Scream Queens don’t always make it to the final frame of a horror flick but the “Final Girls” always do. They’re the resilient, badasses who do battle with slasher-film psychos and live to tell about it – albeit they’re likely psychologically damaged once it’s over.
While Alfred Hitchcock’s slasher masterpiece Psycho is famous for dispensing with its heroine Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) within the film’s first 35 minutes, it also spawned the prototype for the Final Girl in her sister Lila Crane, a dogged Nancy Drew type who investigated Marion’s disappearance amid certain terror.
The term Final Girl was coined by Carol Clover in her iconic—at least among film-school nerds— 1992 essay “Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film,” and its tenets still apply to the genre 20 years later. Since the Final Girl term was coined a few filmmakers have sought to redefine the genre’s iconography as in the very meta Cabin in the Woods, but overwhelmingly, the sole survivor of any given slasher film continues be a fierce young woman who’s less concerned with getting laid than her soon-to-be-dead friends.
Of the Final Girl Clover writes, “She is the one who encounters the mutilated bodies of her friends and perceives the full extent of the preceding horror and of her own peril; who is chased, cornered, wounded; whom we see scream, stagger, fall, rise, and scream again.”
From Lila Crane to Sidney Prescott and even to TV's scrappy Pretty Little Liars, the image of the Final Girl endures. Here's our list of ten best.
12) Lila Crane in Psycho (Remake) as portrayed by Julianne Moore:
Gus Van Sant's 1998 shot-for-shot remake of Psycho, which featured Anne Heche as Marion, is widely considered to be an interesting but failed experiment. Still, it did feature LGBT ally Moore as a slightly more butch Lila, and that was kind of worth the price of admission alone.