BY MACK VELTMAN
Spoiler alert: none of the women on this list made it out alive of their respective horror movie, which is a shame because in some cases, they were well developed and likable, and in others, they were so close making it to the end credits that the legendary Final Girl status was practically within their grasp. It should come as no real shock that if you’re a character in a horror movie, chances are you’re not making it out alive. You have to meet very specific qualifications and make smart and strategic decisions, but even that’s not a guarantee that you’ll defeat the masked killer trying to end your life. The Final Girl status is one given to a select few–they’re often virtuous, studious, and kind, serving as the moral center of the group. They’re easy to identify when the film begins, and it’s not often that our expectations for who will make it out alive are subverted, but there’s some rare cases where a character’s death had a surprising sting. For the women on this list, you can’t help but feel they SHOULD have survived their horror movie and taken the mantle of Final Girl.
Annie Phillips- Friday the 13th
Annie was a one of the teens hired to work at the death sentence that is Camp Crystal Lake in the 1980 slasher film Friday the 13th. She was cheerful and optimistic, excited to work as a cook and thrilled to act as positive role model for the children who’d arrive at the camp later that summer. After the film’s opening credits, Annie hitchhikes her way to Crystal Lake, encountering some unfriendly and superstitious locals at a nearby dinner. A kindly trucker drops her off to the crossroads leading to the campgrounds, where she is then picked up by none other than the film’s killer, Pamela Voorhees. Realizing too late that Pamela is driving her to certain death, Annie jumps from the car and escapes to the woods, injuring her ankle in the process. Pamela catches up to the poor girl and despite her pleas, slits her throat.
Friday the 13th was one of the first slasher movies I saw as a kid, and I remember thinking that Annie had to be the Final Girl. She possessed all of the traits of what it takes to survive the film–virtue, kindness–but sadly, the film had other plans for Annie and she was merely the third unfortunate soul to fall victim to the Voorhees family.
Hallie McDaniel- Scream 2
Being the best friend of Sydney Prescott sadly means the chances of your survival are slim to nothing, and Hallie was no exception. Funny, bright and loyal, Hallie helped bring some joy back into Sydney’s life following the events of the previous film. When bodies start piling up on the college campus–curtesy of the Ghostface killer–Hallie goes with Sydney and her bodyguards but they are ambushed by Ghostface who crashes their car and kills the guards, although he is knocked out in the process. Both women climb out of the car past Ghostface’s prone body but it’s Sydney’s poor decisions that lead to Hallie’s death. Determined to unmask the Ghostface killer (why did she not do it when she crawled past his body?) Sydney starts back towards the car instead of running away, shouting her plans to Hallie. Ghostface slips out from the car (because horror movie magic) and grabs Hallie from behind, stabbing her four times in the chest.
Hallie, you were so close to surviving. If only you’d kept running.
Jamie Lloyd- Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers
Sadly, Jamie Lloyd–the daughter of Halloween Final Girl Laurie Strode–has been retconned out of existence by Halloween’s various timelines, and even more tragic, despite surviving two previous run-ins with her uncle, Michael Myers, Jamie dies in the opening scenes of Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers. Jamie’s entire life was marred by tragedy, she supposedly lost her mother in a car accident–although we learn later that Laurie merely faked her death–and after awaking from a coma, Michael kills Jamie’s foster family. Jamie also has a telepathic connection with Michael, making it easy for him to track and influence her. Traumatized after losing her family yet again to the Shape, Jamie is rendered mute and suffers from nightmares and seizures whenever her uncle kills. At the end of Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers a sobbing Jamie remarks that Michael will never die. She knows she’ll never be safe from him, and sadly this becomes a reality when she is kidnapped by the Cult of Thorn and who artificially inseminate her leading to her implied pregnancy with Michael’s baby. Jamie escapes with the baby but is pursued and eventually horribly killed by her uncle, but not before defiantly telling him that he’ll never get her baby.
After all the suffering Jamie endured and the encounters with Michael she survived, you couldn’t help but hope she makes it out of the franchise in one piece, but happy endings are never in store for the Strode family.
Newt- Alien 3
I mentioned in an earlier post that Alien 3 doesn’t exist in my head cannon and I’ll never forgive the movie for killing off both Newt and Hicks, who survived Aliens only to be killed offscreen at the start of Alien 3. Newt was the sole survivor from the Hadley’s Hope settlement on LV-426 following a Xenomorph infestation at the colony that left all her friends and family captive or dead. In order to survive, Newt hid in the airducts and crawlspaces of the planet’s many facilities, where Ripley and the Colonial Marines find her when they investigate the disappearances of the colonists. Ripley forms a close bond with Newt and along with Bishop and Hicks, they escape the planet after a horrifying encounter with the Alien Queen. Ripley promises Newt that she’ll sleep and dream soundly in hyper-sleep on the journey back to Earth, however, the pod carrying the survivors crash lands on a prison colony planet when a Facehugger reveals itself onboard, and only Ripley survives the crash.
Newt deserved better.
Jenna Montgomery- Friday the 13th (Remake)
Jenna is the ill-fated protagonist from the Friday the 13th remake who was so close to surviving the film, she was practically an honorary Final Girl. In the film, Jenna accompanies her boyfriend Trent and his friends to his family cabin at Camp Crystal Lake, where she meets Clay Walker, man searching for his sister Whitney after she was kidnapped by Jason Voorhees. Jenna feels sympathy for Clay and joins him on his search, surviving several close calls with Jason in the process. After Trent and all her other friends are killed, Jenna and Clay find and rescue Whitney and are almost free from Jason’s lair when the hulking killer impales Jenna through the chest with his machete.
Jenna was kind and intelligent, and while Friday the 13th doesn’t often surprise viewers on which characters Jason kills, Jenna’s death was definitely a shock.
Jennifer Jolie- Scream 3
Scream 3 was a different film than the ones that came before it in the series. It was heavy on the comedy, and light on the violence. Parker Posey, famous for her comedic roles, shone as Gale Weather’s counterpart Jennifer Jolie, a high strung and zinger filled actress who assisted in the investigations of murders on the set of Stab 3 before falling victim herself to the Ghostface killer. Despite their constant bickering, Jennifer and Gale actually made a pretty great team as they attempted to discover the identity of the new killer. Near the film’s third act, Jennifer separates from the rest of the characters when they are ambushed by Ghostface. Unfortunately, Jennifer ends up on the wrong end of a one-way mirror, and the others can’t see or hear her cries when she is attacked and stabbed to death.
It would’ve been great to see Jennifer survive the film and open a detective agency with Gale, but alas, the film had other plans for the character which is why she’s on this list.
What do you think of Six Women of Horror Who Should’ve Been Final Girls? Let me know in the comments and as always, stay nerdy!