The Horror Movie Survival Guide for the Discerning Final Girl

While I hope that common sense will prevail should you find yourself in a particularly harrowing situation this summer, I think we might want to take two seconds to revisit The Rules. I offer this happy little reminder in the event that you should find yourself in a derelict cabin somewhere for a “fun” weekend, getting irregular phone calls from inside your house while babysitting, or your car dies on some remote part of the interstate and your only recourse is to make a phone call from that creepy gas station around the bend.

The “Final Girl” is a horror movie trope that relies on several predisposing characteristics for the last woman left standing. It’s typical of slasher films, and you’re probably familiar with several figures who typify the type: they’re a resilient bunch. When everyone else is getting hacked off around them, they’re ultimately the one person who emerges, bloodied but alive. Usually they vanquish the killer, unless, of course, there are a series of sequels planned for the franchise. (Should you find yourself in this situation, standing above the fallen body of your attacker, I would highly recommend any of the following to ensure they’re really dead: multiple head shots, decapitation, immolation, total dismemberment, acid bath. Please use safety glasses for the latter.)

Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween

Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween

Heather Langenkamp in Nightmare on Elm Street

Heather Langenkamp in Nightmare on Elm Street

Dana Kimmel in Friday the 13th

Dana Kimmel in Friday the 13th

Neve Campbell in Scream

Neve Campbell in Scream

Kristen Connolly in Cabin in the Woods

Kristen Connolly in Cabin in the Woods

The Horror Movie Survival Guide: The Rules

1) Absolutely No Nookie

No Nookie

Do not have sex. Final girls are typically virginal or unavailable, and they definitely don’t indulge in anything that might distract them from getting the hell out of dodge. While the screenwriters might be puritanical prudes, purity wins out every time. The innocent get spared. Carnal knowledge? You’re a smear of gore.

2) Don’t do anything illegal

The Bong Bat

Don’t drink, do drugs, or attempt anything that might break behavioural norms. We can assume that while the horror movies of the seventies were intended as guides for “good” teenage conduct, this moralizing slap to your fun should be a good indicator that people who step out of line get the machete to the neck.

3) Don’t be curious.

Lament Configuration

Basements, attics, creepy puzzle boxes, books bound in human skin: all no-nos. Do not open the closet door. Do not lean in to a darkened room to investigate a sound. You know what? Don’t do anything except walk straight out the front door. Granted, safety is not guaranteed and your neighbours might already be dead when you visit them to call the cops, but anything is better than running upstairs in a blind panic and locking yourself into a closet or bathroom.

4) Stay Dirty

The Grudge

Which brings be to my next point: don’t bathe. No showers. No baths. Bubbles? Even worse. You’re not going to wash away your problems, and believe me, if you’re already dirty you’re better off staying that way. If blood starts running out of the faucet or your image in the mirror stays put when you look away, please exit the room, exit the house, and call a priest.

5) Beware Curious and Irregular Accessories


Beware of strangers bearing chainsaws, hacksaws, machetes, crowbars, hedge trimmers, lawn mowers, hooks, chains, pogo sticks, umbrellas, curling irons, butcher knives, cleavers, staple guns, quirky hats, or anyone riding a tricycle.

6) Avoid small towns.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Especially those in Maine.

Bonus: When in doubt, bring a friend. Just be sure you can run faster than them.

Some Suggested phrases to avoid:


“Who’s there?”

“What was that noise?”

“I’ll be right back.”

No, no you won’t.


  • Faith McKay
    July 12, 2014

    LOL “No, no you won’t.” Whenever someone says “I’ll be right back” I always say “Nice knowing yea!”

    I thought “Don’t do anything illegal” was funny because you used that picture of him, and, umm, spoilers? spoilers! (*spoilers live here* he survived *end of spoilers*) But I suppose he’s a him, so he has that privilege. Wasn’t that bong the best thing ever?

    • Kira Butler
      Faith McKay
      July 12, 2014

      ACTUALLY I always interpreted that final scene with the hand of the Great Old One as a smashy smashy they both died.

      Dunno, though. Should read the wiki. :/

      • Faith McKay
        Kira Butler
        July 15, 2014

        Oh. Right. I’m sure they did die then, it was the apocalypse, I’m sure. I just always think that if they don’t die on screen, they’re not REALLY dead. haha.

  • krystal jane
    July 12, 2014

    Unless you’re Gail Weathers…then you’re fierce walk and outfits will save you…prepare to get shot at and stabbed though. O_o

    This is hilarious. I love saying, “I’ll be right back…” Perhaps as long as I abide by the list I’ll be safe? ^_^ Or I can just stop saying it. Lol!

    • Kira Butler
      krystal jane
      July 13, 2014

      I really need to rewatch all four Scream films. It seems like that sorta Sunday.

      I think the best thing anyone can do is retrain themselves to say “Let’s blow this popsicle stand,” instead. 😉

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