Browsing Tag

final girl

Posted on October 4, 2023

Feminine or Feminist? Abortion, Motherhood, and the Traditional Final Girl

Guest Post

It is generally accepted that the final girl in late-twentieth-century slashers evidences a “moral integrity mark[ing] [her] as special” (Gill 19). Less discussed, however, has been the final girl as a mother figure who, in contrast with her peers, shows traditional maternal values (Christensen 40). These maternal qualities include “female self-sacrifice and motherly love” (Nickerson 14). Traditionalists often emphasized motherhood as the most fulfilling outlet for women’s special qualities as “life-bearers” (Jepson 340). The final girl in slasher horror films exhibits many of the traditional womanly qualities of caretaker and comforter.

Read more

Posted on September 28, 2023

“There Are Better Ways to Die”: Final Girls and Ecohorror

Guest Post

Named for their natural settings, The Handmaid’s Tale season four finale, “The Wilderness” (2021) and Land (2021) are both, importantly, women-directed stories that expand ecohorror elements and the feminist horror genre, flipping the Final Girl horror trope. Protagonists June (Elisabeth Moss) and Edee (Robin Wright) are not simply the stereotypical Final Girls walking out of the woods after violence – a too-common horror trope in which girls and women are victims of violence, at the hands of men, in natural spaces where only men “survive.” June and Edee’s stories start after their traumas – horror already experienced – as they walk into the woods for their own types of healing and then walk out as complicated protagonists rather than flat female-victims-as-porn.

Carol Clover (2015) writes that while the Final Girl is a survivor, her role is mostly based in being demeaned and abused, a ‘“victim-hero,” with an emphasis on “victim”’ (p. x). And that victimhood has historically been rape/ trauma porn made for a certain type of male viewer (there are too many examples to list here). But June and Edee’s survival and renewal, rather than trauma, is the focus in these texts as they find redemption in the classic horror natural spaces for a very different audience. In a reversal of typical Final Girl horror tropes, ‘The Wilderness’ and Land empower women in natural spaces rather than using such spaces as instruments of trauma. These texts utilize ecohorror elements but showcase such natural spaces as redemptive for women, extending the Final Girl horror trope past the immediate violence and past its emphasis on women as victims.

Read more

Posted on August 31, 2020

“Blood Opera”: A Celebration of Stretch Brock

Sara McCartney

Imagine a Final Girl. She’s probably a teenager, virginal, with a hint of androgyny in her haircut, her outfit, or her name. When theorist Carol Clover identified the trope of the Final Girl, she noticed these commonalities, but there was one who was a little bit different. Stretch Brock (Caroline Williams), Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’s DJ heroine, is no teenager and no virgin. In his response to Clover, Jack Halberstam called her “the most virile, certainly the most heroic, and definitely the most triumphant final girl.”[i]

Read more

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!

Read more

Posted on February 29, 2016

Gwen’s Pick for the Final Woman: Sarah Logan


As Women In Horror Month draws to an end, I wanted to bookend our discussion of the final girl with the character who, I feel, best depicts forward momentum. In order to see a clear trajectory I had to reflect upon Dawn’s discussion of Carol Clover and subsequently consider the criticisms mentioned by others such as BJ Colangelo and noted scholar Isabel Cristina Pinedo. [i] I agree that there are problematic components embedded within the final girl, much of which has to do with the assumption of male spectatorship. Nonetheless, I feel that there are positive representations of womanhood in recent horror film. Most notably, is the character Sarah Logan (played by Anne Ramsay) in The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014).

Sarah Logan is the last woman standing. Granted, The Taking of Deborah Logan is not a slasher, and Sarah Logan is not your stereotypical final girl. Regardless, Sarah Logan is the survivor: she meets the killer, takes it on, and defeats it (or so we hope). This is as far as Sarah Logan follows the formula Carol Clover laid out for the final girl. Sarah is a lesbian in a relationship who has temporarily left her lover in order to care for her ailing mother. What I love most about Sarah is that she is a realistic representation of womanhood. She is vulnerable; we see her struggle, trying to make financial ends meet while balancing her relationship with the nebulous task of managing her mother’s Alzheimer’s. Sarah is flawed, she is scared, uncertain, she drinks to manage her stress, and she sometimes needs help from others. Read more

Back to top