I love Final Girls. This term, coined by Carol J. Clover in her book Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film, describes the last character, usually female, left alive in a Slasher Film. Ever since watching Sidney Prescott in Scream, I’ve been enamored with these strong women and the many shapes they’ve taken through the years. The female empowerment that they embody is what drew me to horror in the first place, and many strong women have won my heart over the years. While Sidney is my favorite, a close second is Laurie Strode from the Halloween franchise. Played by the stellar Jamie Lee Curtis, Laurie has become a touchstone for female empowerment in the horror genre. This year’s Halloween sequel offers us an interesting look at a Final Girl evolving through the years. By looking at Laurie in the original Halloween in 1978, Halloween: H20 in 1998, and New Halloween in 2018, (yes, I know they’re different timelines) we can see how the concept of the Final Girl has changed over time.
In 1818, Mary Shelley created popular culture’s first and most enduring monster in “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.” Since then, “women have always been the most important part of monster movies,” as Mallory O’Meara states in “The Lady From the Black Lagoon,” her engaging and compelling, if uneven, book about artist Milicent Patrick, the unsung designer of another iconic monster.
Demon Knight (1995) directed by Ernest Dickerson (The Walking Dead) is an action-packed slasher full of guts, gore, and evil demons. The film stars William Sadler as hero, Brayker, Billy Zane as The Collector, and Jada Pinkett Smith as badass Jeryline. The fate of humanity rests in the hands of unlikely duo, Brayker and Jeryline. They fight off demonic douchebag, The Collector, who unleashes an army of demons. Brayker has an all-powerful key to protect humanity. But can Brayker and Jeryline stop The Collector in time to save the universe?
Whether a hapless cheerleader or hardened FBI agent, women have played a pivotal role in horror films since King Kong, when the giant ape grabbed tiny Fay Wray in the 1933 black-and-white monster-movie classic. The female lead – often referred to as a Scream Queen – can simply be a victim waiting to be rescued by her male co-star or a fearless fighter of monsters (real and imagined) who is the last standing when all the blood has been spilled.
Women In Horror Month is coming to a close, but of course we all know that’s not the end. After all, we learn about badass women in horror daily thanks to online communities.
But have you heard about Gloomy Sunday Productions’ Horrors of the PNW?