Non-Final Girls Who Would Have Made Better Leads

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Vote up the women of horror who should have made it to the end credits.

One of the most important parts of any horror movie is the final girl, the last character standing after a masked killer/dream demon/zombie takes out all of her friends. But more often than not, there's a character in any given horror movie who would be better at taking on the antagonist and assuming the role of last character standing than the final girl the audience gets, and that's what we're taking a look at today.

To figure out who can out-final-girl the traditional girls, we're taking a look at characters who are smart, capable, and more fun to be around than the characters who actually make it to the end of their respective movies. It's up to you to decide which of these favorite non-final girls should have survived for the sequel.

  • Clear Rivers may have one of the worst names in film history, but she's also the smartest character in the Final Destination franchise. After surviving the first film, she figures out exactly what Death's game is and gets herself locked in a mental institution. It's the smartest thing anyone has ever done in a horror movie. By the time Final Destination 2 kicks into gear, Rivers is way ahead of the game. She monitors everything that goes on in her institution while studying the current trends in death. That's final girl activity, you know?

    Rivers is unfairly taken from us when an oxygen leak leads to an explosion in the institution, leaving Kimberly as the film's default final girl. The point of the Final Destination movies is that no one gets out of this world alive, so Rivers has to die at some point, but it's a shame that a smart, thoughtful character is just more chum for the horror machine when she would have better served as a character that could inform future casts.

    64 votes

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  • 'Fear Street: 1994' - Kate
    Photo: Netflix
    34 VOTES

    'Fear Street: 1994' - Kate

    Even though it would have changed the trajectory of the following two Fear Street films, it would have been really cool to watch Kate take up the mantle of final girl in this slasher throwback to the '90s. Sure, Deena makes more thematic sense to the story, but Kate has the final girl skill set. 

    Kate may be a drug dealer, but she's doing it so she can save up enough money and get out of the murder capital of the United States. Her entrepreneurial feats prove she has business sense, but she can also hold her own against the monsters who regularly attack the teens in this town. At one point, she uses hairspray and a lighter to set a creature on fire, and that's SO COOL.

    Deena's great and all, but horror fans deserve a final girl who's ready to throw down and set someone on fire.

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  • Rachel was seriously screwed in her short time in Halloween 5. After kicking serious serial killer butt in Halloween 4, she's stabbed to death by Michael after taking a shower. To make matters worse, her death doesn't even happen on screen. The audience just finds out what happened when her corpse pops up in the attic of the old Myers house. It's genuinely uncool.

    The film ends with the young Jamie Lloyd breaking down in tears after the leader of the Cult of Thorn breaks Michael out of his cell, setting up a sequel that didn't happen for six years. This movie is a mess, but it would have been a little more satisfying if there was a classic final girl like Rachel attempting to stop Michael. The filmmakers still could have set up all the Cult of Thorn stuff without leaving the audience in the hands of a 12-year-old.

    Similarly to Annie from the original Halloween, Rachel is the daughter of the town's sheriff. In the previous film, she proved herself capable of thinking on her feet and handling weapons when Michael Myers attacked her family home. Why not give her a second go at fighting the monster?

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  • Why, oh why, was Kirby so brutally dispatched in Scream 4? A kind of Tatum/Randy mash-up that we're absolutely here for, Kirby is an intelligent horror fan who knows she's in the middle of a slasher sequel, which is why she would make the perfect final girl.

    Kirby also fits the final girl rubric created by the slasher films of the 1980s and the Rosetta Stone of horror films, Men, Women, and Chainsaws. She's a bit of a tomboy, she has a short haircut, and she has a masculine name, all things that create a final girl according to author Carol Clover.

    Scream 4 rocks, but one thing that has always lessened its power is the fact that the film introduces an entire cast of great, new characters and tosses them all out like bathwater. Kirby is the most obvious character to take on the mantle of final girl because she's actively trying to solve the mystery at hand.

    This isn't to say Sidney should have been killed (although that would have been interesting), but Kirby could have picked up the mantle of final girl and ran with it in a way that would have changed the trajectory of the franchise forever.

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  • 'Saw III' - Detective Allison Kerry
    Photo: Lionsgate

    Detective Kerry gets done so dirty in Saw III. After three movies where she shows she's not only a thoughtful investigator but also someone who doesn't take Jigsaw's bait (unlike EVERY man in this franchise), she winds up in a rib-cage-breaking trap because she works too hard. WTF is that?

    While every other officer in the Saw series loses their cool at some point in their investigation of Jigsaw, Detective Kerry puts her nose to the grindstone and genuinely tries to stop the themed killer who's running wild in their nameless city full of warehouse space. It would have been really exciting to watch Detective Kerry stick around for the series so she could finally have some answers about Jigsaw.

    40 votes

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  • I Know What You Did Last Summer is the first of many "hot teen" slasher films that followed in Scream's wake that attempted to bite the genre-busting film's style. Aside from featuring young actors who talk like screenwriters in their 40s, this Lois Duncan adaptation has a final girl problem. Julie James is a smart brunette who's kind of sad and kind of - how should we say this? - dull.

    Her former best friend Helen is more charismatic and has a better narrative arc. She's also played by the extremely down-for-anything Sarah Michelle Gellar. Helen is a one-time beauty pageant winner who's since been knocked down a peg after bouncing out of the fashion world of New York City, and on top of it all, she and her friends are being hunted by a serial killer with an ax to grind. 

    Julie spends most of the film trying to figure out who's taking people out one by one, but Helen is really the character the audience is drawn to.

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