Thursday, 14 November 2013

Final Girl Research and Examples

The 'scream queen' and 'final girl' are the two main archetypes of the slasher/horror genre. In this post I will be looking at the final girl. Films we have looked at that include a final girl are Halloween (Carpenter, 1978), Scream (Craven, 1996), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Hooper, 1974) and I Know What You Did Last Summer (Gillespie, 1997).


Laurie Strode: the ultimate final girl
Laurie attempting to kill Michael Myers
17-year-old Laurie Strode is widely cited as one of the most influential characters to the Final Girl slasher film archetype. Halloween is a great example for having many of the archetypes of the slasher genre; the scream queen Judith Myers, mentally deranged killer Michael Myers, jock boyfriend Danny, among others. 

Laurie's clothes compared to her friends
Laurie Strode is a shy and bookish teenager who does not share her friends overt personalities. She hasn't dated, which she claims is to do with her 'brainy ways'. A key example of how opposite to her friends she is, is when she forgets her school books and goes back to get them from school, much to the annoyance and teasing or her friends. 

She wears unrevealing clothes, for example a turtleneck and long skirt, unlike her friends, who wear what were considered fashionable clothes at that time period.

Laurie is the only one of her friends to survive to the end of the movie, and attempts to stop Michael Myers (unsuccessfully).


Another 17-year-old, Sidney Prescott, is the final girl in this movie that uses notable horror movies as big intertextual references/ signifiers as to the plot and almost parodying the slasher genre (with Scary Movie parodying Scream itself).

Sidney (left) is covered up by her
...Unlike Tatum who wears a very
short skirt.
Sidney is a 'regular teenage girl', who was put in the news when her mother was murdered a year before the movie takes place. She is friends with the popular and rebellious Tatum Riley. Tatum wears very revealing clothes such as a very short skirt whereas Sidney wears clothes that cover her up alot.

Ghostface (Scream killer)
Sidney is the only one to survive to the end, and kills both Stu and Billy, who were the murderers in the movie (Ghostface) and also murdered Sidney's mother one year before.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Sally attempting to escape
Sally Hardesty is the final girl in TTCM. She is the sole survivor of the original film, although it says she died in a mental hospital soon after the events. 
Sally escaping in the back of a
pickup truck

Although much is unknown about Sally, we do know that she cared for her 'invalid' brother Franklin. This shows she was kind and caring, much like the other final girls in the previously looked at movies.

At the end of the movie, she defeats Leatherface (the main antagonist of the movie) and gets away in the back of a pick-up truck.

Laurie Strode: 'the perfect final girl'

The three final girls I have looked at have many things in common. They are all quite quiet, reserved, bookish, kind and caring. These are main characteristics of a final girl. 

They dress quite conservatively especially when compared to the other characters, and often have reserved hairstyles and makeup, although Sally in TTCM has long, blonde hair, a feature usually seen with scream queens as opposed to final girls. This could, however, be a reflection of the time period (1970s) rather than the final girl/scream queen characteristics. 

Another common feature of final girls is that they are not seen in the very first scene, and usually are seen (straight) after the (sometimes first) scream queen has been murdered (which is usually in the opening scene). 


We have decided not to include a final girl in our film opening because we have seen from this research that they are not usually seen in the opening scenes of the film. We have decided to have (two) scream queens in our opening as they are usually featured a lot more prominently in the very start of the movie. 

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