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Four Underrated Final Girls by Mathew A.

April 13th, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

Hello, Unk! The twitch to write about horror movies doesn’t hit me often, but when it does I immediately think of you. You are forever my #1, Kindertrauma.

I started to write another piece about underrated horror flicks (I have LOTS of thoughts on Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2), but then I realized there was something else I needed to get off my chest. That “something” is a love of final girls who don’t necessarily get their due. If you are like me and inherently understand that Sarah Michelle Gellar should’ve been the final girl in IKWYDLS instead of whiny Jennifer Love Hewitt, then you are awesome and you probably see where I’m going with this post. If not, don’t worry. You might still be awesome. Perhaps you just have a soft spot for J-Love. I will forgive you.

As I’ve mentioned before, “underrated” is a term that doesn’t mean much; what I consider underrated might be totally different than what you consider underrated. It doesn’t really matter. It gives me an excuse to write about horror movies and the final girls who might be a little under the radar compared to Laurie Strode, Sydney Prescott, Nancy Thompson… the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, I love Laurie as much as the next horror fanatic, but we’ve been there and done that to death. Let’s dig in. Oh, and SPOILER WARNING, obviously.

Rachel Carruthers (Halloween 4-5)

Played perfectly by actress Ellie Cornell, Rachel is the best unsung heroine in the Halloween franchise. To be honest, Halloween 4 is an underrated movie in general. It was actually the first Halloween movie I saw, so nostalgia might be fueling this a bit. I don’t care. I’m telling you, this movie holds up. And a big reason for that is the character of Rachel. She has the unenviable task of filling the shoes formerly filled by Laurie Strode, and she is more than up for it. She’s equal parts tough and kind, and she’s more responsible than any teen in her situation has any right being. Most of all, she’s just incredibly likable. If you’ve seen her in action, hopefully you understand what I mean. There’s just *something* about her that makes you root for her and willingly follow her to the depths of Haddonfield Hell.

P.S. Halloween 5, while enjoyable in parts, kinda did Rachel dirty. SHE DESERVED MORE, I tell ya!

Yasmine (Frontier(s))

In the mid-2000s, French horror films had quite a moment. Remember Inside and High Tension? Martyrs? They were bloody, nihilistic, and pretty grim, especially compared to their American counterparts. While I enjoyed these films, I don’t really find myself coming back for repeated viewings, mostly because I look at horror films as an equivalent to comfort food. That being said, let’s give Yasmine (Karina Testa) her due.

Frontier(s) seems influenced by Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its ilk, and much like poor Sally from the abovementioned classic, Yasmine is PUT THROUGH THE RINGER. She takes a beating, both literally and figuratively, to the point where it almost makes you want to stop watching. Luckily for us, Yasmine is way stronger than she looks. Right when you think she’s at the point of giving up, she digs in her heels and brings forth some spectacularly bloody vengeance on her captors. Speaking of…

Erin Harson (You’re Next)

I know, I know… this movie is more action/thriller than horror, but don’t think I’m letting that stop me. Erin (played by the most beautiful woman in the world, Sharni Vinson) is a force to be reckoned with, and I appreciate that. The “home invasion” genre in horror is certainly popular, but I for one don’t love it. The protagonists typically make terrible decisions, and rarely do they fight back against the intruders in a way that is cathartic. The movies might be more realistic in that sense, but I don’t watch horror films for realism, nor do I watch them to see average people getting tortured throughout the length of the movie. I LOVE that the filmmakers gave Erin a reason for being a badass, and it actually made sense! She’s a charming, one-woman killing machine, and it’s glorious to behold. Thanks to Erin and her survivalist skills, I would much rather watch this movie than other, more popular home invasion flicks (e.g., The Strangers) where the homeowners are pretty much intruder fodder. Please don’t hold it against me.

Chris Higgins (Friday the 13th Part 3)

This might be a controversial choice, and it’s what got me thinking about this topic in the first place. Chris Higgins (played by Dana Kimmell) is not discussed very often. Perhaps she is overshadowed by Ginny Field, the (admittedly awesome) final girl from Part 2. Yes, Ginny is super smart and spunky, and the way she used Jason’s mother issues against him at the end of that film was genius. But I feel like you already know that. Most horror fans have come to this realization. Chris, on the other hand, never really gets the recognition she deserves. Hear me out.

I will admit that Chris is not very likable. Don’t get me wrong, I know being likable and sweet is not a requirement for a great final girl. I’m just thinking of reasons why other people might not appreciate her. Chris comes off as slightly cold and distant, which is either part of her character or just the way Kimmell was as an actress. I happen to appreciate it, but I naturally gravitate towards cold or slightly unlikable characters. Also, let’s not forget, Chris was dealing with past trauma involving Jason. It’s an icky subplot in the movie, but it also gives you all the more reason to root for her when she kicks his ass during the climax. And HOLY HELL, kick his ass she does!

I can’t think of any other Friday the 13th heroine who gets the best of Jason quite like Chris Higgins. I won’t give you a complete rundown of every little thing she does to take Jason down, but believe me; she earns her “final girl” title like no other. It’s fun to watch, and it’s thanks to Chris that I find myself coming back to Part 3 more often than the other sequels.

Well, there you have it, folks. Can you think of any other underrated ladies in the “final girl” pantheon? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Tags: General Horror




3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Apr 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks for another great underrated post Mathew A! I am so on the same page as you on Ellie Cornell and Rachel Caruthers. She is such a great character and comes across as very sincere and earnest and concerned for her sister’s well being. I love her. Her fate in Halloween 5 is one of the greatest blunders in slasher history. She really deserved a lot more respect and I’ll never forgive Halloween 5 for being so clueless.

    Now that Chris Higgins- I agree she is pretty awesome when she needs to be BUT I do have a few issues her (I also kind of worship Ginny Fields). My problem with Chris is that she KNEW there was a maniac in the woods and still brought her friends to stay there for the weekend! And then it takes her like a half hour after being attacked to realize that it’s the same maniac that she was just talking about! Also full disclosure, I may have written a love letter to Vera Sanchez once…

    https://www.kindertrauma.com/?p=28460

    Anyway, I have come to appreciate Chris a little more over the years and I very much love the scene when she comes out of the closet slashing at Jason! I wouldn’t want to mess with her- that’s for sure.

    And thanks for bringing up FRONTIER(s)! I’m not sure I can watch it again but it’s so good!

  • 2 Caffeinated JoeNo Gravatar // Apr 13, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    I agree with you both about Rachel! She was such a great character and the franchise should have held on to her. She was a gem and had already survived Michael. To just have her lost in Part 5 was a waste and a mistake. 🙁

  • 3 JennyD13No Gravatar // Apr 16, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Great article! I’m still pretty pissed how they killed off Rachel in Halloween 5. And Chris in Friday the 13th 3 was pretty kickass, even if she kinda led her friends to slaughter. And her badassness came not from inner strength, but from inner crazy and I respect that 🙂 My favourite underrated final girl has to be Taylor from Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. I just really liked her (and that movie in general)

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