Hello! Welcome to Chills and Thrills's first blog entry. The term 'final girl' was first coined by author Carol J. Clover in her 1992 book Women, Men and Chainsaws: Gender in Horror. Clover characterizes this role as being a woman who's a virgin, doesn't practice any illicit activities, defeats the antagonist, and is usually the sole survivor of the film. In her book, Clover used Laurie Strode (Halloween), Lila Crane (Psycho) and Ellen Ripley (Alien series) as poster girls for the archetype. These ladies are also common on many top final girls lists. Then there are the women who (I believe) are just as competent and proficient. Yet they're rarely recognized. For this list, I'm going to name five of these women who finally deserve their moment in the spotlight. Warning, there are spoilers!
5. Laurie from 'Trick r Treat'
Laurie is not your traditional final girl. We don't know if she's a virgin, and, her morality is questionable. When she runs into a cloaked principal Wilkins in the woods she intends to seduce him, only to make him her first kill as part of a werewolf rite of passage. However, when we're first introduced to her she appears akin to a final girl. She's timid, and the least sexual of her friends and sister. The film also cleverly uses her clean rap sheet as an allegory for virginity. Then, in the big showdown, Laurie's attacked by Wilkins (who's a murderer and sexual deviant), but turns the tables on him by showing him her true monstrous form and ripping his throat out. Fulfilling the final girl's duty of escaping danger and eliminating the foe.
4. Veronica Quaife from 'The Fly'
Veronica isn't a fighter, per se. She's isn't seen slashing and punching the "villain" in this movie into unconsciousness. Instead, as her lover Seth begins to physically and mentally degrade after having his DNA spliced with a fly's, she tries to help and reason with him. Even after he sends Veronica out the door, she still goes out of her way to assist him, and make sure he's fine (even though she's potentially endangering herself). The fact that she has to stand there and watch in horror and agony, as the man she fell in love with is slowly disappearing and reincarnating as an inhuman creature. And to top it all off she's pregnant with his child, and plans to abort her unborn child so it doesn't share the same fate as Seth. In the finale, a man does technically save her, but it's her that kills Brundle in the end. After he completes his metamorphosis and with possibly the last ounce of humanity he has, he gestures her to end his suffering.
3. Bridgette from 'Ginger Snaps'
Bridgette is an inhibited and shy young woman. After her sister Ginger is infected by a werewolf bite. Bridgette goes above and beyond trying to find a cure. Meanwhile, Ginger is growing out of control, meaning Bridgette has to watch Ginger's emotions and sway her from following her new instincts. These two sisters share a bond that's sacred and bound by blood (eww). Sadly, despite finding an "antidote," Ginger is too far gone and Bridgette is forced to take her out. The victory is bittersweet, as she killed the beast, but lost her sister.
2. Melanie Daniels from 'The Birds'
Melanie Daniels is a beautiful socialite who goes to an unfamiliar town to deliver lovebirds to potential love interest Mitch. While there, the entire bird population spontaneously decides to go ape-shit and attack the citizens. During this nightmare, Melanie alerts the townsfolk of this anomaly (even though most of them don't believe her at first) and helps escort a group of children to safety. Simultaneously, she's being nipped, clawed and hit by these savages. There's a point in the movie where she is hiding out with and Mitch and his family in his home. She goes to the attic to investigate a noise (why? I don't know, but this scene is so mesmerizing), and up there there's a horde of birds waiting to pounce on her. Mitch ends up rescuing her, and although she comes out alive. Melanie (judging by her blank and empty stare) is left a broken and traumatized young woman. It's true that she's not physical, or clever, but the fact she takes initiative and does everything beyond her strength to alleviate the situation is honorable.
1. Clarice Starling from 'Silence of the Lambs'
Clarice is basically a rookie (she hasn't finished her education at the FBI academy) when she's recruited by seasoned FBI agent Jack Crawford to interview serial killer Hannibal Lecter, so Crawford can gather perspective on how to catch another serial killer named Buffalo Bill. It's visible that Starling is unnerved during her first couple of conversations with Lecter, but she retains her composure and returns his cold stare. Starling's confidence and reassurance grows as the case proceeds. Eventually, she tracks down Buffalo Bill and shoots him dead after he cocks his gun. In the end, Starling is victorious and has grown as a person. She also proved that she's tougher than she appears, and in a strange way, Lecter's equal on the other side of the morality spectrum.
To all of the Lauries and Clarices out there, don't weep. You may not receive the same amount of appreciation or accolades as the others. Y'all still know how to kick ass and take names. And, most importantly...You all are true final girls. Now, before you scamper off this page don't forget to check my interview below with Taylor Krauss. The host of Taylor's Terrible Toy Chest and a fellow MP writer. Where we dish on everything horror. She discusses her web series, future projects and involvement with Eli Roth.