Jamie Lee Curtis – Halloween
Ah, Jamie Lee Curtis: The mother of all scream queens. From The Fog to Prom Night, Jamie Lee did them all. She is perhaps most well-known, however, for her big screen debut. As tough-as-nails babysitter Laurie Strode in John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic, Halloween, she set the standard for horror movie heroines for every franchise to follow. Michael Myers never stood a chance—not even 20 years later in Halloween
Scout Taylor-Compton – Halloween remake
Though I’m still not sure whether a remake was necessary (the same goes for every other major horror film remake produced in recent years), Rob Zombie at least decided to do something different with 2007 version of Halloween, making it both a prequel and a remake at the same time. Scout Taylor-Compton, then known mostly for such wholesome fare as Sleepover, took on Jamie Lee’s mantle and became the next generation’s Laurie Strode.
Neve Campbell – Scream
Scream, released in 1996, was a total game-changer: For the first time in slasher flick history, we had self-aware characters who KNEW they were in a slasher flick. It may have been bloody, but at least Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott had her movie junkie buddy Randy (Jamie Kennedy) on hand to teach her the ropes of surviving a horror movie.
Adrienne King – Friday the 13th
Released in 1980, Friday the 13th was the next big thing in slasher flicks. Directed by a protégée of Wes Craven who was subsequently inspired by John Carpenter’s Halloween, Friday the 13th introduced us to a hockey masked killer by the name of Jason Voorhees, whose likes include stalking teenagers at summer camps. Adrienne King, who is principally known for her appearances in this series, took on the role of the Final Girl, Alice. The lesson learned? Stay away from the lake!
Amanda Righetti – Friday the 13th remake
Remember Kristen Cohen’s wild little sister Hailey Nichol on The O.C.? That was Amanda Righetti. The 2009 remake of Friday the 13th used little of the original’s plot, instead centering the main action around Clay’s (Jared Padalecki) attempts to find his sister Whitney, who had been kidnapped by Jason years before. Amanda, of course, played Whitney. Kidnapped by Jason Voorhees? Shudder.
Jennifer Love Hewitt – I Know What You Did Last Summer
Scream heralded the resurgence of the slasher flick during the ‘90s, and 1997’s I Know What You Did Last Summer was definitely a staple of the revival. Back when Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Ryan Phillippe where all fresh-faced newcomers—well, mostly—they took on a mean-looking fisherman with a vicious hook, with varying levels of success. JLoHew (too much?) had the most success, however, as the series’ Final Girl. Little did she know that later on, she’d be facing off with The Client List instead…
Heather Langenkamp – A Nightmare on Elm Street
Freddy Krueger may have gotten a little campy in recent years, but as a killer that stalks his victims when they’re at their most vulnerable—asleep—he was pretty terrifying back in 1984. It’s a good thing newcomer Heather Langekamp was around as Nancy Thompson to stop him—even if she couldn’t save Johnny Depp in his first big screen appearance first.
Rooney Mara – A Nightmare on Elm Street remake
Though Rooney Mara has said that she had a miserable time shooting 2010’s Nightmare on Elm Street remake, she’s definitely worth mentioning here. As with Friday the 13th’s remake, much changed in the transition from old to new, though the future Lisbeth Salander made a pretty good match for good old Freddy.
Alicia Witt – Urban Legend
The Urban Legend series, first launched in 1998, had a pretty neat gimmick: Its deaths mounted up in the style of urban legends made into reality. Alicia Witt played Natalie, our Final Girl — although by this point, the Final Girl started to become a little less resilient. How? That would be telling, wouldn’t? Shhhh.
Marilyn Burns – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Let’s go back in time for a moment. Waaaaaay back. Back before Freddy, Jason, and even Michael. It’s time to meet Leatherface! Touted as being based on actual events (though in truth, this was quite an exaggeration), Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre pitted a bunch of teens, including Marilyn Burns in her big screen debut as Sally Hardesty, against a family of cannibals who happened to be fond of logging equipment. Sally? Let’s just say that she’s a true Final Girl.
Jessica Biel – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake
In 2003’s remake, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (and yes, the studio fixed the typo in the title this time round) Sally Hardesty became Erin Hardesty and was played by Jessica Biel. Apparently, though, teenagers in 2003 still haven’t learned that you should never, ask for directions at a gas station run by a lone hillbilly in the middle of nowhere.
Elisha Cuthbert – House of Wax
You know what the best part about House of Wax is? Watching Paris Hilton get the whacked. Oh, right, and Elisha Cuthbert makes for a pretty good Final Girl, too.