FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Mar 4, 2009

the sads

My AMC column this week is all about characters in horror movies that I actually care for- those who, when they die, make me bust out a little "Aww". It's sort of a modified version of what the Mighty Arbogast started with his "The one you might have saved" blog-a-thon-ish-meme thing. I wouldn't necessarily save these characters- not like good ol' Barbra- but their deaths give me the sads. Check out my little list at AMC, which includes the likes of Eleanor Lance from The Haunting.

Actually, that photo should look like this:

I mean, I like Eleanor, but Theo's where it's at, baby!

Anyway, here are a few more characters I would have added to my list but didn't for various reasons:

- Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen), Candyman
- Alice (Adrienne King), Friday the 13th Part 2
- Brenda (Laurie Bartram), Friday the 13th
- Bubba (Larry Drake), Dark Night of the Scarecrow
- Harry & Becky (Ted Danson & Gaylen Ross), Creepshow
- Ruth Mayer (Susan Hogan), The Brood
- Madame Mabel (Particia Hamilton), My Bloody Valentine
- Beth (Alex Reid), The Descent
- Barb (Margot Kidder), Black Christmas
- Fran (Heidi Martinuzzi), Ex

And you?


Wings1295 said...

Well, some of your's are good.

I would also save Rachel from "Halloween Part 5". She should have lived, I tell you!

SikeChick said...

Oh, Brenda from the original F13 is a good one. I would add Pt. 3's Vera to that list.

I said this over on Facebook, but I'll repeat it again here. Until pt. 6 of the series, I never really wanted any of the characters in the F13s to die. Some were irritating, but not to the point where I was yelling, "Kill him!" at the screen. I can't say I was a restrained with the new remakening.

Lately, it seems most horror films are stocked with characters with the most annoying traits. It's almost as if current (U.S.) filmmakers don't want to challenge us by killing off "undeserving" victims. The characters are almost entirely unlikeable, so when they die we don't give a rat's ass. (Giving credit where it is due, the remakening of F13 did throw me off as to who our Final Girl would be.)

For example, if they remade F13 Pt. 3 today, instead of letting Shelly down gently (despite his being a complete idiot and asshole), Vera would have been a total cruel bitch to him and viewers would be expected to want that snotty bitch to get what's coming to her.

I believe filmmakers today are more concerned with creating new icons, in the vain of Jason and Freddy, that fans will be able to cheer on in all the potential sequels that dance in their heads.

Verdant Earl said...

It was inevitable, but I always felt like poor Sally got a raw deal in "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark". Poor Kim Darby turned into a little demon thingie.

Just like Eleanor in "The Haunting", she never had a chance.

threeattic said...

You did ask, so I made a list. (I have a tendency to get overattached.)

-A Nightmare on Elm Street -- Glen (it's wee Johnny Depp, how could you not?)
-Evil Dead II -- Annie (on the commentary track, the guys keep pointing out how she's kind of the hero of the movie)
-Near Dark -- Well, hell, everybody except the ones who live. The Hooker "family" is just so much more lovable and alive than the relentlessly bland veterinarian family.
-House of 1000 Corpses -- Jerry (I know, most people find the "kids" intolerable, and the other three are, but I've always felt a certain kinship with dorky, serial-killer-obsessed Jerry)
-Shaun of the Dead -- David (it's always made me sad that Edgar Wright decided to take out the scene where David redeems himself; plus, Dylan Moran is lovely and brilliant)
-Freddy's Dead -- Spencer (I know, I know... Breckin Meyer had a profound effect on me at a formative time, what can I say)
-Alien 3 -- Hicks and Newt. I felt the same way about Alien 3 that you did about Halloween: Resurrection, I think. Just... how dare they. (I was going to mention Aliens as well, where I get sad about everybody. Seriously, everybody. Except Burke, obviously. But it's not really a horror movie at all.)

Anonymous said...

J.C. from "Night of the Creeps." I guess you're going to judge me, though, because I liked it when the house mother got it.

Margarita said...

Love it, I so agree about Beth. She was my fav. :(

By the way I finally got my act together and wrote my review for Friday the 13th!

