While the notion of “the Final Girl” has for decades made women heroic survivors, I began really thinking about the word “survivor” early on in my horror journey. These women are typically deemed “final girls,” therefore “survivors,” only after having endured extreme victimization at the hands of villains who are usually male characters. What are arguably the world’s most widely known horror movies use this final girl/male villain formula to their advantage, subsequently creating iconic male characters that are amongst the most beloved in the genre: Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Norman Bates. The list goes ever on.
I became thirsty for movies in which women weren’t victims anymore, constantly being portrayed as virginal “good girls” who could only really be as iconic as the male villains they were running away from. That’s when I sought out movies whose villains were monstrous women that weren’t running away from anything, but rather brewing the storm themselves. Women who struck fear in viewers, men and women alike, instead of only sympathy. Because the final girl trope only really shows one facet of womanhood -- the “good ones” -- today we’re celebrating the women who are just as evil as they are iconic.
Jennifer, Jennifer’s Body
Annie Wilkes, Misery
Baby Firefly, House of 1000 Corpses/ The Devil’s Rejects
Julia Cotton - Hellraiser/Hellbound
Carrie, Carrie (1976)
Traditional final girls will always have a special place in my heart, but I find that the villainous women of horror are often more accurate representations of what it means to be a woman. The strength of these women comes from their power of choice and choosing the kind of woman they want to be, even if it's an evil one. Plus, everyone loves a bad girl.