Who is usually the last person standing against your Jason, Freddy or Michael Myers? Often, its a lady. There’s even a popular term for these fearless femmes—the “final girl.” Here are 10 of the best of them.
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), 'Halloween' (1978)
Michael Myers has escaped from the loony bin in pursuit of the likable Laurie. With his shrink on his tail, Myers terrorizes and murders Laurie’s friends before finding himself face to face with…virginity! Well, not really, though Laurie’s good-girl antics do keep her away from danger. What is Myers’ obsession with Laurie anyway? Oh, we’ll just tell you—she’s his sister!
Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp), 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (1984)
Movie teens can never get a good night’s sleep. They are either up too late watching TV, sneaking out, or…having nightmares about a burn victim named Freddy Krueger who can kill them in their sleep. Not Nancy, who casts the freak out by draining all of his energy. Now can we get some zzzzs, please?
Sally (Marilyn Burns), 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (1974)
First: Don’t pick up creepy hitchhikers with a fondness for head cheese. Second: Don’t take advice from anyone cooking “Mystery Meat BBQ.” Third: Beware of road trips if you’re young, pretty and going through Texas. Sally escapes Leatherface and his freak psycho family by going totally nuts and jumping through a window. She’s definitely going to turn vegetarian.
Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), 'Scream' (1996)
Sidney knew about pain before all the masked horror started—her mother was raped and murdered. Now the girl is being stalked by a killer picking off her classmates according to horror movie “rules." When she learns the twisted truth -- that the creep is her boyfriend and his best friend -- she’s enraged enough to shoot the BF dead.
Erin (Sharni Vinson), 'You're Next' (2013)
Not too many scream queens are badasses from the get-go, but Sharni Vinson's Erin pulled no punches when it came to defending herself during a home invasion. In the end, the hunted becomes the hunter....
Suzy Banyon (Jessica Harper), 'Suspiria' (1977)
And you were worried that sending your daughter to a dance academy might expose her to bad habits like dieting or smoking? Please. You didn’t hear about the Dario Argento Dance Academy, where Suzy must contend with a coven of witches. She survives, enduring some of the most demonic plies of her life. After killing the worst witch, we have to wonder what the future holds. 'Dancing with the Stars'?
Alice Hardy (Adrienne King), 'Friday the 13th' (1980)
Jason drowned in a lake many years earlier with two flaky camp counselors at fault. When Jason is resurrected, he heads back to the lake to exact vengeance on all those other bad teens. Inebriation, sexual activity or generally bad behavior will be seriously punished. Sweet Alice is not only the last girl standing, but the heroine who decapitates Jason. See, Alice didn’t play strip Monopoly -- it’s just that easy.
There’s a moment where you will yell at pretty sorority girl Jess to GET OFF THE PHONE! She eventually has to stay on the phone in order to find the murderer who’s knocking off her girl friends and den mother. We know he’s in the attic, making the entire movie one claustrophobic nightmare. And we like our flawed, not-so-virginal heroine Jess, who survives by the film’s end--but perhaps not for long. He’s still up there!
"Ginny" Wainwright (Melissa Sue Anderson), 'Happy Birthday to Me' (19
Ginny is the new girl at high school who’s not only accepted, she becomes one of the most popular girls in class. Quite an accomplishment since she recently suffered a horrible accident that left her so traumatized she’s having blackouts. Now an unknown lunatic is offing her classmates. Hmm…just what is going on here? Split personality? Hormones? Twin?
Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), 'The Ring' (2002)
What’s a girl to do when she’s got pure unstoppable evil on her hands? Make a copy of it. After attempting to solve the mystery of the creepy black-and-white video that’s causing people to die after they watch it, single mom Rachel has no other choice but to perpetuate the evil. And what is that evil? The video’s star, a little girl named Samara who would make Mario Bava and Ingmar Bergman proud.
Lila (Vera Miles), 'Psycho' (1960)
Miles's best-known role, Lila is old-school Final Girl, the kind who’s so no-nonsense and persistent in solving the death of her sister (Janet Leigh) that she gets a shock in one of the most famous endings in scene history.