We recognize some of the best final girls in horror, including many of the less celebrated ladies of iconic “last girl standing” status.
Hello Ghoulies and Goblins! It’s Miss J here, and welcome back to Morbidly Beautiful! What makes a final girl? Is she the last one standing or does she just have to kick some serious ass? Well, both of these types of final girls will be featured on this list of some of the best final girls in the history of horror.
10. Charly — 31 (2016)
Charly is played by none other than the beautiful Sheri Moon Zombie, the wife of director Rob Zombie. The two have made plenty of movies together, but this was Rob’s first crowdfunded film, and in his words, the most violent and brutal yet. It took editing it three times to get the R rating, or else it would have been declared NC17.
The ending of the movie is unclear as to whether Charly has survived, therefore we are left to assume her fate. Sheri has described Charly as one of those characters that are totally a victim but shows what a person is capable of when put to the test. With all the ass kicking she does in this film, I like to believe she walked away. Maybe Doomhead kept her alive to watch Nosferatu with.
9. Jody Marken — Cherry Falls (2000)
The late beautiful Brittany Murphy starred in this slasher — a movie that made everyone want to go out and lose their virginity so they wouldn’t end up murdered! Just kidding, nobody really did that that after watching this film. If Horror movies taught us anything, it’s that one of the many rules of surviving a horror movies is don’t have sex because you will die, But in the storyline of this film, a killer is specifically targeting virgins.
Jody Markens is stuck in the middle of it all. She saves the day like any good Final girl would do and survives with her virginity still intact. This movie unfortunately didn’t make it to theaters despite its large budget. However, it has become a cult classic around the horror community, and one that can be enjoyed through the ages.
8. Trish Jenner — Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Trish is your typical older sibling, who we can all relate to. No, we don’t want to stop the car and go looking down a creepy ass tunnel with you. But she will also fight a demon from hell if it means protecting her brother. In true Final Girl fashion, Trish tries to sacrifice herself for the life of her little brother, but the Creeper is far to drawn to Darry to take up her offer, and she is the last one standing at the end.
It has been said that the fourth and final movie for the series will include Trish once more, and she is scared the Creeper will come back for her son. I know there is a lot of controversy that is involved around the Jeepers Creepers movies, due to director Victor Salva going to prison for sexually assaulting a young boy, but I would have loved for this to have been the storyline for Jeepers Creepers 3 — and they could have just ended it there. Not that I hated Jeepers Creepers 3, but it’s not what I would have done for a comeback film. No matter what happened, Trish deserves her spot on the list, and I hope she’s still standing in the final chapter.
7. Mia Allen — Evil Dead (2013)
Mia has a serious drug problem, and a group of her friends takes her out to a remote cabin to help her try and kick the habit. But instead, she is met with demons and blood, lots of blood. 70,000 gallons of fake blood was used, and the final scene took 50,000 of those gallons; where the original movie only used 300 -400 gallons.
Mia also has a brother, and they try their hardest to save one another. But Mia is the only one left standing at the end of the movie. Not only does she get to use the iconic shotgun (aka, boomstick), but also the chainsaw as well. Mia literally fought with a demon, and that is why she is on our list of final girls!
6. Erin — The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Erin is taking a trip with her boyfriend and their friends, when they encounter a hitchhiker that ends up shooting herself in the back of their van. This leads to them being involved with the police, who is actually a crazed cannibal and has a brother with a chainsaw to prove it. Erin is the last one standing, but she also leaves with a baby that was stolen from a family that was murdered.
Jessica Biel gives us a passionate performance and shows us what girls can accomplish in just a tank top and tight Blue Jeans.
5. Nancy Thompson — A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Heather Langenkamp brought the iconic Nancy to life and beat out over 200 actresses for the role; one of the actresses to be rumored to be Courtney Cox. Not only was she lucky to get the part, but her on screen boyfriend was played by heartthrob Johnny Depp; her then real-life boyfriend at the time is credited for making Freddy Krueger’s nursery rhyme.
Though it was mainly a stunt double for the famous bathtub scene, Heather still spent over 12 hours in the water. The ending, at the time, confused viewers because it seemed like everyone dies at the end. But later on in the sequels, Nancy comes back, therefore making her a final girl!
4. Alice — Resident Evil (2002)
Alice is the definition of a final girl — surviving over six movies. Man, that’s a lot of zombies! Milla Jovovich had acquired so many cuts and bruises that make up was not needed. The iconic scene where she kicks the virus infected dog took her over 3 months to perfect. Milla actually did all of her own stunts, except for one. For that one, her manager put his foot down because he thought she would end up strangling herself.
