There's a celebration going on in February that doesn't require you to sell your soul to the Hallmark gods in order to prove your worth. Flowers and candy only last a little while, but women in the horror genre have been around forever. Artist and writer Hannah Neurotica is a Jill of all trades, but her most recent claim to fame is the introduction of February as Women in Horror Month. This is the second year that people across the globe are celebrating the feminine in fear -- recognizing the work of scream queens, directors, writers, effects artists and everyone in between.
Please visit Hannah's website to find out about how you can help raise awareness and shed light on a genre that is progressively changing. She's listing all the events taking place on the interwebs and in your area all month long.
After the jump, celebrate Women in Horror Month with us by checking out a list of our favorite final girls (in no particular order). Feel free to share your picks in the comments section. In many ways the final girl is the ultimate symbol of a strong woman, because no matter what the killer tries to do, she refuses to be broken. Some of the most unlikely characters end up as final girls after going through a transformation and confronting their fears. Others you can spot a mile away -- particularly if she's the girl avoiding drinking, drugs and sex (a fast way to send yourself to the chopping block). No matter how you slice it, the final girl is who you want on your side when faced with the knife-wielding weirdo. She reigns supreme.
Laurie Strode in 'Halloween'
Jamie Lee Curtis plays the bookishly nerdy Laurie Strode in John Carpenter's classic slasher film, 'Halloween.' Carpenter's movie -- about a disturbed man child who sets off on a killing spree in the small town of Haddonfield -- is credited for being the first film in the subgenre to popularize the stalk and slice movies. Laurie typifies what many people think of when they imagine a final girl. She's quiet, responsible, and totally on top of her game when Michael Myers (her brother) starts to violently tear his way through her friends to get to her. Family bonding at its best!
Nancy Thompson in 'A Nightmare on Elm Street'
The coolest part about Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) is that she doesn't wait for the killer to find her before she fights -- she instead brings the fight to him. She proves to be child murderer Freddy Krueger's strongest opponent when she figures out how the pizza-faced monster is attacking teens in their dreams. Even though her best friend is slaughtered and her hottie boyfriend gets sucked into a bloody bed, she manages to keep it together enough to devise a plan. Nancy learns the art of booby trapping in order to pull Freddy out of her dream world and into reality, killing him.
Jess Bradford in 'Black Christmas'
Bob Clark's 'Black Christmas' was carving a path for the slasher genre before Carpenter's 'Halloween,' and the film's final girl, Jess Bradford (Olivia Hussey), expertly navigates her way through the atmospheric chiller. When obscene and threatening phone calls to a sorority house spook the girls who are stuck there for Christmas, people start turning up dead. Jess takes matters into her own hands despite facing the inefficiency of police work, the difficulty of an abortion, a faceless killer and a psycho boyfriend. Merry Christmas!
Sally Hardesty in 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre'
Sally's (Marilyn Burns) road trip didn't exactly turn out perfectly. Instead of having a peaceful reunion with the family homestead as planned, she has to deal with her whiny brother -- the dreaded Franklin (Paul A. Partain). On top of that, she has a run-in with a self-mutilating hitchhiker, her friend meets a terrible fate on a meat hook and she has to endure a dull beating in the head by the near-mummified grandfather (John Dugan) in a family of lunatics. Even though she's not much of a fighter, she possesses the will to survive ... and she can run like hell.
Nami Tsuchiya in 'Evil Dead Trap'
Nami (Miyuki Ono) is the host of a late night TV show who receives a gory snuff flick in the mail. The violent video prompts her to take a crew to investigate its origins at an abandoned military base. Some might call this naive, but I call it ballsy. Nami proves to be just that when she figures out the location of the murder by the video's visual clues, and uncovers the killer who is systematically picking off her team in the most gruesome of ways.
Ginny Field in 'Friday the 13th Part 2'
Ginny (Amy Steel) wasn't afraid to go head-to-head with a psycho, when she used her brains and a machete to beat the Crystal Lake killer, Jason Voorhees. She's also an atypical final girl, because she actually gets to survive after having sex and drinking a six-pack. It's her quick thinking, though, that's most impressive. She uses her understanding of Jason's twisted psyche to trick him into believing she's his mother and eventually defeats him.
Jennifer Corvino in 'Phenomena'
Jennifer Connelly's character in Dario Argento's 'Phenomena' might be a young girl, but she proves that age is just a number when she gets all 'Lord of the Flies' on the creepy Patua (Davide Marotta) who tries to snuff her out. Don't let the Swiss boarding school fool you into thinking Jennifer's a rich brat. She has crazy mind powers and works with the awesome Donald Pleasence to solve a series of murders.
Ellen Ripley in 'Alien'
No, Ridley Scott's 'Alien' doesn't take place in a sorority house or the woods, but it has a slasher film heart, and Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is one of the most compelling final girls in horror film history. Her clear-minded intelligence and sexual/gender neutrality make her the quintessential final girl, but she's such a badass that she doesn't follow all of the usual conventions. Ripley starts out unassuming, but eventually establishes herself as the tough, resourceful, commanding hero.
Kirsty Cotton in 'Hellraiser'
Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) has a creepy uncle and an even creepier father, but she doesn't let them -- or her icy stepmother -- get her down. She's fiercely independent, living in her own apartment and working at a pet store when she's not getting cozy with her boyfriend. When the Cenobites from hell roll into town, she's smart enough to make a deal with them that saves her soul from being torn apart -- dishing up Uncle Frank instead.
Sidney Prescott in 'Scream'
The role of the final girl and the slasher film was revitalized and reimagined in Wes Craven's 1996 film 'Scream.' Craven toys with slasher film conventions, adding self-referential irony and humor into the mix -- subverting our expectations of the subgenre. Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) became the face of a new generation of final girls when she not only fought against the backlash surrounding her mother's past, but also her attack by a masked killer(s). She's increasingly established herself as a strong final girl throughout the 'Scream' franchise.