Fifteen Best Horror Film Heroines
For as long as the horror genre has existed, so has the element of the female presence in the genre. What has started as a typical damsel in distress, has evolved into something totally different. Women have become the saviors in the horror genre, and in the slasher genre nicknamed the “Final Girls.” I have always had a love for a strong, tough heroine in the genre, and here are my Top Fifteen Horror Film Heroines!
1. Nancy Thompson (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
At the number one spot I put Nancy Thompson, heroine of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. While Nancy is only in 1 and 3, and Heather plays herself in New Nightmare, Nancy left enough of an impression to be remembered. She is nerdy, sweet, cute, and tough as nails. What’s not to love?! In the original film she faced Freddy pretty much alone. She had no help from anyone! She is a 15 year old nerd who seems more like a girl that’d prefer to read a book then fight, but you are looking at a girl that has defeated one of the most badass villains out there single-handily! Her return in the third film was very welcomed by me and to see her battle Freddy once more was fantastic, and her ending was both heartbreaking, but heroic.
MEOW! That’s all I can say about this heroine. She starts out as nothing more than a naive crew member to turn into one of the MOST developed and ass kicking heroines of all time in the sequel and that goes onto have a tragic and sad ending in Alien 3. Ripley is considered by many to be the all time best female heroine and I can see why. If I were ever battling evil alien creatures with acid for blood, Ripley would be my first choice. Tough, brave, and sexy as hell.
3. Sarah (The Descent)
She is a survivor. She lost her husband and young daughter and deals with depression, but does she let that stop her? No! She is trying to live and when she has to face evil human-munching crawlers in a cave she is stuck in and backstabbing friends she evolves to become a different person. She becomes a silent fighter and begins to cause more havoc for the crawlers then they did to her and her friends. Shauna Macdonald’s performance is brilliant and she portrays every aspect of the character wonderfully giving, what is in my opinion, an Oscar-worthy performance. She was also the only good part of the atrocious sequel.
4. Sidney Prescott (Scream quadrilogy)
A young teenage girl who is having a few days from hell. Not only did she realize that someone close to her killed her mother the year before, but now they’re after her and it’s someone she’d never expect. But does she give up? No! She fights back and never backs down even when she is bleeding from a gaping wound in her shoulder. And that is ONLY the first film! She goes on to face more killers in three more films, and each time she is smart and takes down the killer. One of the best final girls in the modern horror genre.
5. Ginny Fields (Friday the 13th Part 2)
She is beautiful, cute, sexy as hell, and girl next door in one. But it’s not just her looks that put her on the list. She is an intelligent college student who majors in psychology and she is tough as nails and is as sexual as every other teenager. What’s not to love? Especially when she is stabbing Jason with his own machete. What really makes me adore her character is the ending when she puts on Mrs. Voorhees’s sweater and uses what she knows to try to detail Jason for at least a little while.
6. Laurie Strode (Halloween 1, 2, and H20)
Considered by many to be the first true Final Girl. She is pretty in an unassuming way and intelligent to boot, plus she has a great pair of lungs. She might run from danger at first, but when it comes down to it she finds the strength she didn’t know she had and uses it to survive. When the children are in danger, they are her first priority and makes sure they are safe before her own well-being. She’s a final girl I can really root for, with her selfless ways.
7. Jannicke (Cold Prey 1 and 2)
A heroine from the Norwegian slasher flicks. She is not well known, but one day I believe she will go down in books as one of the best heroines out there. She protects her friends and stops at nothing to try and keep them safe, and doesn’t shy away from fighting the killer if it means staying alive and protecting others. She is a truly selfless woman who is just thrust into a bad situation from hell…and then it continues onto the sequel where her hell isn’t over yet. But this time she refuses to back down and raises the stakes when she goes after the killer herself for revenge. BADASS! Remember the name, Jannicke!
8. Mandy Lane (All the Boys Love Mandy Lane)
I know a lot of people don’t agree with this one, but what’s not to love about her. She seems like your basic hot teenage girl next door. But she is intelligent, tough, stronger then she looks, and beautiful. This is one sexy heroine I’d love to survive a horror film with.
9. Kirsty Cotton (Hellraiser 1 and 2)
She fought the cenobites from hell and then in the sequel went into the depths of hell to face them once again to try and save her father’s soul. She is beautiful, tough, and is one brave girl. She isn’t just in a bad situation, but she faces it head on and goes into Hell itself. How many heroines do you know actually GO into Hell? Well Kirsty did, and she also won.
10. Sarah (Inside)
Another Sarah on the list. She like the other Sarah lost her husband and deals with depression, but it gets too her more. She doesn’t talk much and is getting ready to give birth to a baby the next day. But when a woman breaks into her house because she wants to steal the baby in her belly, she hides in the bathroom, but as the film goes on she gets stronger and smarter and begins to fight back and refuses to go out with a fight…plus she is in labor throughout the whole film! NOW THAT is one tough woman! She is in labor and can still fight a crazed maniac.
11. Marie (High Tension)
She is the perfect best friend. When she watches a family get brutally murdered and the savage killer kidnaps her best friend, she does something most of us wouldn’t do. She goes after the killer to save her friend and she stops at nothing until she does. I need a friend like her! Then you have Cecile De France’s amazing performance! Where is she now? She needs to do more horror.
12. Sarah Connor (Terminator 1 and 2)
Beautiful and tough. She starts off as an ordinary woman we can all relate too. She is just trying to survive day to day at a dead end job while going through college and then OUT OF NOWHERE her life is changed forever and in a blink she goes from being ordinary 19 year old girl to bad ass heroine who will survive no matter what. And in the sequel, just look at how buff she is. I’ll take her over anyone when the machines start to rise.
13. Erin (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003)
The original film is better I openly admit, but I PREFER the final girl in the remake. I found the original heroine to be not much of a fighter. She ran a lot and screamed VERY well. This remake changed that around in the character of Erin. She is very similar to Jannicke listed earlier, but Erin is a true sexy tomboy ably played by Jessica Biel. What I like most is that she doesn’t start off as the tough heroine she becomes in the end. She begins by running and screaming, but as the film goes on, she just seems to get angry and she manages to stop her running to fight back. Biel mixed sexiness and toughness to create a heroine to remember.
14. Stephanie Maine (The Stepfather 1987)
A VERY underrated heroine in my opinion. The original Stepfather is an amazing film with one of the best villain performances by the great Terry O’ Quinn. But the equally amazing and underrated Jill Schoelen is another reason the film works so well. She is a tough heroine who knows from the beginning that something is off with her new stepfather and refuses to believe other wise and continues her investigation to prove she is right. She is a troubled girl who is dealing with her father’s death at the same time. She deserves more recognition. She is basically a wounded tough girl with problems, and I’m a sucker for characters like that.
15. Jess Bradford (Black Christmas 1974)
Before Laurie Strode there was Jess and four years before Halloween, there was Black Christmas. Jess is young sorority girl who is dealing with a crazy boyfriend and an unwanted pregnancy. She is realistic and sweet and is a naturally caring woman. She is also incredibly flawed. She doesn’t make great decisions, but her heart is always in the right place. When she finds out that there is an invader in the house, instead of running out she grabs a fireplace poker and goes to grab her friends to save them not knowing where the person can be. Talk about brave!