1974)
When obscene and threatening phone calls to a sorority house of Pi Kappa Sig start to scare the sorority girls who are stuck there through Christmas and people start to turn up dead, it is final girl Jess (Olivia Hussey) who takes matters into her own hands. She is faced with inefficient police, a faceless killer, a psycho boyfriend, oh, and the holidays. Best part about this final girl is that she isn’t the virginal and innocent female horror trope, even if her character is stuck in a stereotype of “the killer is in the house” proportions.
17. Julie James :: I Know What You Did Last Summer
Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is the investigative, persistent, “audience point of identification” who is also the Final Girl of I Know What You Did Last Summer. Though the actual killer tricks Julie into thinking it is her boyfriend who is the villain, it is the boyfriend who ends up surviving, and saving this Final Girl, in the end. She uses research instead of heavy weaponry to survive, which is kick ass in its own way, too.
16. Buffy :: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Though she is not the Buffy that comes immediately to mind (being Buffy the Vampire Slayer the TV show is one of my all-time favorites), this is the first Buffy, the movie that started out the epic Whedon fandom. This Buffy definitely qualifies as a “Final Girl“, and has some pretty kick ass weaponry, and fighting skills, to boot. This “chosen one” saves her high school from vampires, even if she does wind up burning the gym down.