Final girls are the women who are able to stay alive through an entire horror movie. So while their lives are at risk the entire film, they make it through to the end, as everyone around them dies. Think Neve Campbell in Scream. Sydney Prescott is immortal!
In honor of Halloween, I asked everyone for their favorite Final Girls. At the end, I ask for yours.
Emily Hartl: OMG, Dana in Ghostbusters! She busted right through the stone demon dogs only to fall into the arms of Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray). Plus, I love her dress when she’s the evil Dana, AKA Zuul.
Bridget McManus: Vera Farmiga in Orphan. No one listens to Kate (Farmiga) when she
has a bad feeling about her 9-year-old adopted daughter Ester, who
turns out to be a 32-year old mental patient from the Saarna Institute
in Estonia. Ester kills small animals, a nun, puts Kate’s son Danny in the
hospital and attempts to seduce — and eventually kills — Kate’s husband
But, in the end, Kate kicks Ester in the face, breaks her neck and
delivers the best line ever: “I’m not your f–ing Mommy!” No, Kate,
Ali Davis: Ripley is always going to be the coolest for me. Most horror movie women scream; Ripley shouts. She’s smart, she’s independent, she knows her enemy, she picks the biggest damn weapons she can find, and you better believe she is going back to save that cat. Truly a bi/lesbian hero in the making, if there ever was one.
Heather Hogan: My favorite final girl is Molly Weasley. I know, I know — Harry Potter isn’t a slasher flick and Molly Weasley certainly wasn’t the last woman alive, taking down Voldemort on her own or anything. But I don’t watch scary movies, and also the way parents fell right and left by JK Rowling’s sword, it really is a certain kind of accomplishment for Mollywobbles to have made it so far. But she didn’t just make it. Oh, ho no! In the Battle of Hogwarts when it looked like Ginny Weasley was going to die at the hands of nutso-banana Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange, Molly burst forth and whipped out her wand and hollered, “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” And she slayed her! Slayed Bellatrix dead! I get chills up into my brain parts just typing about it! Molly Weasley: BAMF until the very end.
Courtney Gillette: Can Daphne Gottlieb be my final girl? She’s the vixen poet behind the poetry collection Final Girl, where she mixed film studies, slasher flicks, sex, femme fatales, babysitters, drag queens and queers in one fantastic volume. The quintessential girl-victim gets a powerful, feminist second coming when in the hands of Gottlieb’s sharp lines. “I abducted myself at gunpoint,” she writes, “I am the X that marks my spot.” And while you might not have heard her name since the slam poetry heyday of the late ’90s/early ’00s, know that she’s been publishing books on the regular, including a fresh new poetry collection, 15 Ways To Stay Alive. Give your Netflix queue a break and snag a copy of Final Girl.
Trish Bendix: Susan Sarandon was pretty into Catherine Deneuve in The Hunger, which is totally understandable. But when she realized Catherine was a vampire who steals the soul of her lovers and had done so recently with David Bowie, Susan was like “Aw, hell no!” There are two endings for the film. In one, it’s not clear if Susan survives. In the second, she does and is living a glamorous life in London. I prefer that one, where Susan is the only one that was able to survive both Catherine’s vampiric ways and The Annual Transylvanian Convention in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The Linster: Elizabeth from Young Frankenstein isn’t exactly a final girl, but any time I have an opportunity to say I love Madeline Kahn, I take it. Love, love, love.
Moment of trivia: Singing “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life” at a certain critical moment was Kahn’s idea. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, get thee to Netflix and watch this movie.
Who is your favorite final girl?