So here you have it: our "final" Final Girls.
This one is an obvious necessity, as Jamie Lee Curtis is the Scream Queen. She’s been the Final Girl in a slew of films, but I am going to highlight her perfomance in John Carpenter’s 1978 classic slasher, Halloween, as that is what started it all.
Jamie plays Laurie, a kind, responsible, bibliophile who has little interest in boys, unlike her two friends. On Halloween night she lands the babysitting gig from Hell as she is originally supposed to look after one little tyke, but ends up looking after two and covering everyone’s ass while they go get laid.
What these poor teenagers don’t know is that there is a psychopath on the loose, the infamous Michael Myers, who has just escaped from being institutionalized since he was a child from murdering his sister on, oh yes, Halloween.
Jamie Lee Curtis stole all of our horror hearts as Laurie Strode; she is so likeable, charming, and real. While you might not have cared so much what happened to her amorous friends (you might have even laughed, you sick bastard) you were definitely rooting for Laurie.
And like a true Final Girl she not only survives the first installment in the franchise, she’s back for the second one, cameos (voice only) in Halloween III, stars in H20, and reappears in Halloween: Resurrection.
*A few other slashers you can see her doin’ her thing in are Prom Night, Terror Train, and John Carpenter’s The Fog.
Clive Barker's Hellraiser is such an excellent film, so emphatically different than any other horror movie of its (or any) time, and its main protagonist - Kirsty Cotton - is as strong-willed and determined as a final girl can be. She stands down demons from the far side of hell, as well as the ones in her own family.
When Kirsty goes to visit her dad and step-mother after they move into an old family home, she senses something is amiss. She'd be right, as she soon discovers her step-mother Julia is bringing strange men to the house when her father is out.
But when Kristy gets her hand on the infamous puzzle box and summons the demons, they want her instead. She bargains with their leader, Pinhead, who in turn allows her to live after she negotiates to exchange her freedom for the return of Frank to the Cenobites.
What is most impressive about Kirsty is that she is dealing with uncharted territory here. This is not your average killer chasing kids movie, and she adapts well - able to figure out the mysteries of the puzzle box and determine how to best defeat the hideous demons. She doesn't whimper and skulk away. She plays with the puzzle box until she learns how to do it, and until she learns how to send the Cenobites back to their own world.
Really original, thought provoking (and often disturbing), Hellraiser has, in Kirsty, one of the most bad-ass, won't-turn-back final girls in horror!