Facts About The Actresses Who Played Our Favorite Horror Final Girls

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Vote up the most surprising final girl facts.

The term “final girl” - used to describe one of the best-known tropes in slasher horror - was coined by Carol J. Clover in the 1992 book Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film, which focused on slasher films from the '70s and '80s, as well as the frequent choice for the main female character to be the last one standing. Later versions of the final girl would even get the final confrontation with the villain, a stark departure from the typical “damsel in distress” trope that now makes many moviegoers roll their eyes. 

Here are some of the hardcore women who portrayed these final girls on the silver screen. Emulating these dauntless survivors takes some serious guts, so here’s a list of facts you probably didn’t know about the actresses who played your favorite final girls. 

Vote up the facts you find most surprising.


  • 1
    159 VOTES

    Heather Langenkamp’s Real-Life Stalker Experience Inspired Her Role In ‘New Nightmare’

    Heather Langenkamp’s Real-Life Stalker Experience Inspired Her Role In
‘New Nightmare’
    Photo: New Nightmare / New Line Productions

    There’s no question that Wes Craven is one of the greatest masters of the horror genrel he's breathed life into plenty of infamous horror characters - from A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger to Scream’s Ghostface - and he's bent the pivotal traditions and tropes of horror itself.

    Nowhere is this genre-bending better illustrated than in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, which tells the meta-narrative not of Nancy Thompson from A Nightmare on Elm Street, but of Heather Langenkamp, the actress who portrayed her. And stranger yet, the idea was born from the real-life story of Langenkamp’s stalker.

    When the TV sitcom Just the Ten of Us, starring Langenkamp as the mature and pious Marie, was canceled, life became a horror show for the scream queen. Many people were upset about the show’s cancelation, and a stalker began threatening her and others on the show. The FBI even got involved and warned Langenkamp to be cautious of her surroundings for a time.

    When New Line approached Craven about bringing back the Nightmare franchise, he had lunch with Langenkamp, who caught him up on her frightening stalker situation. As a result, Craven decided she should play herself in the next Nightmare installment, except the stalker in this story would be Freddy Krueger.

    159 votes
  • 2
    217 VOTES

    Neve Campbell ('Scream') Was Dragged Through The Woods By A Bear While Filming A Movie When She Was 17

    Neve Campbell ('Scream') Was Dragged Through The Woods By A Bear While Filming A Movie When She Was 17
    Photo: Scream / Dimension Films

    Scream star Neve Campbell shared a harrowing story while promoting the fifth film in the Scream franchise, in which she reprises her role as Sidney Prescott. The tale in question doesn't come from Scream, however, but from a Canadian movie Campbell filmed when she was 17.

    While there’s much to be said for practical effects, bringing a live bear on a movie set and having Campbell feed it a big bottle of Coca-Cola, dip her hand in honey, and run from the unrestrained animal was perhaps a recipe for disaster.

    The bear reportedly clamped its jaws on Campbell's leg and dragged her through the forest, sending the crew - and her mother - into a panic. According to Campbell, all she could think to say was, “He’s biting me.” Luckily, the bear wrangler jumped in and freed her, but Campbell likely surprised everyone on set when she asked to roll the cameras again so they could actually get the shot.

    217 votes
  • 3
    154 VOTES

    Adrienne King Was Hesitant To Join 'Friday the 13th Part 2' Because A Man Stalked Her For A Year And A Half After The First Movie's Release

    Adrienne King Was Hesitant To Join 'Friday the 13th Part 2' Because A Man Stalked Her For A Year And A Half After The First Movie's Release
    Photo: Friday the 13th Part 2 / Paramount Pictures

    When Adrienne King took the role of final girl Alice in the 1980 film Friday the 13th, she didn’t expect the project to define her as a genre icon. She also didn’t expect that it would bring her real-life horror, or that it would affect her role in the sequel, Friday the 13th Part 2.

    Following the movie’s successful release, King became the target of a stalker. He followed her all the way to London and would take Polaroids of her daily activities, then tuck them in a restaurant menu and slide it under her door. Unfortunately, law enforcement didn’t take celebrity stalking very seriously, so King was left hopeless and alone.

    This went on for a year and a half, ultimately scaring her out of having a more involved role in Part 2, as she didn't want her stalker to escalate his actions. When the culprit was finally discovered and arrested, authorities discovered that King simply reminded him of someone who had hurt him in the past. Even though King's nightmare was over, the effect of that year and a half was lasting.

    154 votes
  • 4
    165 VOTES

    Sigourney Weaver Gave Each 'Aliens' Cast Member A Bouquet On The Day Their Character Was Killed

    Sigourney Weaver Gave Each 'Aliens' Cast Member A
Bouquet On The Day Their Character Was Killed
    Photo: Aliens / 20th Century Fox

    Sigourney Weaver will be forever linked to sci-fi horror thanks to the legendary Alien franchise. While Ellen Ripley isn’t your average beauty queen turned final girl, she is without question one of the best-known characters in the genre, praised for challenging gender roles in traditionally male-dominated films like Predator or The Thing. To no one's surprise, when discussions of an Alien sequel began, Weaver was cast to reprise her Ripley role.

    The franchise has never shied away from shocking deaths, and having been through the wringer once before, Weaver assumed a rather maternal role for the newer talent on set. The actress went out of her way to give each cast member a bouquet on the filming day their character was set to meet a grisly end. She even made a point of pranking Paul Reiser, who played the cowardly and manipulative Carter Burke, with a bouquet of dead flowers.

    165 votes
  • 5
    155 VOTES

    Marilyn Burns's Finger Was Actually Cut Open While Filming 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre' After A Prop Knife Was Replaced With A Real Knife

    Marilyn Burns's Finger Was Actually Cut Open While Filming 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre' After A Prop Knife Was
Replaced With A Real Knife
    Photo: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre / Bryanston Distributing Company

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was a defining film for horror and the slasher subgenre. It made an indelible mark on the public, as well as - unfortunately - its cast. The film set was reportedly plagued with vomit-inducing odors, an uncomfortable lack of wardrobe changes, and a particularly unpleasant injury for the film’s final girl, Sally Hardesty, played by Marilyn Burns.

    During the notorious dinner scene, Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) was meant to slice Sally's finger, and Grandfather (John Dugan) would suck up her blood. However, the prop knife, outfitted with a tube of fake blood, refused to function properly. After many failed takes, the prop knife was exchanged for a real one, and an impatient Hansen covertly sliced Burns's finger for real, which resulted in Dungan sucking actual blood from her finger.

    The filming process was so terrifying for Burns, she didn’t even realize what had happened until years later.

    155 votes
  • 6
    170 VOTES

    Jane Levy Was Actually Buried Alive With A Plastic Bag Wrapped Around Her Head For A Scene In ‘Evil Dead’

    Jane Levy Was Actually Buried Alive With A Plastic Bag Wrapped Around Her Head For A Scene In ‘Evil Dead’
    Photo: Evil Dead / Sony Pictures Releasing

    When Jane Levy took the role of Mia in the 2013 soft reboot Evil Dead, she didn’t realize the horror of the movie would bleed into her on-set experience. But Director Fede Alvarez was set on using practical effects like makeup, prosthetics, and old-school movie magic, so it fell on the cast to weather the brutal scenes without the balm of CGI.

    Levy later reported that the hardest scene to brave psychologically was the one that featured a plastic bag tied around her head as she was buried alive. While there was an oxygen tube tucked behind her ear to ensure some semblance of safety, there were still instances in which she would lose breathable air and would have to dig herself out when the cameras stopped rolling.

    “That was a hard day,” she recalled.

    170 votes