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  • Writer's pictureAllan Major

Beyond the Scream Queens: Slasher Movies' Most Underrated Final Girls

Featured Image For Beyond the Scream Queens: Slasher Movies' Most Underrated Final Girls.   Illustration of a final girl in a horror movie, with an ominous shadow lurking in the background.
Her resolve is the light that darkness cannot extinguish, even as it creeps closer.

Let's dive into the shadows, folks, and pull back the curtain on a subject that's long been hidden in the slasher film's spattered limelight – the Final Girl. Yeah, we all know the Scream Queens. Nancy Thompson, Laurie Strode, they're the survivors with reputations as tough as their teased-out hair. But what about the rest? The gutsy gals who fought tooth and nail against the masked psychopaths and lived to tell the tale, yet somehow faded into the cinematic woodwork? It's time to shine a bloodstained flashlight on the unsung heroines of the slasher flick, those underestimated gems – the Underrated Final Girls.

Alice Hardy: Friday the 13th's Calm Under Pressure

Let's start with Alice, shall we? Our girl from the original Friday the 13th. She ain't your typical shriek-and-run type. Sure, she's got that wholesome girl-next-door vibe, but Alice is made of sterner stuff than her ill-fated camp counselor friends. Remember that finale? Mrs. Voorhees is bearing down, crazed eyes promising a brutal end, and what does Alice do? She doesn't panic, doesn't freeze. With a coolness that'd make a seasoned detective proud, she sizes up the situation, grabs the nearest weapon (a fireplace poker, if memory serves), and delivers the finishing blow. Talk about grace under pressure!

Illustration of a final girl in a horror movie, running from a spectral figure in a dilapidated hallway.
Corridors echo with the past, but her fight for survival resounds louder.

Jess Bradford: Black Christmas' Woman of Substance

You gotta admire Black Christmas's Jess. This ain't no sorority fluffball. She's complex, a woman with choices and a backstory that bleeds through the terror. See, Jess ain't about to settle down just because a ring's offered. She confronts societal norms, defies expectations, all while a psychotic killer is phoning in with increasingly disturbing messages and taking out her friends one by one. Jess, with her quiet determination and heartbreaking vulnerability, holds you tight, keeping you invested in a way pure shock tactics never could.

The Strength of the Underdog: Minor Characters with Major Impact

Don't think these lesser-known Final Girls are all soft sweaters and doe eyes. Some pack serious heat! Think Ginny Field from Friday the 13th Part 2. Cornered by Jason, she channels her psychology studies, playing on that mama's-boy complex and tricking the hockey-masked terror into believing she's his dearly departed mom. Then there's Stretch from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2. A radio DJ with more guts than airtime, she survives a deranged cannibal family, wielding a chainsaw like an avenging angel with a bad perm. Talk about girl power!

Illustration of a final girl in a horror movie, staring in horror at a shadowy figure in the doorway.
In the house of shadows, she stands alone—the last beacon of hope against the encroaching dark.

The Brains Versus the Brawn

The beauty of these Underrated Final Girls lies in their intelligence, their adaptability. They ain't damsels waiting for a chiseled-jawed hero to swoop in. Take Kirsty Cotton from the Hellraiser series. Sure, those Cenobites are the stuff of nightmares, but Kirsty matches their demonic cunning with smarts and a fierce will to survive. She isn't afraid to bargain, manipulate, and, let's face it, plunge headfirst into a hellish dimension to protect those she loves.

Why They Matter: Appreciation Beyond the Jumpscares

These women represent something the slasher genre sometimes forgets – a resilient, often wounded, core of humanity. They aren't just names to check off a kill count. They're survivors with agency, with grit that runs deeper than the standard horror tropes. That they're often overshadowed by more iconic figures is a disservice to these multifaceted characters and the actresses who brought them to bloody life.

So here's a toast, my fellow horror hounds, to the Underrated Final Girls. It's about time we acknowledged these women of steel who fought off the darkness and, by doing so, carved out an inspiring space in the blood-soaked tapestry of slasher film history. Let's raise a glass (or maybe a severed limb, if you're feeling macabre) to those who make us believe that even against the sharpest blade, hope cuts deep.

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