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The final girl theory

Related: horror films - damsel in distress


Final Girl is a horror film conceit that specifically refers to the last person alive to confront the killer, ostensibly the one left to tell the story. The concept has been used in dozens of films, including Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.

The final girl is typically virginal and pure, avoiding the vices of the victims (pot smoking etc). She often has an androgynous name (e.g. Teddy, Billie, Georgie, Sydney) and usually has a shared history with the killer.

The phenomenon of the male audience having to identify with a young female character in an ostensibly male-oriented genre, usually associated with sadistic voyeurism, raises interesting questions about the nature of slasher films and their relationship with feminism.

The term was coined by Carol J. Clover in her book Men, Women and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Girl [Jul 2005]

In literary terms, a conceit is a device used in order to make a story more accessible to the audience. A simple example of this is the film Speed. In Speed, Sandra Bullock's character is a workaholic that cannot slow her life down. She is also stuck on a bus that she can not slow down (or it will explode). Since the audience, obviously, has never been in such a bus, the film-goers cannot directly sympathize with the protagonist (Bullock's character). The conceit, however, enables the audience to do so because most people have had a job, friend, lover or hobby that he or she has become obsessive or otherwise spent too much time on. As the audience has struggled with a too-fast life, so can they sympathize with a character stuck on a too-fast bus. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceit [Jul 2005]

see also: horror film - film - trope - paracinema - slasher film

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