10 Best Slasher Film Final Girls
In the hierarchy of horror movies, there are three aspects that take precedence over any other. These are the things that will make or break a horror movie. They are The Killer, The Kills, and The Final Girl. The ‘Final Girl,’ moniker is one that is given to the (usually) sole survivor of a slasher film. More often than not, the survivor is female. Typically, at least throughout the ’80s, the ‘Final Girl’ would be pure of heart, mind and body. That meant that our heroine didn’t drink, do drugs or, worst of all, have sex. As times changed and filmmakers realized that having sex doesn’t make somebody a bad person, the prototype of the Final Girl has changed as well. But the most important aspects of her remain. Final Girls, or ‘Scream Queens,’ as they are sometimes called, are resilient. They are strong, smart and stalwart. More than anything, they are survivors. These are the girls that have gone toe-to-toe with the Freddy’s, Jason’s and Michael Myers’ of the world and they have come out on top.
10) Lila Crane (Psycho)
Originally, we were going to put Janet Leigh’s iconic character Marion Crane as this entry. But then we remembered that she didn’t actually survive the film. Or even the first half of it, really. Her sister did though, and Psycho is a masterpiece.
9) Megan Lowry (Slashers)
Slashers is a little-known Canadian horror movie from the mind of writer/director Maurice Devereaux. In the film (which was released in 2001, right before the ‘Reality TV’ fad came into existence…it was really ahead of its time) six strangers are chosen to participate in a Japanese game show. They’re not answering questions, however. The stakes are much higher. In this game show, they’re fighting for their lives against three, well, ‘Slashers.’ Sarah Joslyn Crowder starred as contestant Megan Lowry, a bleeding heart who, ironically, joined the gameshow to prove how wrong the gameshow was. Or something. We like Megan because she started the movie out as an annoying martyr, but after much character development and brushes with death, she came out of the experience as a whole new person.
8) Alice Hardy (Friday the 13th Franchise)
Alice was the very first ‘final girl’ of the Friday the 13th franchise. It was not Jason who she first went up against though. In the very first film, Alice went head-to-head (heh) with Jason’s mother, Pamela Voorhees. After Mrs. Voorhees took out all of the camp counselors, Alice was the last girl standing. A brief fight ensued between the two women, but it was Alice who would prevail. She decapitated Pamela and ended her nightmare for good. Alice was one of the very first ‘final girls’ of 80’s slasher films. She would be the template for many girls to come. She survived Friday the 13thand helped usher in a decade of destruction. Unfortunately, she only made it to the next film because Jason sought to avenge his mother and he did so with an icepick to Alice’s head.
7) Alice Johnson (A Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise)
Speaking of women named Alice, Alice Johnson went face-to-burned face with Freddy Krueger not once, but two times. And she survived. In fact, she is the only Nightmare heroine to survive two movies with Krueger (Nancy doesn’t count…we’ll explain why later). Alice might also have the best character development out of all the final girls as well. In A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4, Alice was quiet, meek and looked to be a ready-made victim. By the end of the film, she was a strong, confident badass who actually saved her boyfriend’s life, instead of the usual other way around. Then in Nightmare 5, Alice retained that strength and confidence (which she really needed, because Krueger ended up getting her boyfriend anyway). She also became a protective mother, intent on stopping Freddy from playing daddy to her unborn child.
6) Mia Allen (Evil Dead Franchise)
Okay, we’re cheating a bit here, because the Evil Dead franchise isn’t quite a slasher film. But! The hero from the original trilogy, Ash, exists in the same world as Jason Voorhees and even went up against Jason and Freddy in a comic book series. So we’re counting it. We’re not here to talk about Ash though. We’re talking about Mia, the heroine from the Evil Dead remake. Mia started out the film as the first victim. But in a genius move from director Fede Alvarez. Mia recovered from her deadite possession and ended up being this film’s version of Ash – chainsaw and all. We hesitate to even compare her to Ash though, because she’s such a great character on her own. She is definitely a worthy successor to the Boom Stick and we hope to see her in future installments, now that it seems the ‘Ash Universe’ has completed.
5) Tree Gelbman (Happy Death Day Franchise)
Tree Gelbman starts off the first Happy Death Day movie as kind of a terrible person. She’s selfish, apathetic and blissfully unaware. By the end of the movie, she’s a rock star. After being killed multiple times until she found out who her killer was, Tree finally grew into a pretty awesome person. This was further exemplified in the sequel. Tree once again finds herself is a pattern of death but, this time, her friends are being killed as well. It’s up to Tree to save herself and her friends and it was amazing to see the transformation between the two films. Tree went from ‘obnoxious sorority chick’ to ‘selfless badass’ and we loved it. Tree is the ‘final girl’ for a new generation and we hope we haven’t seen the last of her.
4) Sidney Prescott (Scream Franchise)
What’s your favorite scary movie? If it’s Scream, then you probably know who Sidney Prescott is. She’s the main protagonist in all four Scream movies and she’s the only girl in our top five who hasn’t actually been killed by her predator in some way, shape or form. After surviving a brutal attack from her boyfriend, her boyfriend’s mom, her classmate, her half-brother and her niece, Sidney could very easily have become just another victim. But she never did. Fans were sure that Sidney would finally be killed off in Scream 4, but she never was. She survived. Because, as she told her college professor all those years ago, she is a survivor.
3) Nancy Thompson (Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise)
Speaking of survivors, Nancy Thompson is the other ‘final girl’ on our list to survive her encounters with Freddy Krueger. For some, Nancy is the only ‘final girl’ from A Nightmare on Elm Street that matters. Nancy has, in fact, become almost as iconic as Freddy himself, despite only appearing in three of the eight films. But boy, did she make those films count. In the original Nightmare on Elm Street, she was the pure, creative heroine. In Part 3, she was the mentor. And in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, she was a character come to life in the ‘real world.’ Though she may have gone by the name ‘Heather’ in WCNN, there’s no doubt that it was Nancy who finally defeated Freddy once and for all (except for that one time he had to fight Jason). Nancy Thompson is who we think about when we think of a ‘final girl.’ She was fierce, tough, creative and strategic. She outsmarted the smartest slasher and she did so with a style and grace that nobody else has been able to replicate. Nancy is what Freddy’s Nightmares are made of.
2) Danielle Harris (Halloween and Hatchet Franchises)
Danielle Harris is one of our favorite ‘final girls’ of all time. She not only survived two different Halloween franchise universes. Harris also went toe-to-toe with Hatchet’s Victor Crowley and came out more or less on top. She also appeared films like Urban Legend but, unfortunately, did not survive that movie. She played so many different, badass characters, that we’re choosing to use her real name instead of the characters she played. But, for the record, her most iconic performances were as Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4 & 5, as well as Annie Bracket in Halloween 1 & 2 (we know, it’s confusing) AND as Marybeth Dunston in Adam Greene’s ‘Hatchet’ franchise.
1) Laurie Strode (Halloween Franchise)
Laurie Strode puts the ‘Queen’ in ‘Scream Queen.’ She was, for all intents and purposes, the one that started it all and, as of this writing, she’s the only final girl still standing. With an impressive five appearances in the Halloween franchise, she tops the list of final girls. Audiences have literally watched Laurie Strode grow up in front of their eyes. From the shy, naïve girl in the first Halloween film, all the way to the grizzled survivalist of Halloween 2018, Laurie Strode has become inextricably linked to Michael Myers, to the Halloween franchise and to the term ‘final girl.’ But she’s more than just a ‘final girl.’ She’s more than just a Scream Queen. Laurie Strode, for the past 40 years, has been our hero.
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