Happy Halloween, folks. Hope you’re enjoying our epic horror list, which is counting down the best of the best in a genre that’s near and dear to our hearts. As an added bonus, I thought I’d pay tribute to one of my favorite horror tropes—the Final Girl, a very specific type of heroine who’s usually left to deal with the cops when they come to clean up the bodies. There are newbies, legends, and even a comedienne on this roster, but all of them have earned their right to be here, either by standing on the shoulders of giants or wildly impaling creatures of the night. Sadly, I Know What You Did Last Summer’s Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt) didn’t make the cut, but as she would say, “What are you waiting for?!?!” Read on.
Cindy Cambell (Anna Faris) in the Scary Movie Series
Yes, she’s a total construct of earlier scream queens, and a kooky conduit for this spoof saga’s constant lampooning, but Cindy Campbell toughed it out through more sequels than most of her bona fide, blood-bathed sisters, before finally bowing out after Scary Movie 4.
Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) in the Saw Series
A dark twist on the Final Girl formula, Saw’s Amanda Young stands as a case of Stockholm Syndrome gone zanily awry. Emerging from the first movie as the sole survivor of Jigsaw’s hijinks (specifically the reverse bear trap), Amanda went on to be her “mentor’s” accomplice, offing others before biting it herself in Saw VI.
Laura Guerrero (Stephanie Sigman) in Miss Bala
Don’t think Miss Bala is a horror movie? Tell that to Laura Guerrero, who enters a Mexican beauty contest only to be caught in the middle of a drug war, smuggling money for the gang that’s holding her family hostage, and watching the bodies drop until she’s one of the last few standing.
Nancy Thompson (Heather Langencamp) in A Nightmare on Elm Street Series
I totally know what it feels like to be Nancy Thompson, sucking back pots of coffee to keep from falling asleep, as multiple deadlines loom. I’m not saying that being a writer is like evading a dream demon with knife fingers, but I might have become so delirious once that I thought my phone was licking me.
Alice (Milla Jovovich) in the Resident Evil Series
It appears that as long as Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson are living under the same roof, the sharpshooter-cum-dominatrix Alice will continue kicking zombie ass. So what if the Resident Evil franchise is starting to mirror the ethically deprived Umbrella Corporation? All the fanboys care about is that Alice looks good while unloading rounds.