Monday, October 13, 2014

Pointless Lists: 13 Greatest Final Girls

Aside from the slasher, The Final Girl is probably the most important person in a slasher flick. After all, this is the movie's heroine. This young lady will rise up and down a fearless, seemingly invincible killing machine. With the carcasses of her friends strewn about and still leaking onto the ground, she figures a way to do what they could not: survive. Why not celebrate the best who've ever done it? With spoilers ahead, here are...

The 13 Greatest Final Girls

Natalie Simon
Urban Legend
After Scream became a huge success, slasher flicks were all the rage for a few years. One of the more fun was Urban Legend. After our killer dispatches of just about all of her friends using various urban legends, of course, as inspiration, Natalie handles business the old west way: with a gun. Sort of.

Dana Polk
The Cabin in the Woods
Unlike anyone else on this list, Dana actually doesn't survive her movie. That movie, The Cabin in the Woods is a wonderful spoof of the slasher genre and eventually satirizes all manner of horror. So what puts a girl who didn't make it on the list? The stuff she survives is pretty heinous and then her death is sacrificial.

Sally Hardesty
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The movie Sally appears in is certainly one of the most iconic of any mentioned on this list. However, what keeps Sally from rising to the top is that she doesn't actually stop the bad guy. She merely escapes, with someone else's help, at that. Still, what she goes through is just plain brutal. I'm sure she'll take being alive over whatever prize I have for her.

Chris Higgins
Friday the 13th Part III
When dealing with the legendary Jason Voorhees, a girl's gotta be thorough with her killin' skills. And Chris is just that. Not content with just taking a knife to him, or rather not really safe with doing just that, she hangs him...and takes an axe to him.

Julie James
I Know What Did Last Summer
Ms. James is one of several ladies on the list who were actually The Final Girl more than once. The first time around, she survived a rather pissed off version of The Gordon's Fisherman. The second, it was two pissed off versions. There's no denying Julie is a survivor.

Alice Hardy
Friday the 13th
In a lot of ways, Alice is a pioneer in this game. For starters, she was Final Girl in the movie that spawned one of the most iconic franchises in slasher flick history. And as you may know, she's the only FG in the franchise's history that did not have to take on Jason. More impressively, her dispatching of her tormentor was quick, and deliciously messy all at once.

Ginny Field
Friday the 13th, Part II
Here, we have our third lady from the Friday the 13th franchise. Ginny does something most of the ladies here do not. She uses Jedi mind tricks on the killer, Mr. Jason Voorhees, himself. She dons his mom dingy, old sweater and launches into some rather nice trickeration, confusing poor Jay. And then she chops him with a machete. Cool.

Amanda Young
Starring in possibly the most extreme case of Stockholm Syndrome ever filmed, we have Amanda. Honestly, her work as a Final Girl probably wouldn't put her on this list, at all. It's what she does with that status that not only gets her here, but with pretty lofty rating, as well. In that first movie, she is the lone survivor, escaping one nasty little trap. In subsequent movies, she does the unfathomable. Amanda becomes an apprentice to the killer. Eventually, this does cause some rifts in the relationship between her and the bad guy, but what are you gonna do?

Erin Harson
You're Next
Truth told, if I were basing this list off their accomplishments in just one movie, I'd be tempted to put Erin at the very top of the list. After all, she doesn't just take out one slasher. She takes out a whole squad of folks and her boyfriend. Her survival isn't based on accidents and luck, either. She's a killing machine in her own right.

Nancy Thompson
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Not only does Nancy take on one of the most iconic killers of all time, she comes back in one sequel to help another Final Girl take him out (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, 1987) then shows up in another to take him out in "real life" (Wes Craven's New Nightmare, 1994). Obviously, she knows a thing or two about survival.

Laurie Strode
What she endures in the original Halloween is enough to get her on this list. In that movie, she's the embodiment of The Final Girl. However, it's what she does in subsequent movies that gets her near the top of the list. All told, she takes on Michael Myers and wins four times spread over 24 years. That's just in the Jamie Lee Curtis incarnation of the role. Add Scout Taylor-Compton's work in the rebooted series and those numbers jump to six movies over 31 years.

Ellen Ripley
Before you even start, yes, she is the most iconic character on this list. Her status comes from what she means to pop culture. There's just no denying it. What gets her here is that the Alien movies are certainly slasher fare. It just so happens that the slasher is an extra-terrestrial and not an axe/machete/chainsaw wielding psycho. And she does it over the course of four movies. What keeps her from the top spot? Well, have you seen that fourth movie?

Sidney Prescott
Here, we have the quintessential Final Girl. She's tough, smart, and always comes out on top. Another plus is that these victories come against different killers, multiple killers, in each of four movies, all of whom are specifically targeting her. All the while, there are books written, by her so-called friends, and movies filmed about her experiences that keep all of this playing out in the public eye. The tiara is hers.


  1. Ripley is the great final girl where she would become the ultimate embodiment of feminist badassery in its sequel.

    1. No real argument from me. She certainly is an important and iconic character. It's fine with me if anyone wants to give her their top spot. I just give Sidney a slight edge, who is no slouch herself.

  2. Ripley is a great final girl. She gets some awesome moves in Aliens but even in the original Alien I always liked the balance of emotions she has. The way she is obviously determined to take out the alien but at the same time the fact that they don't hide the fact that she is also frightened by it makes her more human. Even in the scenes where she does show weakness and vulnerability (i.e. that scene with Ash, or when she tries to rescue the cat) she still manages to avoid letting it keep her down.

    I'm not sure that Laurie Strode is that great a final girl, though. Maybe it's just because I never bothered with the sequels (I didn't even like the first one, what makes you think I'd want to sit through six other movies like it?) but she just spent the end of the original film crying because Michael Myers just wouldn't friggin' stay dead after he'd been stabbed, shot and then fell out a second story window.

    1. Interesting point about Laurie Strode. I will say that it's the sequels that elevate her to really being a great final girl. As for Ripley, her work stands for itself.

  3. Excellent list! Ripley, Laurie, Sydney, Sally, Nancy and Dana would be my top choices for sure. Good call on Amanda too!

    1. Thanks. Amanda is an easy one to forget, but I had to include her.

  4. Great list, can't argue with your ranking and I totally agree with your admiration of Erin, one of my 'modern' faves.

    1. Thanks. Erin is amazing, isn't she? She really made her movie incredibly enjoyable.

  5. This list is great and your top three ROCKS. There's something about Sally from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that I've always loved. Her final cry/laugh is so goddamn terrifying.

    1. Thanks. Really didn't consider anyone else for those top 3 slots. As for Sally, yeah, those last sounds she lets out are unsettling.

  6. Awesome list! :) Since I'm watching Friday the 13th marathon right now, I totally think they are worthy. And Ellen Ripley, definitely. Although, I haven't seen Scream in so long, I'd probably need to revisit that one.

    1. Thanks. I hope you're enjoying the F13 marathon. And yeah, Scream deserves a revisit.

  7. Awesome post! I'm not a horror fan but I appreciate and am learning more about 'the final girl' slasher film theories. Good call on top place too.