The Final Girls From The Friday The 13th Franchise, Ranked

Slash Film

When you think slashers, your mind immediately goes to the Final Girl. While the term wasn’t coined until 1992, it was a prevalent trope throughout the ’70s and ’80s, namely through such works as “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (Sally Hardesty), “Black Christmas” (Jess Bradford), and “Halloween” (Laurie Strode). These trendsetting heroines cemented the idea that women could be the heroes of their own stories. In many cases, the Final Girl just happened to be the last woman standing through sheer luck; in others, they slashed their way to triumph all on their own. One of the franchises most known for its many Final Girls is “Friday the 13th,” which dominated the 1980s and showcased some of the slasher genre‘s most iconic protagonists.

Throughout its run 一 from the 1980 original to the 2009 remake 一 the series’ Final Girls have run the gamut. Some are tough-as-nails warriors from the get-go, while others eventually rise unvanquished through their trauma. And still others just happen to live due to circumstance and nothing else. No matter how you slice it, the franchise has served up truly iconic Final Girls. Below, we’ve taken the liberty of revisiting the franchise and ranked each heroine based on resourcefulness, intuitiveness, gutsiness, and sheer will to survive. It was no easy task. So, sit back, relax, and let’s see where they land. Oh, and we’ve not included “Jason X” and “Freddy vs. Jason” because the former doesn’t feature a Final Girl and the latter is more of a Freddy-fest.  

10. Pam (Friday The 13th: A New Beginning)

Pam (Melanie Kinnaman) is this list’s most useless Final Girl. Let me explain. A counselor at Pinehurst Youth Development Center, Pam helps troubled youths adapt and transition back into society. She has a warm demeanor and always approaches her work with heart. When Tommy (John Shepherd) arrives, she greets him with calm and understanding. She’s quick on her feet and caring. So, it’s unfortunate to see that she doesn’t display such intuitiveness and level-headedness when “Jason” (Tom Morga) inevitably shows up and starts bumping off the other residents.

She screams and falls down — a lot. With a thunderstorm raging, Pam dashes around like a pinball trying to evade “Jason” and commits a few cardinal sins. First, she almost never finds a weapon when entering a room. Second, she’s always going back inside the house when she should be running down the road. There are others, but you get the picture. She’s the archetype of characters who die first; it’s all the more confusing how she lasts so long. Of course, her survival lies squarely with Reggie “The Reckless” (Shavar Ross), who proves far more adept and resourceful. For example, when Pam falls for the 100th time, he hops onto a bulldozer and runs “Jason” over.

Pam makes one heroic attempt. In the barn, she grabs a chainsaw, revs it up, and stabs “Jason” once in the shoulder before it craps out. A valiant effort but still not enough to warrant a higher ranking here. Her lung power is truly impressive, perhaps even besting this list’s titans, but her inability to react appropriately is completely disappointing.

9. Rennie (Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan)

A group of high school students celebrates graduation by hopping aboard the Lazarus and going on a cruise to Manhattan. Jensen Daggett plays Rennie, an aquaphobe who only agrees to the cruise to confront childhood trauma. Her uncle Charles (Peter Mark Richman) is her legal guardian — and a curmudgeon. Two things secure Rennie’s low placement here: she’s uninteresting and does little to combat Jason (Kane Hodder) in the third act.

To no one’s surprise, Jason manages to sneak aboard the cruise liner and stealthily wander its halls, slicing ‘n dicing his way through folks. As the ship draws closer to the city, the group dwindles to only a handful, including Rennie’s classmate Sean (Scott Reeves). Once docked, they contend with much more than just Jason, as a trio of miscreants take Rennie hostage and attempt to sexually assault her. Jason appears in the knick of time and slaughters the loathsome criminals, which gives Rennie a chance to escape. Much like Pam, she’s not intuitive or resourceful. She runs, and that’s about it. She does get a good licking on Jason when she tosses a vat of acid on his face, which melts like a votive candle.

Rennie possesses the homey charm we’ve come to expect from a Final Girl. Too bad she has neither gumption nor wherewithal to survive. Pure luck lets her survive; Jason ultimately dies when the sewer floods with toxic waste and he drowns.

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8. Whitney (2009 Remake)

In the 2009 remake, Whitney (Amanda Righetti) makes a surprising bid as the Final Girl. When she and several friends go camping, not far from Crystal Lake, they get a visit from the man himself. Jason grinds his way through their bodies and even sets one of them on fire in a sleeping bag. Whitney stumbles upon a gruesome sight, and it’s heavily implied she gets ripped apart by Jason’s machete.

