Look, if you’re really looking towards full Hallowe’en horror, I don’t need to be the one to tell you to fire up “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th,” or “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” (And if I do, please stop what you’re doing and marathon those real quick and then come on back.)
Since I expect you’ve already watched (and loved) those franchises in their entirety, I bring you the camp horror comedy that plays to my all time favourite trope, The Final Girls.
Carpenter’s original “Halloween,” is a horror ‘mother movie’ ™ that sparked an onslaught of horror franchises and the meta/camp ones that followed. (re: Scream). On purpose or not, it created the trope of the final girl; the, often ‘virginal,’ girl who outlasts everyone and comes up against the slashing killer in one climactic stand off.
The Final Girls uses this trope, among others, to give us a comedic camp horror film filled to the brim with heart.
Max loses her mom, Amanda, at a young age. Amanda is famous for playing a cult classic scream queen named Nancy. (Nancy. Guys.). Every year, the local theater screens the cult classic, and Max struggles with it and the memory of her mother.
While in attendance at the screening, Max and her friends somehow end up in the move (read: Last Action Hero), surrounded by your horror movie tropes, and the final girl, Nancy. Max and her friends have to team up with the characters to defeat the weapon wielding slasher and end the film.
While it spreads across much of the genre, this film feels the most like Friday the 13th complete with a Jason style killer. It let’s the characters take back their tropes as a means of surviving to the end of the film. The slutty chick who gets killed whilst being slutty? Taken back by Angela Trimbur, who, upon learning of her part, gives an amazing performance in the way of a sacrificial sexy strip tease to lure the killer to the campers. (Her dance is unbelievable, and arguably feminist in her taking back her sexuality as a means of tackling the killer, over a character being reduced to an over-sexualized victim).
The Final Girls is a fun romp for all horror fans, is heartbreaking, is moving, is cute, is hilarious, and is kinda scary. No doubt the medicine for the genre fan who’s seen it all.
Great if you liked: Friday the 13th, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Guest, Green Room, Grindhouse, Last Action Hero