So, what’s a Final Girl? Well, the name or concept of a Final Girl was first coined by Carol J. Clover came up with in 1992 in her book ‘Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film’. In her book Carol runs the gamut of horror with a feminist perspective, it’s a book I’ve been trying to get a copy of for a while now.
Basically a Final Girl is the last woman standing at the end of a horror film. Although Final Girls are most common in horror they are present in other genres but let’s face it, horror is the most fun! And as a horror fan and woman I love this particular trope.
The Final Girl proves that she’s no damsel in distress, she’s smart and is no victim. She fights. To the end.
I recently read an article about Final Girls and how they are insulting to women.
The article posited that Final Girls are masculine, even more so when confronting the killer/boogeyman and especially by using ‘phallic shaped objects to defend herself.’
Which is just preposterous and I concept I totally reject.
I think labeling a woman who is defending herself from attack as masculine is more destructive than any horror film. That’s insulting.
Final Girls tend to follow a certain pattern.
Unisex names e.g Sidney, Billie, Chris..
Virgin/good girl (no drink, no smoking etc)
Usually but not always there is a connection between the killer and the Final Girl
The good girl role usually associated with Final Girls interests me, a lot of people have written about victims in horror films being punished for having sex, drinking etc
Which I can’t deny and was right up my street as an isolated teen who spent most of my time watching films and deflecting bullies. Bullies who shared more than a few traits with your usual horror film victims. Bitchy girls. Fuck ‘em. Kill them all Carrie! It’s the only way!
It’s rare to have victims that you sympathise with but perhaps that’s a story for another time.
Because Final Girls are a horror standard more and more directors and writers are trying to subvert this trope, particularly when it comes to modern horror remakes. All The Boys Love Mandy Lane managed to turn the Final Girl on her head.
However so strong is the Final Girl that she now is taking over where a man is the last one standing.
For example the 2013 Evil Dead remake had actress Jane Levy take over from Bruce Campbell as the last person standing. The 2011 remake of The Thing had Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the Kurt Russell role. (I’m not usually a fan of remakes but I enjoyed both of these.)
Scream Queens are the actresses who have acted in or been associated with horror films. Women like Dee Wallace, P.J Soles and Adrienne Jo Barbeau qualify as Scream Queens. Scream Queens are horror royalty.
Scream queens are often thought of as typecasting run amok or as if the title of Scream Queen should be something of a stigma which believe me, it isn’t. If you’re a Scream Queen, chances are you’re constantly working which is what every actors wants right? Sure, you may never become a household name but in some households you reign supreme!
Who is your favourite Final Girl or Scream Queen?