Six weeks later, we discover she has been held hostage far below the surface in a bunker. A series of underground tunnels connect across the breadth of the camp, allowing Jason to sneak up through the ground. Whitney’s brother Clay (Jared Padalecki) comes searching for her after she fails to attend their mother’s funeral. Together, they go head-to-head against evil itself, and each gets in their share of jabs. To distract Jason, Whitney pulls a Ginny (Amy Steel) and uses an old locket to convince him to stop killing. It’s enough for Clay to get the drop on him, and he slides a chain over his head. Jason is then yanked back into a piece of farm equipment, and Whitney buries the machete squarely in his chest, forcing his head back into the twirling blades.

Whitney comes out fighting when she needs to, even if there are really only a few triumphant moments. What matters most is that Jason is deader than dead 一 or is he?

7. Jessica (Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday)

“Jason Goes to Hell” means many things to different people. For some, it’s one of the best installments, thanks to its willingness to swing for the fences, while others sorely miss the usual machete-wielding maniac. Either way, Jessica (Kari Keegan) emerges as a not-so-bad Final Girl. Look, she’s certainly no Ginny or Tina or even Trish, yet she does possess a fight deep inside. After Diana (Erin Gray), her mother and Jason’s half-sister, gets killed, Jessica and her baby become the last living relatives. Jason must be reborn and plans to transfer the wormy demon that keeps him immortal into a Voorhees woman.

Jessica takes plenty of convincing. She doesn’t believe Steven (John LeMay) and his story about how Jason can still kill. Bounty hunter Creighton Duke (Steven Williams) also does a bit of persuading and slips her a note about coming to the old Voorhees home, where he gives her an ancient dagger with which she must slay Jason. She doesn’t necessarily possess a fighter’s instinct, though. That said, when push comes to shove, she can get the job done well enough.

In the climactic final battle, Jessica leaps through the air and shoves the dagger into Jason’s heart. Sparks fly from the wound. With a “finish him” move straight out of “Mortal Kombat,” she kicks the dagger the rest of the way through his chest. if she could have shown such Xena energy sooner, she would have ranked much higher.

6. Trish (Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter)

Trish (Kimberly Beck) is the girl-next-door type. She’s a bookworm and more level-headed than most. She might not be as instinctual as those ranking higher here, yet there’s a real will to survive. She’s a good judge of character, too, as we see when a man named Rob (E. Erich Anderson) helps fix her car and she invites him back to her family’s secluded home. Upon hearing Rob’s spiel about Jason still being alive, Trish is quick to believe him. Typically, in such circumstances, it takes a frustrating amount of time for characters to accept what others are saying. Trish is not like most.

However, Trish isn’t necessarily as heroic as other Final Girls when under pressure. After Jason dispatches the kids from the next house over, he pays an unwelcome visit. Trish attempts to distract Jason from killing Tommy (Corey Feldman) by jumping out of a second-story window. Of course, Tommy doesn’t actually run away, and he instead chops off his hair as a way to manipulate Jason. Once back inside, Trish mangles Jason’s hand with the machete.

But it’s not Trish who delivers the final blow. That honor goes to Tommy. With his head shaved, he attempts to convince Jason they’re one and the same. He’s basically the male version of Ginny. All things considered, Tommy and Trish make quite the 1-2 sucker-punch duo.

5. Chris (Friday The 13th Part III)

If you said Chris (Dana Kimmel) would earn her Final Girl stripes, I wouldn’t have believed you. She’s not particularly likable, and perhaps that’s owed largely to the fact we’ve never seen her before. She apparently faced off against Jason prior to the film’s events, which we see in weird flashbacks, so there’s a clear emotional disconnect between her and the audience. The premise is simple: she and her friends head back to the cabin where her trauma took place. More than anything, she hopes to finally put her demons to rest and move on with her life.

It’s been two years since Jason nearly killed her, and those mental wounds are still fresh. Her pain fuels her desire to survive, and she kicks total butt in the finale. She not only throws a shelf full of books onto Jason’s head but stabs him with a knife, jumps down on his head from the barn’s rafters, hangs him with rope from the loft, and finally, victoriously, shoves an ax through his mask into his brain. As we all know, Jason doesn’t stay dead, but Chris kills him for now. You never quite expect Chris to be such a warrior when we first meet her. But she pulls out all the stops, proving to be resourceful and unwilling to go down without a fight. A top-five finish feels appropriate.

4. Alice (Friday The 13th)

As the original Final Girl, Alice (Adrienne King) easily ranks high on this list. In “Friday the 13th,” Alice goes against the typical virginal type. In fact, she’s having a fling with Steve Christy (Peter Brouwer), the guy in charge of reopening Camp Crystal Lake. It’s out of the norm, but that’s what makes her even more relatable.

