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The Pyramid Of Final Girls

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.

Horror movies have rules, as Randy Meeks from “Scream” explained. You can’t have sex, you can’t drink or do drugs, and never … ever say “I’ll be right back.” You won’t be back. But a good horror movie wouldn’t be complete without its cast. The guy or gal who dies first, the person who we think is the killer but ends up being just some dude, an actual killer and, of course, the most integral part of any good horror film … the final girl. For a character to become “the final girl” they must outlive all their friends and, ultimately, escape the killer. Today we’re going to look at six of the final girls, my top six. This is arranged in my head like the pyramid from “Dance Moms,” so I will treat it as such.

Within this article, there are likely one or more spoilers for the following movies: “Friday the 13th,” “Scream,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Halloween,” “Alien” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”

Bottom of the pyramid — sixth, fifth and fourth place

6) Alice Hardy

In last place, we have Alice Hardy from the first “Friday the 13th” movie. She’s on the bottom of the pyramid because while she fought hard against Jason’s mother, she didn’t fight hard against the hulking beast himself. She unfortunately died before the title card of the second movie could play. She got an ice pick to the head in her own kitchen through Jason’s revenge for his mother who she killed. Last place is the obvious ranking because she didn’t even making it half-way through the sequel. A sad end to a pretty good character.

5) Sally Hardesty

Next up we have Sally Hardesty from the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” franchise. Being able to survive the sadistic Sawyer family at all is a complete triumph. After jumping out a window and limping to the back of a truck, she told her story to state police and fell into a catatonic state thereafter. She was originally supposed to die in 1977, but she showed up again in the 2022 movie. She ends up dying at the hands of Leatherface towards the end of the movie. She’s this low on the pyramid mostly because of two reasons: One, she didn’t show up for almost six or seven movies and, two, there’s a better final girl in this series. That girl is Stretch from “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.” Stretch technically killed the Sawyer family and was, generally, so cool. However, she will not be on this list because I am only talking about the original final girls.

4) Nancy Thompson

The last one on the bottom of the pyramid is Nancy Thompson from “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Nancy literally had to fight a dream demon who murdered children while he was still alive. Her friends, lowkey, let her down in the first movie, and they all ended up dying. She literally destroyed Freddy Krueger’s power by taking it away from him. Nancy survived a total of three movies, though she never appeared in the second one. In the third film, while working as an intern at the asylum, she discovers Freddy is back. She unfortunately dies in that movie after Freddy disguises himself as her father and stabs her twice. She was a really good final girl and a really good person. R.I.P. Nancy Thompson.

Middle row — third and second place

3) Laurie Strode

Starting the middle row is Laurie Strode from “Halloween.” For starters, I love “Halloween.” It was my first horror movie, so it holds a really special place in my heart. The “Halloween” franchise is so mixed up, so let’s just assume it’s the original movie timeline. Laurie is so cool, her brother’s a monster, and she still has no qualms about killing him. He keeps coming back — she keeps surviving. And she’s one of the final girls that everyone knows, and she’s played by, the scream queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis. In the original timeline, she’s still alive too! However, not in the H20 timeline, but we’re not looking at that one. She protects her family from Michael and knows how to deal with him. She’s so cool and I love her, but there’s two that outshine her.

2) Sidney Prescott

Rounding out the middle row is Sidney Prescott from “Scream.” This girl went through so much. Her mother died; all her friends die; her boyfriend literally tried to kill her; more friends die; her other boyfriend dies; and the killer just keeps coming back — it’s a complete mess! Poor Sidney has been through so much, everyone she loves is practically gone. Yet, she’s still Sidney. She still tries to help the people being haunted by Ghostface. She’s such a fighter. I love her so much. Also, I’m a little biased because “Scream” is my favorite horror franchise. Additionally, I love Stu Macher (and Matthew Lillard), so take this ranking with a grain of salt. Anyways, Sidney is one of the best. She truly deserves a better future for herself, her husband and their kids.

Top of the pyramid — first place

1) Ellen Ripley

Finally, we have the ultimate final girl. Smart, resourceful, cool and a survivor. Ellen Ripley from the “Alien” franchise. She was so smart and actually did something while the rest of the crew fell into panic. I love Ripley so much — her and her cat, Jones. She’s so me. I know she’s technically dead now, but I don’t even care cause Ripley rocks. She warned everyone and tried to help everyone. She’s so smart and so resourceful. All the other people on her crew literally died due to, pretty much, not listening to her. Ellen Ripley’s number one!

That is my pyramid of best final girls. The final three are pretty interchangeable because the three of them are the coolest characters in horror movies. I love them so much, and they deserve better than what these slashers gave them.

Rylee Clark

Bradley U '27

My name is Rylee! I'm a freshman at Bradley University.