Anonymous said...

Can I be completely obvious and say Marion (Janet Leigh) from "Psycho"?

No? OK, how about Barb (Margot Kidder) from "Black Christmas".

The Igloo Keeper said...

Paris Hilton in House of Wax.

Anonymous said...

Urgh... how lame am I? Please don't answer that. You already said Barb for "Black Christmas". Your list must have registered subliminally… OK, Marion's out: too obvious. Barb's out: you already said it.

WARNING: "Funny Games" and "Last House On The Left" spoilers dead ahead…

I'm tempted to say Ann (Naomi Watts) from "Funny Games". But, then again, if she’d survived I don’t think the film would have had quite the same impact.

I really wish I'd got to know the Nanny from "The Omen" a little better before she plummeted to her death. She seemed nice, you know, the way her hair flowed and all.

I need to stop posturing and save someone… anyone… OK, I’ll save Mari (Sandra Cassel) from "Last House on the Left". Poor girl: over-acting parents, premature death… how sad.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes. All great and sad deaths.

I'd add:

Marcie - Friday the 13th
Sara - F13 - Final Chapter
Violet - F13 V

No, not all are F13!

The red-headed girl in Creepshow 2's "The Raft" segment.
All of the females in "Inferno", save for the old bat from Suspiria. Ha!!!
The Father in Alice, Sweet Alice
Doggone Doggie in Madhouse '81 - Well, who am I kidding? Drill evil puppy, drill!

He deserved it. :(

Anonymous said...

The sniper guy (Jeremy Renner) from 28 Weeks Later. Mostly because I thought he was hot but also because he knew he was going to bite it and was nice enough to pretend he wasn't. And it was a nasty way to go.

Anonymous said...

Lol video game movie, but - Kaplan from "Resident Evil". The actor gave a good performance as a nervous fellow who found some real bravery, and then he got to be the throwaway death for the Licker at the end. I admire the movie for its mercilessness, but still.

EFC said...

I also got the sads when I saw Mabel in My Bloody Valentine go, so my second choice would have to be Marge from Jaws 2.

It's not like her character made that much of an impression in the flick, like Mabel or Barb in Black Christmas, but the fact that she put herself in harm's way to save Sean Brody and was rewarded for her heroic effort by getting NOM NOM NOM'd that was kind of a bummer.

Craig Blamer said...

I never got around to doing a "The One You Might Have Saved", but if I did it would have been Paula from 976-EVIL 2 (the horror film-lovin' brunette). Now, her death scene was a showstopper (It's a Wonderful Life meets Night of the Living Dead), but damn... she shoulda been the Final Girl, not that frou-frou blonde with the bad 80s hair. Why do they always (well, almost always) seem to pick the least interesting characters to be Final Girl?

Other "Awwwws"...

PJ Soles in any horror film (yes, even Carrie)

Frankenstein in The Monster Squad

The Sheriff and Waitress in the remake of The Blob

Tat Girl in Feast 3

Clorissa in The Convent

Ollie in The Mist

√Āngela in [REC]

The redhead in Humongous

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you on Eleanor (and Theo, come to that).
I'll add one I might be alone on: Colonel Hart in Ravenous. He just tries so hard to remain civilized as it gradually becomes impossible to do so.

Also: The three major deaths in The Hunger all go to me, even as my irritation with the writers grew.

spazmo said...

Man, these are all good choices. There was a really nice old lady in "Arachnophobia" (she threw that garden party), and she made a point of sending some business Jeff Daniels' way. Then she got fatally bitten.

Arachnophobia isn't really a horror movie, though. But this brings up an idea I had the other night while watching "Star Trek: First Contact". The Borg were always sorta creepy, but for a family film, I think they were almost too scary here. Way scarier than your average horror-film zombie, in fact.

So Stacie, for an upcoming post or AMC column, why not make a list of 'most terrifying scenes in non-horror films'?

Anonymous said...

