Final girls, final boys, and horror movie survivors tend to have one thing in common: They’re lucky. When you think about it, the best horror movies don’t have super capable main characters who are able to go toe-to-toe with characters like Jason Voorhees or a bunch of creatures from another dimension. These survivors tend to be lucky more than anything; they’re either saved by something as natural as the sunrise or the dreaded deus ex machina.
Just because these characters aren’t extremely capable doesn’t mean that they’re not good, it’s just that they never expected to be in a situation where they had to deal with a sleep demon or a bunch of aliens that want to take over their high school. The odds are stacked against every character in a horror movie, but these survivors are seriously out of their element.
- Photo: Warner Bros.
Wendy Torrance has a tough run of things in The Shining. Not only is her husband an abusive alcoholic, but her son is suffering from seizures, and she's in a haunted hotel in the middle of winter - that's not a recipe for surviving a horror movie. As she's chased through the Overlook by her husband, who's powered by ghosts, the best she can do is run as fast as she can and scream her head off.
The most she does to warrant her survival is scream for Jack Torrance to stop, which of course, he doesn't. The only way she manages to get away is Scatman Cruthers showing up and catching an ax in the back.
- Played By: Shelley Duvall
As far as characters in horror movies go, Sally isn't particularly skilled. You don't have to know how to work a chainsaw or be a skilled safecracker to survive in the genre, but it doesn't hurt. Sally is just a teenager who's on a road trip with her friends when she runs into Leatherface and his vicious, backwoods family.
Every one of her friends are dispatched by various means, but Sally escapes the family and lives to tell the tale. She's manhandled, hit in the head with a meat tenderizer, and cut up after jumping through a glass window thanks to what can either be considered gumption or just pure chance.
- Played By: Marilyn Burns
Dwight 'Dewey' Riley From ‘Scream’Photo: Dimension Films
In a fair and just world, Dewey wouldn't have made it out of Scream alive, and his sister Tatum would have at least made it to the sequel. Dewey is incompetent at best, and just straight-up terrible at his job on his worst days. When Ghostface shows up and starts knocking off teens, he's more concerned with flirting with Gale Weathers than solving the case.
Somehow, his intelligent, cool sister winds up smushed in a garage door, and even though he's stabbed in the back and left without a medical care for hours, he not only lives through the film, but he survives through every sequel and becomes town sheriff by the fourth film. Talk about failing up.
- Played By: David Arquette
Paxton From ‘Hostel’Photo: Lionsgate/Screen Gems
It's clear from the moment that Paxton and his friends set foot in Europe that they're woefully unprepared for being in a foreign country, and if these guys can't handle making their way through clubs in Eastern Europe, then there's no way that Paxton can deal with a super wealthy cabal of psychos.
After he's captured by the group that brutally does away with tourists, Paxton is restrained and some of his fingers are removed. Paxton is locked in a torture chamber, and he lucks out when his manacles are accidentally released. He somehow makes his way through a basement filled with guards and people who are super excited to commit evil deeds, and he ends up making it home.
- Played By: Jay Hernandez