Milla went on to marry director Paul W.S. Anderson and create a family with him. Even though the franchise is over, Milla gave us six movies of a girl kicking total ass — and many other powerful female characters were involved with the series as well. Alice sits comfortably high upon this list, because there is nothing that can stop her!
3. Wendy Torrance — The Shining (1980)
First of all, lets talk about the fact that Shelley Duvall, who plays Wendy, had an actual mental breakdown while filming. She suffered from nervous exhaustion, psychical illness and hair loss. The cause of the stress has been said to have been because of Stanley Kubrick’s intense directing. Jack Nicholson has gone on record saying it wasn’t so bad to film along Stanley, but that he had a very different approach with Shelley.
If you watch the documentary film Making of The Shining, you can see Stanley yelling at Shelley for wasting everyone’s time. He was clearly mentally abusing her, going so far as telling the crew to not to sympathize with her in hopes of making her feel hopeless and alone. She later said that he was probably trying to get the best reactions from her for the movie, and he spoke very highly of her acting abilities after the film was over; but a good director knows his actors’ limits.
Stephen king has always been honest about his opinion on The Shining, which was adapted from his book of the same title. He has said that Kubrick’s version of Wendy is the most misogynist portrayal of a female character, and has even said she was just there to “Scream and be stupid.” I don’t know if I can agree with the King on that. You can feel the intensity and pain behind Shelley’s performance as Wendy, and that’s why she has made it on to this list. She was able to defeat her mentally crazed husband and save their son, making her the very definition of a final girl.
2. Laurie Strode — Halloween (2007)
I know, how dare I pick Scout Taylor-Compton’s performance over Jaime Lee Curtis in John Carpenters Halloween (1978). She gets an honorable mention from me; I know, I’m a cold-hearted person. I’m picking Scout because every list expects to have Jaime on it, and I think its time for Scout to be recognized for the incredible work she has done in this movie. Scout ended up with a sprained ankle and a lot of bruises while filming her own stunts. She once said in an interview that it didn’t matter how close she got off set with actor Tyler Maine (Michael Myers) — even going as far as to describe him as her big brother — as soon as the mask was on and the knife in his hand, he became immediately frightening to her.
Scout studied the original Halloween when she found out they were remaking it. When she told Director Zombie this, he said to completely scrap that. He wanted Scout to add something fresh to the character, and we see that with a more playful and nerdy side to this version of Laurie Strode. The movie also has Scream Queen Danielle Harris, who was a final girl in Halloween 4. She’s also a final girl in this remake along with Scout; but isn’t so lucky in the second movie.
Scout’s performance in Halloween 2 should also be noted, because she takes a once happy and playful character into a nightmare-fueled therapy patient who isn’t coping very well with finding out she is the sister to the man that killed everyone she loved on Halloween night.
Before we get to our number one film on the list, let’s take a look at some important Honorable Mentions: Marilyn Burns as Sally (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974), Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode (Halloween, 1978), Adrienne King as Alice (Friday the 13th, 1980), Sigourney Weaver as Ripley (Alien, 1979).
1. Sidney Prescott — Scream (1996)
And our number one spot goes to Neve Campbell who has portrayed the character Sidney Prescott four times! I debated even putting her on the list, never mind at number one, because she’s always been considered a final girl. But Courtney Cox has survived all four of those movies too, and she’s never on any of these final girls lists! The cover of the movie didn’t even have Neve front and center, it was Drew Barrymore that took up most of the cover.
But when you really think about this movie, and the ones that followed, Wes set out the create the perfect final girl after making A Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s like he brought Nancy to the future and made her even stronger and more independent. The best thing about this character though, and why she is number one on this list, is because she isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty — even racking up quite the body count by the end of the series.
She kills them with absolutely no sympathy or regret, and usually with a witty one liner. You have to wonder how someone who hates horror movies has survived for so long. The vulnerability we see at the beginning of the first movie is completely shredded by the end, and in the second installment she is like a phoenix risen from the ashes. You can make Sidney bleed and hurt her, but it’s like she is bulletproof!
She is one of the original final girls to be written with intentions of making her superior and not a “typical” helpless female victim. By the fourth movie she isn’t running away from the person behind the mask, but instead straight into the house they’ve just murdered at in hopes to catch them and take them down herself. That’s why Sidney Prescott is siting firmly and comfortably at number one.
Thank you so much for reading this weeks list! Was there anybody (besides Jaime Lee Curtis) that should have made the list, and who is your all-time favorite final girl?