Lorna (Heather "Welcome To The Dollhouse" Matarazzo) from Hostel 2.
Insecure and awkward in a strange country, she finally gets a small boost to her ego when some dude seems to be into her, only to kidnap her and string her up naked and upside down so that some lady can live out a Bathory-inspired torture/murder fantasy.
Lorna cries for her "mommy" throughout. Ouch. An effectively brutal downer.

Anonymous said...

How about Ellen Ripley in "Alien 3?" A bad movie, I know...but the character just wanted to make it home safe. Anything that could get in her way did.

(Yes, I'm disregarding her clone making it to Earth in "Alien: Resurrection." That doesn't count.)

Anonymous said...

Hollis from MBV makes me way more sad than Mabel, as he is also the "one I would save" from your topic way back. His character was so realistic & likable, plus he thought of others even in his brutal death.
Nails sticking OUT OF HIS HEAD & he hangs on long enough to walk back to "warn" his friends. What a guy! Even more so now that the scene is extended. I always wonder what the killer thinks after the initial nail-gun-ening, as Hollis walks away . . .
"Damn, that was a bit harsh of me. He's still walking after that . . . wow . . . I'll let him get a head start. Seems only fair, nails in the head and still won't go down . . . sheesh! I was a little overzealous with this nail gun, too. They never let me use it when we work down here so I wanted to give it a try, maybe they were right. I am not good with this. Pickaxe, I'm you're guy, but all those nails and he's still mobile. Why do we even have a nailgun down here anyway . . . oh, okay, he's out the door. Wow, this has been a weird day."

And scene.

Jason Adams said...

Oh Barb.

And of course I have to be me and give love to wheelchair-bound Mark from Ft13 Part 2. Dude just wanted to get laid! Then wham. Ugh. Tom McBride forever!!!

The Igloo Keeper said...


Anonymous said...

My least favorite horror movie death, by far, is Peters in Event Horizon. First of all, Kathleen Quinlan rocks. Beyond that, she was easily the most intelligent crew member. The way she dies is just so cheap. She's way too smart to fall for that shit!

There are a lot of things that make no sense in Event Horizon, but that's the one that really makes my blood boil.

Arbogast said...

I was really rooting for Jesus Christ to make it through The Passion of the Christ and they just kept torturing him to the point where I thought, "Oh, he just has to live now!" But he doesn't. He dies. I always wondered what could have become of that character had they done more with him.

Anonymous said...

amen to that, arbogast.

although not a major character, i'd save that blind piano player from suspiria. he gets killed by his own seeing eye dog. that's just mean. but then again, what do you expect from witches?

Sadako said...

The Nanny *did* seem nice in The Omen.

So did the girl who plummeted to her death in Rosemary's Baby. Anna, something or other.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

mm, Theo. sends me back to middle school. Ben in Night of the Living Dead gives me the sads. As does Andrea Martin in Black Xmas (obvi the 2006 version - check out the awesome "X"). actually, her death just made me ANGRY. i mean, a fucking icicle? what the hell?

Jay Clarke said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention Marcia from The Initiation, Stacie.

Anonymous said...


Theron said...

Theo makes me feel funny in my swimsuit area.

Missy Y. (formerly A Case of You) said...

oh, i would have saved bard. i miss barb the moment she is gone. "you're a real gold-plated whore, mother."

i think i might also have saved Arlene in Death Proof. I liked her a little too much.

Anonymous said...

Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) - Carrie
Mrs. Mac (Marian Waldman) - Black Christmas
Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) - Psycho
Lynne Wood (Dee Wallace) - The Hills Have Eyes
Mari Collingwood (Sandra Cassell) - The Last House on the Left
Mabel Osborne (Patricia Hamilton) - My Bloody Valentine
Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) - The Fly

MaryKate said...

Still get a little bummed to see Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) die in Scream 2. I can't bring myself to care about anything JK does nowadays, but poor lovestruck Randy.

Anonymous said...

Tatum from "Scream". She was an awesome character and loved her Smart-ass dialogue. She was kicking the killers ass then she went retarded and tried to fit her fat ass through the doggy door. Ultimate idiot move on her part. I'm sure she could've taken old Billy if she continued whooping his as in the garage.