Every movie needs a good, old-fashioned villain. And every villain needs a good, old-fashioned hero. But in the horror world, the most common villain is the slasher, and every slasher needs a final girl. The genre would be nonexistent without these female characters but yet they hardly get any notice except as a "type" of character among many.
I'd like to highlight the first final girl, one that history has proven to be the best: Laurie Strode, from the "Halloween" series. Strode was played first by Jamie Lee Curtis in films 1-2, H20: 20 Years Later, and Resurrection, and later portrayed by Scout Taylor-Compton in Rob Zombie's Halloween films.
Final girls are a common plot line in many horror films, in which a series of victims is killed one by one by a killer, culminating in a climax in which the last surviving member of the group, a female, either vanquishes the killer or gets away. In many of these works shares common characteristics: she is typically sexually unavailable or virginal, avoiding the vices of the victims (sex, illegal drug use, hedonistic lifestyle, etc.); she sometimes has a unisex name (Teddy, Billie, Georgie, Sidney); the final girl will have a shared history with the killer. The final girl is the "investigating consciousness" of the film, moving the narrative forward and as such, she exhibits intelligence, curiosity, and vigilance.
Laurie Strode is an a-typical final girl. At the onset of the first film, 17-year-old Laurie has plans to babysit Tommy Doyle on Halloween night, 1978. Throughout the day, she keeps seeing a mysterious masked man watching her wherever she goes; unbeknownst to her, this is Michael Myers, an escaped mental patient who murdered his sister, Judith Myers, 15 years prior and has begun stalking her. As Laurie babysits Tommy, Myers kills her friends Annie and Lynda in the house across the street. Growing concerned when they fail to call her, Laurie goes to investigate and sees their corpses laid out for her to find, before being attacked by Myers. Laurie defends herself by stabbing him with a knitting needle, a metal hanger, and his own knife, but nothing kills him. As he rises again and begins to strangle her, Laurie is saved by Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence), who shoots Myers off the balcony.
"Halloween II" picks up directly after the first movie, with Laurie Strode being taken to a hospital. Upon learning who attacked her, Laurie asks "Why me?" After being sedated, Laurie has a dream in which she visits an older boy in a hospital. Waking up, she begins to roam the hallways of the hospital until coming face to face with Myers, who has been killing his way through the hospital staff in search of her. Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis is told that Michael and Judith Myers are actually Laurie's biological siblings; she was put up for adoption after the death of their parents, with the records sealed to protect the family. Concluding that Laurie is still in danger, Loomis rushes to the hospital and causes an explosion which engulfs himself and Myers, while Laurie escapes the blast. The traumatized Laurie is last seen being transferred to another hospital.
Throughout the series Strode is equal parts vulnerable, intelligent, and brave, presenting audiences with a true heroine they can root for.
Women in Horror Recognition Month (WiHM) assists underrepresented female genre artists in gaining opportunities, exposure, and education through altruistic events, printed material, articles, interviews, and online support. WiHM seeks to expose and break down social constructs and miscommunication between female professionals while simultaneously educating the public about discrimination and how they can assist the female gender in reaching equality.
More information can be found at: womeninhorrormonth.com