While some horror fans might use the term "final girl" as a moniker of endearment, A Nightmare on Elm Street star Heather Langenkamp points out that there's a sexist connotation with the phrase, as male characters earn a nickname that doesn't specify gender.
“I don’t think we should call her a ‘final girl’ anymore,” Langenkamp shared with the L.A. Times. “Because one, I want a boy to be able to play a part like this, and they’re never going to call him a ‘final boy’ — they just call him a hero. Just call a hero a hero, regardless of gender.”
The '80s saw the rise of slasher films, which typically saw a group of mindless coeds targeted by a homicidal killer who would vanquish a number of stereotypical characters before confronting the female hero. With the slasher subgenre typically following set formulas, these films often saw a virginal female character become the last remaining survivor, or "final girl," who managed to defeat the killer.
Films like the Scream series and, most recently, The Cabin in the Woods highlighted the tropes of the subgenre and their inherent predictability.
Another term in the world of horror that singles out females
“To me, it’s at least a little less offensive than ‘final girl’ in some ways; at least she’s at the top of the heap — she’s a queen,” the actress pointed out. “I just hope that for women in my shoes who get the opportunity to play a part like Nancy [in A Nightmare on Elm Street], it doesn’t take them so long to think that they did something right.”
Langenkamp starred in three Nightmare on Elm Street films, though more recently has been working behind the scenes on special effects with AFX Studio, snagging credits on the Dawn of the Dead remake, American Horror Story, and Cabin in the Woods. Despite pursuing a new path in the entertainment industry, she's not ruling out returning to the iconic slasher franchise.
“I’m sitting here like any other scream queen in Hollywood, hoping that they revive their franchise,” Langenkamp shared with Entertainment Weekly. “I’m not alone! I know of lots of other horror heroines who have this little bit of spring in their step thinking about the chance of perhaps being in [new versions of] the movies that they helped make famous as young people. It’s kind of crazy, but it’s definitely something I would love to do.”
Stay tuned for details on the future of the A Nightmare on Elm Street series.
What do you think about the actress' thoughts on the "final girl"? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!
[H/T L.A. Times]