Posted on May 10, 2018

Top 10 Horror Protagonists Deadlier Than the Big Bad

Guest Post

The horror movie Final Girl (or Boy) is the character you’re rooting for! They’ve suffered brutal losses, witnessing their friends and loved ones succumb to whatever deadly consequence The Big Bad has in store for them. But what if the ones we’re supposed to be rooting for are just as capable of joining in the killing sprees if it means survival for them?

Well, here’s a list of the Top 10 Horror Protagonists (be warned, spoilers!) that you’d want to be near when something goes bump in the night!



AKA: John & Emma  – Last House On The Left

The Last House On The Left (2009 remake) was considered just a shocking as its original, both films overseen by Wes Craven. With Craven directing the original and then producing the remake, it’s a given the scenes that haunted audiences back in 1972 were going to be revisited for newer audiences.

This film is a very shocking and brutal look at how even the most normal of families can be capable of evil acts if it means protecting their loved ones.  The story revolves around the Collingwood family, who after finding out their daughter has been sexually assaulted and left for dead,  take matters into their own hands.

Once they realize who the culprits are the very guests they have welcomed into their house, it turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse.

The Collingwoods from Last House on the Left                                        Justine from Green Inferno



AKA: Justine – The Green Inferno

Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno (2013) is a shrewd look at society and how, via social media, it preaches rather teaches.  A group of activist students decide it’s a good idea to visit a remote part of the amazon jungle in order to protest against a logging company and save a native tribe. This is all recorded so they can show what caring citizens they are back home.

Of course, their actions are all in vain! Their plane crashes into the jungle where the survivors are caught by the very (cannibalistic) tribe they were trying to save! Now, this film is FULL of gory memorable moments, but what sets Justine aside from the others are her human qualities and intelligence . Yes, she’s terrified at the prospect of being breakfast/lunch/dinner but she tries to interact with the children of the tribe to show she is more than just a meal in the hope they show her some compassion.

Justine is also more than able to hold her own against her friends when they start to turn on each other. There’s a great plot twist where it’s made very clear that Justine is not one to mess with!



AKA: DR Lawrence Gordon – Saw

Dr. Lawrence Gordon in Saw

Dr Lawrence Gordon is one to look out for, he’s prepared to cut off a limb and ditch you in the dark if that means seeing surviving. If you’ve watched the rest of the Saw franchise, you’ll know what happens to this character and considering his medical knowledge AND the fact he’s one of Jigsaw’s few survivors – it’s fair to say Dr Gordon is within his own right to be considered a deadly threat against anyone.



AKA: Leon – The Midnight Meat Train

One of the best plot twists in a horror film in The Midnight Meat Train (2008), you’re rooting for Leon throughout until he loses everything and everyone he cared about.

The rollercoaster ride the audience takes while watching this film is fantastic, the ending is a real punch to the gut when the twist reveals itself. A prime example of even the protagonist – no matter how strong willed – sometimes can’t escape their fate and ultimately, cannot survive their experiences without becoming the thing they feared most.

Leon from Midnight Meat Factory                                                                          Erin from You’re Next



AKA: Erin – You’re Next

If you haven’t seen You’re Next (2011) you’re missing out on one of the best home invasion films out there! A family gathering at their remote stately home turns into a bloodbath when masked killers begin to hunt the family members one by one.

Fortunately, they’re unaware that Erin (one of the guests) grew up as a survivalist and is capable of wielding bloody justice and revenge on these attackers. She is the ultimate example of Final Girl, and can utilize any object into a weapon to defend herself and others.



AKA: Chris – Get Out

Chris from Get Out

Get Out (2017) was critically acclaimed for many reasons, but absolutely everybody that watched the film were united in rooting for main character Chris. There is so much sub-text about race relations and because of this, Chris is no typical horror protagonist. He is aware from the start that something is up, he’s just not sure who or what it is he should be wary of.

He finally learns to play the game, and his quick thinking is ultimately what saves him. Director Jordan Peele confirmed he had written Chris with the intention of him behaving like a relatable and normal human being as opposed to the typical cliché expected in horror films.



AKA: Rocky – Don’t Breathe

Rocky from Don’t Breathe

Rocky from Don’t Breathe (2016) was memorable in many scenes (I still can’t forget that turkey baster moment!), but particularly for being the sympathetic anti-hero.

Rocky is a good person who has been tempted to do bad things (ie. break into somebody else’s home) and is forced to suffer the consequences of her actions. The audience know why she’s done this, but are still forced to watch her endure a horrifying game of hide and seek with her captor. At the end she is proven to be equally as powerful and as defeated as her opponent – if either of them confess to what has happened then they will both be facing imprisonment.



AKA: Cole – The Babysitter

Cole from The Babysitter

Cole is a typical kid – bullied at school, terrified of needles and all round general misfit but not in the eyes of his gorgeous babysitter Bee. Deciding to stay up one night after Bee has sent him to bed, he witness a satanical ritual gone wrong. Very wrong!

Cole is the archetypal action – kid, resourceful and determined to out-smart and outlive his teenage attackers. Although he is not Bee’s evil equivalent, he proves he’s by far her equal when it comes to surviving a bloodbath especially if means winning the respect and love of his friend Melanie.



AKA: Evelyn – A Quiet Place

Evelyn in A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place (2018) has only just been released, so without spoiling the ending for anybody that hasn’t seen it yet – Evelyn is the resourceful mother in the family. She proves she is more than capable of handling whatever obstacle presents itself and that she will stop at nothing to keep her family safe from the threat outside their home.

The ultimate portrayal of a mother prepared to do anything to save her children, she is also considered the action survivor archetype. She depicts every parents worse fear of an impending threat against her children’s safety.



AKA: Ripley – Alien

Of course, no list of total badass protagonists is complete without including the OG of the horror genre. Ripley is the ultimate Final Girl, and handles the isolation and terror of being the only survivor in space (with a murderous alien on her tail) with serious skill.

Ripley is considered by many to have inspired more recent Final Girl archetypes in horror films. As she stalks through the now empty spaceship, her journey is not dissimilar to that of walking through a haunted house knowing somewhere, a monster lurks in the dark.

Ripley from Alien



Liv Frances is a 28-year-old screenwriter & blogger. You can find more of her articles covering industry interviews, writing craft & filmmaking tips over at her blog Into the Script, or you can follow Liv on Twitter as @LivSFB.



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