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 25, 2014

props

Quick, name a Final Girl!

Who came to mind? Laurie Strode, I bet. Nancy Thompson. Sally Hardesty? Maybe Sidney Prescott. Ginny Field, I hope...or perhaps you simply blurted out "This blog!" I'm willing to bet, however, that you didn't name Chris Higgins, the Final Girl from Friday the 13th Part 3D, did you. DID YOU. DIIIIIID YOOOOOU. Well, friends, I think we need to change that. It's time to give Chris Higgins her props!


I realize it's too much to hope that Chris is added to the FG pantheon; there's something about her character that's oddly unlikable for a "heroine", isn't there? I'm not sure if that's owed to Dana Kimmell's performance or if Chris is underwritten (boy, that would be so shocking in a slasher movie), charmless, and cold or what- not that a character has to be charming and/or warm for me to root for him or her, but you know what I mean. She lacks whatever it is that lets the audience connect to her. She must, otherwise she'd forever be the #1 Final Girl because let's face it:

Chris Higgins gets shit done.

Jason Voorhees has pummeled and squeezed and chopped all her friends to pieces and everything has gone to hell, but Chris keeps a level enough head to really fight back. Though terrorized, she doesn't just run away and hope against hope that she'll be rescued. Let's take a look at what she do do to rescue herself. Mind you- this is the second time she's faced Jason. By the time Part III rolls around, she's already survived an encounter with him. She's such a badass!

  • she knocks over a giant bookcase onto Jason
  • she pulls a knife out of her dead friend and slashes at Jason, driving him backwards down a hallway, then stabs him with it
  • she smashes a second storey window and jumps out
  • she clocks Jason with a log
  • she hops in a van and drives away (only to be foiled by an empty gas tank and an unstable bridge)
  • when Jason reaches in a van window and strangles her, she rolls it up on his arms and escapes out the other door
  • she dangles off a barn roof beam, hiding, then drops onto Jason when he walks underneath her
  • she clocks him with a shovel, ties a rope around his neck, and throws him out of the fucking barn loft door
  • she buries an axe in Jason's head
Damn! That is some Nancy Thompson boobytrap-level shit all done on the fly, no planning or forethought. You guys, Chris Higgins might be the best. Let's remember that forever and always from now on!

11 comments:

Marc said...

Loved this. The incredulous 'NO!' that she blurts out when Jason JUST WON'T DIE is actually some creepy shit that gets me every time.

This post makes me wonder just how many 'final girls' there have been in moviedom. A quick scan of 'sorted for your pleasure' (sometimes I just like to read the list of tags, they're hilarious!) reveals that, whilst discussed whenever appropriate, obvs, a dedicated 'final girls' series of articles would be ace reading.

Stacie Ponder said...

Hell yeah! That little bit where he reaches out for her is one of my very favorite things in all the Fridays.

And it's weird, I was thinking about the FG coverage I've done here on FG and I realized that it's not really very much. I think I did a post for AMC back in the day, and that was the most comprehensive piece. BUT THEN I thought of a way to rectify it, so it's cookin'. Or cookin' to get cookin', maybe. :D

Dead In Hell said...

Although Chris, like Part 3 itself, doesn't quite capture me in the first 2/3rds the way that my favorite entries in the series do, that final chase is where the movie and her character both shine. It may be my favorite Friday chase sequence next to Part 2. The final act manages to capture all of the urgency and terror and actual struggle for survival that I so love, and that I so miss when watching the later sequels and bemoaning their total lack of suspense (I just watched Jason Goes to Hell...woe is me).

I'd say that the new film should bring this much needed element back into play with a great final chase sequence/showdown, but who am I kidding? It's going to be found footage. And it's going to be the worst.

matango said...

I haven't watched this one in a long time, but I just want to say I love the Disco F13 theme so very, very much.

Stacie Ponder said...

At the risk of incurring the wrath of Kane Hodder, I'd say I like the late Richard Brooker's Jason the best of all. While he doesn't have the sack on his head (that I love so much), he's the most *real*, which is terrifying. If Jason is ever a Boogeyman, it's here and in Part 2- he's the wacko murderer who lives in the woods, not some superhuman zombie.

Shamos said...

YES! Thank You Stacie! Chris deserves the recognition and the respect!

Unknown said...

I agree, Chris is a great Final Girl. I think the problem is that F13 Pt 3 is such an... underwhelming movie. And come on, they rip of one of the death scenes from the first movie! How bad it it when you're ripping off scenes from movies in the SAME SERIES? While nowhere near as bad as Pt 8 or Jason X, Pt 3 is just not that good, and I think that's one reason why Chris doesn't get the recognition she deserves.

Stacie Ponder said...

This film definitely marks a turning point for the series- and not just because Jason gets his iconic mask. I think this is where the filmmakers just sort of stopped giving a shit, you know? Not that they were ever out to make "art" or "cinema", but at least 1 + 2 had some decent-ish characters and a touch of atmosphere. 3 is where you start to see more caricatures thank anything else (the stoner couple, the couple at the beginning, the bikers...) and it's about the bodycount only. Part 4 was marginally better in those regards, but after that everything careens downhill out of control.

All that said, I still have a huge soft spot for this movie. It ain't great for sure, but I can't stay mad at it.

Dead In Hell said...

I have to (mostly) concur with what you said about Brooker. Kane Hodder, for the all the fan love and recognition he gets, doesn't really approach the top of my list. Steve Dash, Richard Brooker, whoever plays Jason in Part 4, those guys just captured a certain menace that was absent from the zombie years. Sure, some of that has to do with their portrayals being dependent on the film itself. But I was actually engaged by those performances. And Brooker may be the only actor to make the unmasked Jason anything more than a special effects feat. The way he looks at Chris in the barn (and during the window scene) is truly unnerving in the best way. And the backstory between the two only adds to that creeping dread (emphasis on creep).

Hodder became Jason at a time when suspense had been replaced by certainty and the chase sequence replaced by the walking teleport (which is at no point more egregious than in Part 8 - particularly the disco room kill).

I still love Part 7. Maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it's relative to the absolute dreck that came after. But even there in his first gig the "unstoppable movie monster" version of Jason that Hodder portrays isn't very far removed from Part 6. Just...slightly more hulking and not quite as funny.

Anthony Baker said...

Let's not forget that, of the... what... 12 final girls in the Friday the 13th pantheon, only Adrienne King and Amy Steel's characters have any real cachet in the world of horror fandom. Not EVERY final girl in the franchise can be widely beloved. ;-)

Stacie Ponder said...

Don't be condescending, dude. Yeah, those are the only two with any "cachet"...that's why I'm suggesting Chris receive some props, as they're deserved. Not so for all the other Final Girls in the series. Hell, as far as being proactive, Chris is a "better" Final Girl than Laurie Strode is.