The 25 Fiercest Final Girls Of Horror

    These slasher film heroines went toe-to-toe with sadistic serial killers — and lived to tell about it.

    The way we understand horror films changed forever with the publication of Carol Clover's 1992 book Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. Her basic argument is that although slasher movies seem to delight in the sadistic torment of female victims, they are actually providing the audience a point of identification with the last woman standing, which Clover identified as the "Final Girl."

    The Final Girl is female, but she has a gender ambiguous name. She propels the plot forward with her investigative nature. She is pure, abstaining from sex and drugs. And she faces the killer in a final showdown, ultimately surviving by defeating him or through a third party's intervention. In horror series, however, the Final Girl often dies in the sequel, paving the way for a new Final Girl to carry the torch.

    These characteristics are not set in stone, and the Final Girl has developed over time. Even Laurie Strode, Halloween's Final Girl and one of Clover's primary examples, was a new breed of Final Girl when she reemerged in Halloween: H20. The following list represents characters who fit into the Final Girl model, some more snugly than others. But all have left an impression in the genre.

    25. Julie James (1997's I Know What You Did Last Summer)

    24. Lila Crane (1960's Psycho)

    23. Alana Maxwell (1980's Terror Train)

    22. Natalie Simon (1998's Urban Legend)

    21. Sally Hardesty (1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre)

    20. Chris Higgins (1982's Friday the 13th Part III)

    19. Sarah (2005's The Descent)

    18. Kristen Parker (1987's A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors)

    17. Jesse Walsh (1985's A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge)

    16. Jess Bradford (1974's Black Christmas)

    15. Suzy Bannion (1977's Suspiria)

    14. Alice Hardy (1980's Friday the 13th)

    13. Samantha Hughes (2009's The House of the Devil)

    12. Alice Johnson (1988's A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master)

    11. Dana Polk (2012's The Cabin in the Woods)

    10. Ash Williams (1979's The Evil Dead)

    9. Ginny Field (1981's Friday the 13th Part 2)

    8. Mia Allen (2013's Evil Dead)

    7. Kirsty Cotton (1987's Hellraiser)

    6. Marybeth Dunston (2010's Hatchet II)

    5. Stretch Brock (1986's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2)

    4. Nancy Thompson (1984's A Nightmare on Elm Street)

    3. Ellen Ripley (1979's Alien)

    2. Laurie Strode (1978's Halloween)

    1. Sidney Prescott (1996's Scream)