One volume of great final girls notwithstanding, here’s a second round of lovable, ass-kicking, shy, shrewd, girl-scoutery. Naturally, as few sequels match the original, these girls maybe aren’t QUITE as awesome as those from last time, but they deserve our love and clingy “be my friend”-ness…
Jannicke (Ingrid Bolso Berdal)
Cold Prey (2006)
All-round lead character Jannicke (pro: Yaneka) is pegged as the final girl in the landmark Norwegian slasher from the moment she appears. Smart, wise, democratic, and strong when it really counts, Jannicke slips on the shoes of a real heroine with ease when her group of friends and she find themselves hunted down by a hulking mountain man in an abandoned ski lodge.
Good decision making properties and a gutsy final battle with the killer make Jannicke a vital person to have around. In the sequel she does the same but gets angry with it.
Marti (Dame Linda of Blair)
Hell Night (1981)
Having survived being possessed by the devil himself, you’d think Linda Blair would know not to partake in ill-conceived frat pranks that involve spending the night in the world’s creepiest manor house. Where people were murdered. And the killer still hangs out.
Mechanic, liberal, loyal, and feisty, Marti hot-wires an escape vehicle and you can literally SEE her change from fleeing victim to power-wielding supervixen when she spies the spiked gates that she’ll use to rid herself of the annoying killer on her roof.
Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris)
Halloween 4-5 (1988-89)
Poor little Jamie Lloyd’s mom (Laurie Strode!) escaped the clutches of Michael Myers about 83 times on Halloween night, 1978. Then died in a car crash (or did she?). Daughter Jamie is adopted by the Carruthers family and a decade after THAT night, Uncle Mikey comes back for the remainder of the bloodline. Then he does it again the following year. And six years after that.
Nine-year-old Jamie really becomes the final girl in Halloween 5 where there’s no big sister left to help her. It seems like the little girl screams, cries, and runs for an eternity but she continues to survive, much like her homicidal uncle, until cruelly offed in Halloween 6 (though by that time J.C. Brandy had taken over the role).
Pam (Melanie Kinnaman)
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)
Although the world is largely in agreement that Friday 5 is redundant of quality, one of the many joyful elements going for it is spunky heroine Pam Roberts, resident psychologist at the Pinehurst Institute of Mental Health. Or: home for crazy teenagers. In the middle of the woods.
Just as little Jamie Lloyd is ten years younger than most of her sisters, Pam is older than your average final girl. Having spent a majority of the film trying to find troubled teen and mortal enemy of Jason Voorhees, Tommy, she then returns to the nuthouse and finds that a hockey-masked loon will do anything to slice her up.
Mucho running and screaming through rain-soaked trees later, Pam fights back with a chainsaw until she, Tommy, and that kid from Diff’rent Strokes manage to do away with “Jason”.
Jessie (Eliza Duskhu)
Wrong Turn (2003)
Here’s an odd one: Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, appeared in a couple of the big 90s slasher films as a victim, quite possibly wanting to play anything but righteous, ass-kicking uber-final girl for a change. In Wrong Turn, vampire slayer-gone-bad Dushku took on the role as love-robbed camper-in-peril when her quartet of BFF’s are chopped up for dinner by a trio of cannibals.
Curiously, Dushku doesn’t get that much to do as a final girl, having to be saved by Desmond Harrington’s take-charge doctor, though she does get to go all primal and shrieky with an axe once she’s free to do so. Nevertheless, her extraneous casting makes for an interesting heroine, even if we all know that, as Faith, she could’ve laid those loons to waste in a couple of kicks.
Alana (Jamie Lee Curtis)
Terror Train (1980)
Jamie Lee’s third round as final girl came in Roger Spottiswoode’s rather lush and mature killer-on-a-choo-choo film, in which a graduating class of med students are terrorised by a mask-switching maniac who is still peeved about a joke that went wrong three years previously.
Alana has a wholesome moral center and is more gutsy than Laurie Strode and more involved than Kim Hammond (her Prom Night character). After running for a bit, Alana uses whatever she can find to strike back at the hell bent killer but, as in her other films, she is ultimately saved by the intervention of an older male authority figure, which robs her of some of the glory a bit. But she’s still awesome.
Kristen (Patricia Arquette)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Nobody will ever replace Nancy as the ultimate Krueger final girl, but Patsy Arquette’s “suicidal” rich kid probably comes closest. (Some will vouch for Lisa Wilcox in films 4 and 5 but I never really liked her).
As the pivotal ‘Dream Warrior’, Kristen has the power to pull other people in her dreams, thus she and her fellow inmates can fight off Freddy Krueger together. But this pales in comparison to Kristen’s best bit, after eeeeevil Dr Simms fires Nancy, she flips out: “You can’t take Nancy, she’s all we have! You stupid bitch! You’re killing us!”
Clear (Ali Larter)
Final Destination (2000)
Originally, James Wong wanted Kirsten Dunst to play the role of Clear Rivers in Final Destination. In the DVD commentary he says that “Ali Larter is… is OK.” Bet she loved hearing that.
Nevertheless, Larter goes for the jugular as the only one who exits the doomed Flight 180 to believe Devon Sawa’s rantings that the plane will explode. She keeps this to herself for a while, later confessing that she could ‘feel’ his premonition without necessarily sharing it. After that, she becomes a Fuck Death ambassador, opening up and, in the sequel, coaching a new group of escapees how to cheat their imminent deaths. She helps, I guess, but most of them die anyway and so does she.
Cass (Tamara Stafford)
The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1983)
If Clear’s ability to ‘feel’ a premonition weren’t enough, Cass is a full blown psychic. AND she’s blind!
Wes Craven’s mucho-hated sequel to his own 1977 siege flick is a sell-out slasher movie with a decent cast, a Harry Manfredini score, and a dog capable of having a flashback.
Cass emerges as the obvious final girl, tottering around blind, feeling her friends’ dead faces and still conquering the hulking mutant who’s after her. Stafford’s career was too short-lived to be able to discern whether or not she is, in fact, blind. But she’s a cool, likable heroine at the center of it regardless.
Valerie, Trish, and Courtney (Robin Stille, Michele Michaels, and Jennifer Meyer)
The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
Threesome! Feminist writer Rita Mae Brown originally conceived The Slumber Party Massacre as a comic reaction to the veritable tidal wave of neo-misogynistic low-rent slasher films emerging in 1981 and 82. The studio execs changed much of the script but both the laughs and the girl power are still very much present.
Once the killer with his phallic weapon of choice – an enormous power drill – has done away with much of the girls’ basketball team and some boyfriends, girl-next-door Valerie comes to the rescue, attacking him with a machete and chasing him down. When he fights back, host Trish and Val’s little sister Courtney join forces and go for him.
In what’s a rather dumb (but fun) movie, the end scene actually musters some real gusto and “go on girl!”-type audience participation. It’s EXCELLENT when they all set upon him. One of the few pre-90s movies where there is more than one female survivor.