A true final girl hits a series of notes within the composition of a horror film. She typically begins as an unlikely hero and, ultimately, emerges as a warrior ready for battle. The focus of most horror franchises is an iconic villain. The main plot will zero in on a series of incidental characters and one or two of these will separate themselves as survivors. However, the plot is mainly used as a tool to give purpose to the villain’s actions. Despite the draw of the bad guy, a strong final girl is one the audience can project upon all of their fears. Without her, the audience has little reason to invest in the story.
The story of few final girls will make it to a second or third film. Many times, the story is retooled in the next installment to center back on the villain in order to maintain his iconic status. As follows is a list of final girls whose last appearance seems incomplete. The list is comprised of characters deserving to have her story continued. (Note: Laurie Strode and Ellen Ripley are not on list because their storylines are typically in some sort of development and, of course, we always want to see more of them).
Kyle from Child’s Play 2
“You’ve seen dolls that pee? This one bleeds.”
Played by Christine Elise, Kyle differed from the contemporary final girls of her time. She was not exactly the girl-next-door. She smoked cigarettes and would sneak out of the house. But she had a soft spot for her foster brother, Andy (Alex Vincent). Her own family situation made her vulnerable and caused her to take on a sarcastic outlook. This allowed her to see beyond the surface and realize the truth about Chucky. She fought the demonic doll at every turn and proved temporarily victorious. Kyle disappeared in the subsequent sequels until a welcomed cameo in 2017’s Cult of Chucky. She deserves a full-length feature battle with Chucky for once and for all.
Jennifer in Phenomena
“I am not schizophrenic, epileptic, or stoned.”
Jennifer Corvino (Jennifer Connelly) has a telepathic bond with insects. Throughout the duration of Phenomena, she hones these skills in order to hunt down a serial killer. This feature by Dario Argento centers on Jennifer finding a purpose for her particular talent. A follow-up to see how she has adapted to and developed her powers has potential. The introduction of a new serial killer would give Jennifer a reason to show off all that she has learned.
Kirsty Cotton from Hellraiser, Hellraiser II, and Hellraiser: Hellseeker
“You want it? Fucking have it!”
Kirsty Cotton has, on multiple occasions, evaded the Cenobites. She fought her way through the first two films while trying desperately to save the soul of her father. Ashley Laurence’s not-so-subtle characterization of Kirsty is fun to watch. Her overly dramatic tendencies are sincere in their conviction. Her reappearance in Hellseeker warrants her a place on this list. Barely more than a cameo, Laurence shows audiences a different side of Kirsty. Partially in self-defense (and self-respect), she is willing to demonstrate a certain degree of revenge on a person that has wronged her. This abbreviated, yet fascinating, portrayal of Kirsty begs for one final confrontation between Kirsty and the Cenobites.
Erin in You’re Next
“Grab anything that might make a good weapon.”
Erin is the culmination of all the final girls that came before. She has the girl-next-door look of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and the resourcefulness of Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp). She also has survival-training skills and is ready to take on whatever danger comes her way. One might find it difficult to imagine her facing a similar situation to that which she endured in You’re Next, yet again. But, nevertheless, to see Sharni Vinson continue the evolution of Erin would be fascinating to watch.
Jamie Lloyd from Halloween 4 and 5
The Halloween franchise is becoming notorious for starting a new time frame whenever the story becomes too complicated. The upcoming October release is carving out a new route for Laurie Strode that is denying every sequel in the franchise. The last time we saw Jamie Lee Curtis only Parts 3-6 were ignored. So, if the queen of the franchise can do it, why not the princess, Danielle Harris? Since its release, Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers has always been harshly criticized. There are positives and negatives in the film. However, fan displeasure centered on the unceremonious way in which former final girl Jamie Lloyd was dispatched.
Alice in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and 5
“You know, you are one major-league hunk.”
While Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) is Freddy’s arch enemy, Alice (Lisa Wilcox) is definitely a worthy adversary for the burned child killer. Being the titular “Dream Master” allows Alice more than one opportunity to face Freddy in her dreams. After defeating the last of the Elm Street kids, Freddy uses Alice to bring him more victims. With each loss, she gains the strongest quality belonging to each victim. Her second encounter with Freddy draws parallels to the anxieties of motherhood. Alice’s story line is dropped for Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. Interestingly, the final in-universe film continues the theme of parenthood. There is no solid reason given as to why Freddy’s focus shifted from Alice. Audiences would like to know how Alice has been sleeping these days.
Trish from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
“I’ll give you something to remember us by.”
After the fourth installment, the franchise belonging to Jason Voorhees continued to follow the story of Tommy Jarvis. His development was intriguing and both sequels (A New Beginning and Jason Lives) took the character in different directions. However, Trish (Kimberly Beck) was one of the stronger final girls from the Friday the 13th series. She invested time in learning about Jason, and she did not hesitate when it came time to protect her kid brother (Corey Feldman). She lured Jason away from Tommy and barely escaped with her life. Even after jumping out a second-story window, she remained relentless in her attack on the eternally resurrected villain. The story of Tommy’s dance with insanity was fascinating, but Trish proved to be all that makes a true final girl.
Stephanie from The Stepfather
“It’s like living with Ward Cleaver.”
The original The Stepfather generated two sequels and a remake. Every incarnation after the first story followed a boy’s tumultuous relationship with his mother’s new husband. Not one repeated the idea of a girl’s relationship with her stepfather after Stephanie (Jill Schoelen) and Jerry (Terry O’ Quinn). Unlike the young men, final girl Stephanie was instantly suspicious. She remained vigilant and when Jerry finally attacked, she did not hesitate. Jerry was wise to stay away from the young lady throughout his resurrection in the sequels. Nevertheless, Stephanie’s story has remaining promise. One franchise revival idea could follow Stephanie taking a new husband and the difficulties her own child would have to face with a stepfather in the picture.
Vanita “Stretch” Brock in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
“Listen, this is not going to work out.”
Caroline Williams brings Stretch to life in the 1986 follow-up to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Stretch is desperate to become a legitimate reporter and leave her disc-jockey days behind. However, one never knows who is listening to her show. After playing an incriminating tape, the Sawyer family shows up and the rest of the night descends Stretch into Hell. The audience comes to see Stretch’s innate skills as a reporter, the compassion she has for co-workers, and her ability to adapt through any gruesome challenge. Williams makes a brief cameo in the third installment of the franchise. The film, itself, does not confirm Stretch’s identity; however, the actress has inferred that Stretch is still on the lookout for the Sawyer family. A flick featuring this idea would be an interesting concept.
Ginny from Friday the 13th Part II
“Jason, Mother is talking to you!”
By the climax of the second film in the Friday the 13th franchise, audiences saw Ginny as a compassionate, resourceful, and vulnerable final girl. Portrayed with intelligence by Amy Steel, Ginny develops sympathy for a motherless Jason Voorhees. She asserts his underdeveloped mind would have trouble dealing with Pamela’s death. Before long, Ginny realizes she has underestimated Jason’s homicidal tendencies and soon fights him for her life. She utilizes relics in his dilapidated cabin to take on the persona of his deceased mother. She survives her frightful encounter; however, the film is open-ended in terms of the fate of Ginny and her boyfriend, Paul (John Furey). A final girl with all that Ginny offers deserves a concluding story arch.