There are moments that are questionable, though. For example, when she and Bill (Harry Crosby) notice everyone else is missing, she brews some tea and takes a nap instead of remaining vigilant and alert to her surroundings. No matter, she eventually rises to the occasion and goes head-to-head with Pamela Voorhees (Besty Palmer) in one of the best fights in the franchise. The choreography is a bit clumsy, often silly, but that’s the point. They’re just normal people duking it out. From brandishing a fire poker over Pamela’s back to butting her head with the end of a rifle, Alice uses whatever is handy to ward off her enemy.

Her winning moment happens just minutes later. Upon running out to the lake, she battles Pamela one last time. When you think Pamela might actually kill her, Alice swipes the machete and slices its rusty, dull blade into Pamela’s neck, completely severing the flesh and bone. Pamela topples to the ground. Alice might be a little meek and mild, but give her a weapon and she’ll do her best to take evil down.

3. Megan (Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives)

Megan (Jennifer Cooke) embodies fearlessness and fierce independence. In one of her earliest scenes, she mocks her father’s parenting, proof she’s not about to take any guff from a man, not even her own dad. Much like Trish, she immediately believes Tommy (Thom Matthews) and even offers to help him. Once Tommy has been arrested, she cooks up an escape plan by luring an officer over to the jail cell and stealing his gun. She threatens him until he sets Tommy loose, and the two bolt out of there and head back to camp.

Megan and Tommy complement one another. When Tommy rows out into the middle of the lake, things inevitably hit the fan. His plan to wrap a noose-like chain around Jason’s head, thus forcing him to the bottom of the lake, gets intercepted when Jason instead pops out of the water and drags Tommy below the surface. Megan then comes to the rescue. Tommy breaks free from Jason’s grasp but he’s now unconscious. Megan, who nearly gets sucked under herself by Jason, uses the boat’s outboard motor to make mince meat out of Jason’s brains. It’s bloody and gruesome, the final nail in the coffin. Jason is finally at rest 一 for the time being.

As much of a fan I am of Tommy, it would have been interesting to see Megan go up against Jason herself. Something tells me she would have been just fine on her own.

2. Tina (Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood)

Possessing telekinetic powers, Tina (Lar Park Lincoln) is an appropriate foil to Jason. “The New Blood” veers away from the Tommy Jarvis storyline in favor of something wildly different. While one could debate the quality of the film, Tina undeniably rates as a top-tier Final Girl. She’s fueled by emotion; anger, specifically, ignites her abilities. Years after her father’s death, Tina struggles to cope with her guilt.

When her mother (Susan Blu) and Dr. Crews (Terry Kiser) determine that facing the trauma is the only way to recover, Tina heads out to a remote, lakeside home for treatment. Dr. Crews has ill intent, though, and desires to control her powers instead of actually helping her through her pain. While out by the lake one evening, Tina feels the presence of someone deep below the lake’s surface and mistakes Jason for her dead father. She unwittingly resurrects Jason, which kicks off another string of murders. Jason seems to have the upper hand, but he doesn’t know what hits him next. Tina electrocutes him, drops a roof on his shoulders, and hangs him with a light fixture cord.

Jason eventually dies in a house explosion and is later yanked into the lake. When Tina realizes it is literally life or death, she has no reservations about harnessing her powers to defeat evil in a hockey mask. If it weren’t for the quick-witted Ginny, she would top this list.

1. Ginny (Friday The 13th Part II)

Ginny (Amy Steel) is the gold standard by which all other Final Girls are judged. She’s smart and resourceful. A child psychology major, she wonders about Pamela’s sociopathy in avenging her son’s supposed death and if there’s a real Jason lurking in the woods. She explains to her boyfriend Paul (John Furey) her belief that, if Jason is actually alive, he might be “a child trapped in a man’s body.” Her studies serve her well, coming back around during a crucial third-act scene.

The film is largely paint-by-the-numbers. Jason inevitably pops up and kills off the counselors. But many of the kills 一 including the wheelchair scene 一 are among the franchise’s best. The standout scene comes when Ginny stumbles across Jason’s shack in the woods. Discovering a shrine to his dead mother, she slips on Pamela’s dirty, moth-eaten sweater and pretends to be her. “You’ve done your job well and mommy is pleased,” she says in a soft-intoned voice. Jason stops in his tracks and tilts his head. Her plan seems to be working — until Jason gets a peek at his mother’s maggoty head and snaps out of his trance. In their scuffle, Ginny slashes the machete directly into Jason’s shoulder, incapacitating him.

Ginny never hesitates. She never second-guesses herself. She thinks on her feet and grabs whatever tool she can to protect herself. She survives not out of circumstance or dumb luck. Too bad the franchise quickly ditched her instead of making her a staple.

Read this next: Horror Movies That Even Horror Fans Could Hardly Finish

The post The Final Girls From The Friday the 13th Franchise, Ranked appeared first on /Film.

/Film – The Final Girls From The Friday The 13th Franchise, Ranked
Author: Bee Delores
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March 18, 2023

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